June 17th 2013: Andrew Brons has received an answer to his Question for Written Answer to the European Commission on the UK convergence programme.
"I refer to the Commission Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the United Kingdom’s 2012 national reform programme and delivering a Council opinion on the United Kingdom’s convergence programme for 2012-2017 (COM(2012)0309)1.
Recommendation 2 states:
- ‘Address the destabilising impact of high and volatile house prices and high household debt by implementing a comprehensive housing reform programme [...]. Pursue further reforms to the mortgage and rental markets, financial regulation and property taxation to prevent excessive volatility and distortions in the housing market.’
"Will the Commission kindly explain what type of reforms it has in mind, especially with regard to property taxation?
"Under what obligation is the UK to implement these recommendations?"
The answer given by Mr Rehn on behalf of the Commission stated:
"The analysis supporting the second country-specific recommendation proposed by the European Commission in 2012 as part of its assessment of the United Kingdom's national reform programme is mentioned in recital (11) of the respective Council Recommendation1 and detailed in the 2012 Commission Staff Working Document assessing the UK national reform programme2 and in the first in-depth review of the UK economy under the macroeconomic imbalances procedure3.
"The second in-depth review for the UK4 was published on April 10, 2013, updating the analysis contained in the previous documents. The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to these documents, which contain the Commission's views on possible policy action and reforms to improve the functioning of the UK housing market and to address the high levels of UK household debt. In particular, the Honourable Member is referred to the policy challenges section of the second in-depth review (pages 61/62) and to the Country specific recommendations of the 2013 European Semester5 and the respective Staff Working Document. .
"It is in the best interest of the Member State to implement the country-specific recommendations addressed to it in the context of the European Semester. Under the Treaty, the Member States have agreed to coordinate their economic policies at the EU level. In this context, the country-specific recommendations are proposed by the Commission and adopted by the Council after endorsement by the European Council."