The 2019 Annual Growth Survey states that the risk of poverty or social exclusion remains a challenge in particular for children.
The 2019 European Semester cycle of economic and social policy coordination has officially been launched with the release of the 2019 Annual Growth Survey (AGS) on 21 November. It sets out the general economic and social priorities for the European Union for the coming year, highlighting major trends and identifying priorities for inclusive and sustainable growth. Among the former, it states that the risk of poverty or social exclusion remains a challenge in particular for children. With regard to the latter, the European Commission wants Europe to take a long-term view and increase its socio-economic resilience.
The AGS mentions children in five instances, looking at the particular risk of poverty and social exclusion for vulnerable groups, and recommending a wider access to high-quality childcare services to enable women to enter or stay in employment – focusing on high quality as a first step towards success in education and employment later in life.
The priorities outlined in the 2019 AGS are ensuring:
· investment in research and innovation, in education, training and skills and infrastructure;
· reforms that increase productivity growth, inclusiveness and institutional quality;
· macro-financial stability and sound public finances
Assessing and boosting investment in key areas is what the European Semester and the EU budget have in common, which is why the AGS announced that the 2019 cycle will have a strong complementarity to EU cohesion policy beyond 2020. Concretely, the country reports prepared by the European Commission per member state will have a new annex identifying investment needs – perhaps even by sector and region – for the purposes of the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund for the period 2021-27.