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The Internal Market Information System (IMI)

The Internal Market Information System (IMI) is an electronic tool designed to improve communication and cooperation between the administrations of Member States within the framework of the application of legislation relating to the internal market. It aims at removing a certain number of practical obstacles, reducing costs and improving the efficiency of administrative cooperation in Europe.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 6 November 2008 “Delivering the benefits of the single market through enhanced administrative cooperation” [COM(2008) 703 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

The internal market information system (IMI) is an electronic tool designed to support administrative cooperation in the field of legislation relating to the internal market. The IMI helps competent authorities in Member States to overcome practical difficulties related in particular to differences in administrative culture, the use of different languages and the identification of partners in other Member States.

The IMI is a secure internet application, available to all administrations in the thirty countries of the European Economic Area (EEA). It is available in all European Union languages.

Principles

The IMI is based on three key principles:

  • it does not impose additional obligations on Member States in terms of administrative cooperation;
  • it is flexible enough to adapt to the diverse administrative structures and cultures in Europe;
  • it is a single system, designed to be able to integrate many pieces of Internal Market legislation which avoids a proliferation of information systems.

Benefits

The system offers many benefits. In particular Member States are able to manage a single relationship with the network instead of 29 separate bilateral relationships, communicate using a clear working method by joint agreement, reduce language problems, save resources and time, and improve service quality through increased transparency and predictability.

Data protection

As IMI is used for the exchange of personal data, relevant legislation fully applies to the system in terms of data protection. Moreover, Commission Decision 2008/49/EC lays down the functions, rights and obligations of IMI users.

Context

The creation of the IMI was motivated by the importance of administrative cooperation in setting up a dynamic single market, in accordance with the Lisbon Strategy. The IMI should also contribute to strengthening the application of Community law at national level, and therefore the implementation of the “Better Regulation” programme. It is also part of the i2010 eGovernment Action Plan.

A first pilot project was launched in November 2007 for four professions referred to in Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications. The system will be progressively extended to other professions.

A second pilot project was launched in January 2009 on the basis of the 'Services' Directive. It should last until 28 December 2009, at which date the Directive should be fully transposed by the Member States. The aim is to prepare the implementation of an operational IMI system, covering all service activities by the end of 2009. In the future, the IMI could also be used to strengthen administrative cooperation in other sectors covered by internal market legislation.

RELATED ACTS

Commission Recommendation of 26 March 2009 on data protection guidelines for the Internal Market Information System (IMI) [Official Journal L100 of 18.4.2009].
This Recommendation invites Member States to take measures to implement the guidelines in the Annex. The guidelines concern data protection, the safeguards built into the system and the risks associated with its use.

National IMI coordinators are also encouraged to make contacts with their national data protection authorities with a view to implementing these guidelines in accordance with national law.

The European Commission is to be informed of the implementation of these guidelines not later than nine months after the adoption of this Recommendation.

Last updated: 12.10.2009

See also

  • For further information, visit the Internal Market DG website dedicated to the IMI.
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