Strategic policy guidance
Euro area leaders, meeting in Euro Summits or in the full European Council format, provide strategic orientations on the economic and fiscal policies in the euro area.
Regular top-level discussions on the specific responsibilities linked to euro area membership allow the member states to better take into account the euro area dimension in their national policy-making.
While economic and fiscal policy coordination mainly takes place in the Eurogroup, due to their wide-ranging mandate euro area heads of state and government can provide further policy guidance in areas beyond the scope of finance ministers. This helps with the coordination of all relevant policy areas, such as competitiveness, that are needed for the smooth functioning of economic and monetary union.
The heads of state and government play an important role in the EU-wide annual coordination cycle known as the European Semester, in which they assess annual progress towards agreed targets and provide policy guidance. This procedure culminates in a set of policy recommendations in the areas of budgetary discipline, macro-economic stability and growth and jobs issued to all EU member states but with stricter enforcement rules for euro area members in the budgetary and economic fields.
Response to the crisis
Together with European Council meetings, the Euro Summit is the highest political forum to agree on concerted action in response to the public debt crisis. This includes support to member states in difficulty and the strengthening of euro area governance.
Orientations for the EU in general, such as the compact for growth and jobs, are agreed on by all EU leaders at the European Council.
Last updated: 22/01/2013