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Economic Reform Programmes

Economic governance has become one of the pillars of the EU's enlargement policy, mirroring developments within the EU to strengthen economic policy under the European Semester. A new approach has been developed to help the enlargement partners strengthen macroeconomic stability, boost growth, and meet the economic criteria for accession as well as to prepare them for their future participation in the EU’s economic policy coordination procedures in the European Semester.

Since 2015, all candidate countries and potential candidates prepare and submit annually the Economic Reform Programmes (ERPs). They are an expanded version of the previous Pre-Accession Economic Programmes prepared by candidate countries. TheERPs contain medium-term macroeconomic projections (including for GDP growth, inflation, trade balance and capital flows), budgetary plans and a structural reform agenda for the next three years. The structural reform agenda includes reforms to boost competitiveness and improve conditions for growth and job creation in a wide range of areas (energy and transport markets; sectoral development; business environment and reduction of the informal economy; research, development and innovation and the digital economy; trade-related reform; education and skills, employment and labour markets; and social inclusion, poverty reduction and equal opportunities).

The European Commission and the European Central Bank prepare their assessments of the ERPs for the enlargement countries. This forms the basis for a multilateral economic policy dialogue involving enlargement countries, EU Member States, the Commission and the European Central Bank. The dialogue culminates in a high-level meeting during which participants adopt joint conclusions that include country-specific policy guidance reflecting the most pressing economic reform needs.

In 2019, all enlargement countries submitted their annual Economic Reform Programmes covering the period 2019-2021. These were assessed by the European Commission and the European Central Bank. Based on these assessments, Joint Conclusions with country-specific policy guidance were agreed on and adopted by all seven enlargement partners and the EU in the annual Economic and Financial Dialogue held on 17 May 2019 in Brussels.

To access the latest Joint Conclusions of the Economic and Financial Dialogue between the EU and the Western Balkans and Turkey:

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/05/17/western-balkans-and-turkey-joint-conclusions-of-the-economic-and-financial-dialogue-of-17-may-2019/

To access to the Commission assessments of the 2019-2021 Economic Reform Programmes (ERP) of all candidate and potential candidate countries:

https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/policy/policy-highlights/economic-governance_en