Country-specific recommendations (CSRs) are the main policy oriented output of the European Semester economic policy coordination. This article studies the reasoning behind the Council’s amendments to the Commission’s initial proposals of CSRs. It uncovers internal tensions and disagreement between the two institutions that may severely obstruct the efficacy of the policy coordination process. Ultimately, this article investigates if the amendments are of any substantive relevance or merely cosmetic. Using quantitative sentiment analysis and qualitative case studies, this article concludes that the Council’s amendments tend to be of substantive relevance. The main topics of disagreement between the Commission and the Council concern fiscal and social policy issues. Overall, the Council endeavours to ensure national ownership of policy recommendations by emphasising the importance of national traditions and specificities in policymaking practice.
Council of the European Union, country-specific recommendations (CSRs), European Semester, European Commission, sentiment analysis
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