Universiteit Leiden

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The European Semester: the deepening of EU socio-economic governance

  • Dr. Steven Engels
Friday 2 November 2018
European Union Seminar Series
Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 2
2311 BZ Leiden
Room 0.04


Since the outbreak of the economic and financial crisis, the so-called “European Semester” of economic policy coordination has gained in prominence. As Member States became increasingly aware of the interconnectedness of their economies, the EU’s fiscal rules have been tightened and the scope of the existing economic surveillance procedures at EU level has been widened. Debates in the Council about the coordination of domestic economic policies often touch on politically sensitive topics such as the size of the national budget, the shape of national tax systems and how to handle unemployment and poverty. While Member States have come to terms with the idea that they are all in the same boat, reluctance to take ownership of what is sometimes perceived as “reforms imposed by the EU” is still very widespread. To put the topical debate about sovereignty vs. shared responsibility in the EU in perspective, Steven Engels will touch upon the historical, legal and political backgrounds of the European Semester as well as on the economic rationale underpinning the current rules-based governance framework.

About the speaker

Dr. Steven Engels works as Economic Policy Coordinator at the European Commission’s Directorate for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN). In this capacity, he works mainly on the coordination of fiscal and macro-economic policies in the Member States. Prior to joining DG ECFIN, Steven worked as European Semester Officer for Belgium at the Representation of the European Commission and as Team Leader at DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion dealing with both the implementation of the European Social Fund and the monitoring of employment and social policies in Belgium. Steven holds Advanced Master’s Degrees in European Economic Integration and Labour and Social Security Law (both from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel) as well as a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literature (from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven).

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