Home Latest News European Semester 2024

European Semester 2024

by efn efn

The European Semester is an important tool used by the European Commission to provide a framework for the coordination of national policies across the European Union. The process allows EU countries to discuss their plans and monitor progress at specific times throughout the year. The EFN has been following this development very closely as health policies are integrated in the European Semester. It also represents an important tool to assess how the European Pillar of Social Rights Principles can be implemented across the EU and Europe, and see how nursing care is integrated in these reports and as such evaluate nurses’ contribution to respond effectively to the societal challenges.

The European Semester Autumn Package has been adopted in November 2023, with the 2024 cycle introducing some important changes in terms of employment and social governance. The European Commission is now in the process of reflecting and analysing the country reports and the country specific recommendations to be adopted later this year (in June/July 2024 due to the EU elections).

The financial crisis and COVID-19 showed the crucial importance of Europe social dimension. Some progress was made with the European Pillar of Social Rights that gave substance, direction and poise to the EU social dimension; Social objectives have become part of the European Semester; NextGenerationEU has taken EU solidarity to a next level; and the Directive on adequate minimum wages aiming to improve working and living conditions in the EU is requesting the EU Member States to strengthen the capacity of social partners and encourages constructive, meaningful and informed negotiations, next to recognising the important role of non-state actors in social outcomes.

With the many transformations going on, as climate change, green and digital transformations, etc., and with the major challenges at the corner as shortages (including huge nurses’ shortage); population ageing (with competing demands as in health, for example); long-term care (1 in 4 people over 65 are in need of long-term care, i.e., 30 million people in the EU); migration; technological change (AI) (bringing quicker and more accurate diagnosis in healthcare, delivery of social safety), it is key to focus on such issues through the European Semester implementation and financial programmes and make change happen through action and advocacy.

In this process, the European Commission believes that the involvement of civil society, and its first-hand experiences, are key as it helps to put in place impactful reforms and policies. Nurses have a key role to play in this, as they have the expertise, experience, and the evidence-based nursing practices for cost-effective reforms. As such, they can bring added value to the European Semester development and make future EU policies fit-for-purpose.