In 2020,  country-specific recommendations (CSRs) have shifted more markedly in favour of strengthening workers' digital skills and providing adequate social protection. This change of focus has conferred a rather social outlook to the 2020 European Semester cycle. For the first time since the launch of the European Semester process, the social recommendations appear to have been 'emancipated' from the growth rhetoric. The emphasis on the social dimension in the CSRs is, according to Silvia Rainone, likely to be an effect of the EU Commission's reaction to the socioeconomic crisis triggered by Covid-19.

The specific traits of the 2020 CSRs are certainly to be welcomed. However, important aspects such as, inter alia, wages, gender equality, pension systems, the transition from education to the labour market, occupational safety and health, and child poverty seem to have fallen off the radar. The effectiveness of such recommendations will need to be carefully assessed over the coming months.

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An overview of the 2020-2021 country-specific recommendations (CSRs) in the social field-2020.pdf

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