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IP/04/890

Brussels, 13 July 2004

Internal Market Scoreboard: Member States still failing to implement EU laws on time

Member States are still taking too long to implement agreed rules into national law. There are also far too many infringement cases where Member States are incorrectly applying Internal Market rules (see IP/04/891). The full text of the European Commission’s latest Internal Market Scoreboard is at http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/score/index_en.htm

Commissioner Frits Bolkestein said: “The Internal Market is a joint venture. Member States have the key role in applying agreed rules on time. Failure to do so deprives their own businesses and citizens of their rights, and of the full economic benefits of the Internal Market. Some are consistently worse than others and need more political commitment to meeting legal obligations. Everyone loses out if some do not play by the rules.”

Transposition of Internal Market Directives

  • The transposition deficit - the average percentage per Member State of Internal Market Directives in force that has not been written into national law - is now 2.2% for EU-15 Member States, barely changed from January 2004 (see IP/04/33).
  • 134 or 9% of Internal Market Directives have not been transposed on time into national law in one or more of those Member States. In some cases, transposition is over two years overdue.
  • France has the worst record of EU-15 Member States, followed by Greece, Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries.
  • Denmark, Spain, UK, Ireland and Finland again meet the 1.5% interim target set by the European Council.
  • First indications are of big disparities among the 10 new Member States in implementing Directives. Some, such as Lithuania and Slovenia, have notified national implementing laws for the vast majority of Directives. However, others such as Malta, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have much to do.

Infringements and Alternative Problem-Solving

  • There are almost as many infringement cases as a year ago. The Internal Market Strategy 2003-2006 called for a reduction of 50% by 2006.
  • Italy has the most infringement cases against it, closely followed by France. Together, they account for almost 30% of cases. Italy has almost as many cases against it as Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg and Portugal combined.
  • The SOLVIT network (see IP/02/1558) has helped to resolve problems of businesses and citizens quickly, solving 75% of the 262 cases dealt with, on average within 10 weeks.

Transposition of European Standards

many national standards organisations are failing to transpose European standards on time. Ten Member States have a transposition deficit of over 3000 standards.

Practical Effects of the Internal Market

  • This year’s Internal Market Index shows that the EU’s progress towards becoming a fully functioning single market has slowed since 2000.
  • A Commission survey of groceries prices shows a mixed picture on price convergence. Prices for some well-known brands (such as Coca Cola and Snickers) varied more in 2003 than in 2001, while prices of other well-known brands (such as Twix, Uncle Ben’s rice and Gillette disposable razors) converged. No discernible pattern in price convergence of non-branded goods was detected. The survey also examined the cost of buying a basket of 24 groceries in EU-15 Member States. Germany and Spain were cheapest and Ireland the most

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