Read the Council press release below:
"On 20 September 2016, the Council issued a recommendation calling on the eurozone member states to establish national productivity boards.
The boards will analyse developments and policies that can affect productivity and competitiveness. They will provide independent analyses and reinforce policy dialogue at the national level.
This will help reforms aimed at achieving sustainable economic growth and convergence.
Potential economic growth in the euro area and the EU as a whole has slowed considerably since the turn of the century. This trend is due in particular to a decline in total factor productivity. Since 2008, growth has been further weakened by a drop in investment.
Looking forward, economic growth will depend on increasing productivity. This requires well-balanced policies aimed at supporting innovation, increasing skills, reducing rigidities in labour and product markets and allowing a better allocation of resources.
Research and analysis carried out by the productivity boards will encourage developments that should help the smooth functioning of the EU's economic and monetary union.
Five presidents' report
The recommendation is part of the Commission's October 2015 package of measures giving substance to the so-called five presidents' report on the further development of the EU's economic and monetary union (EMU).
It was endorsed by the European Council on 28 June 2016.
The five presidents' report was prepared by the president of the Commission, in close cooperation with the presidents of the European Council, the Eurogroup, the European Central Bank and the European Parliament. It was submitted to the European Council in June 2015.
The draft recommendation calls on each member state to set up a national board responsible for:
- diagnosis and analysis of productivity and competitiveness developments;
- independent analysis of policy challenges in this field.
Addressed to the eurozone countries, the recommendation encourages other member states to set up similar bodies. It calls for productivity boards to engage in dialogue and the exchange of best practices, and where appropriate produce joint analyses.
Communication and information
The recommendation foresees that the boards will operate separately from public authorities as concerns public communication, procedures for nominating board members and access to information. As a rule, their analyses should be made public.
The independent expertise provided by the boards, including through the presentation of annual reports, will be used by the member states and the Commission in the context of the "European Semester" annual policy monitoring process.
The recommendation was adopted at a meeting of the General Affairs Council, without discussion."