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Ján Oravec ikonaJÁN ORAVEC

What I told to Juncker and Tusk in Brussels

Tripartite Social Summit, Brussels, March 16, 2016, Debate on Country Specific Recommendations, Intervention of Jan Oravec

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me share with you with 3 thoughts combining insights from recently published BusinessEurope Reform Barometer 2016 and specific experience with Country Specific Recommendations from my country, Slovakia.
Firstly. According to BusinessEurope Reform Barometer 2016 businesses consider only 20 % of recommendations to be implemented satisfactorily by member states. Our experience from Slovakia confirms this general observation. It was about this low implementation rate with which the Slovak government dealt with recommendations in 2015, including health care cost effectiveness, labour market flexibility, education, public procurement, etc.

So, why is this implementation rate everywhere so low? My explanation is as follows: everybody who has kids in a school age knows how difficult sometimes it is to „force“ kids to make their homework. Despite it is beneficial for them in the long run, they have all kinds of incentives not to do so in the short run. And there is a similar situation with the so called European Semester. Imposing good policy making on member states from Brussels – because the Country Specific Recommendations look like this – has its own weaknesses. Imposing discipline from a centre is inferior to the first best option which is discipline imposed on us by competitive pressure and market forces. And since they are replaced by mostly administrative exercise, a 20 % implementation rate seems to be a logical consequence.
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