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IP/06/1008

Brussels, 18 July 2006

Internal Market Scoreboard: Member States need to speed up their efforts

Member States need to speed up their efforts to implement Internal Market rules into national law, according to the European Commission’s latest Internal Market Scoreboard. On average 1.9% of Internal Market Directives for which the implementation deadline has passed are not currently implemented into national law, which is an increase of 0.3% on the best-ever result of 1.6% achieved in November 2005 (see IP/06/192). This means that the positive trend of recent years has stalled and the interim target deficit of 1.5% agreed by Heads of State has not been reached. Progress is also slow in the correct application of Internal Market rules: not a single 'old' Member State has been able to deliver on its promise to reduce infringement proceedings by 50% during the period of 2003 – 2006. The full text of the latest Internal Market Scoreboard is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/score/index_en.htm

Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: "The failure to break the 1.5% barrier is a great opportunity missed. Being so close last time should have inspired Member States to redouble their efforts. Instead, we are now further from the target. Member States need to get their implementation efforts back on track."

Transposition of Internal Market Directives

  • In July 2006 the transposition deficit - the percentage of Internal Market Directives that have not been implemented into national law - is now 1.9%, which is 0.3% up from a deficit of 1.6% in November 2005. This means that the positive trend of the past years has stalled.
  • The 'new' Member States still perform better with an average transposition deficit of 1.5% compared to 2.2% for the 'old' Member States. However, their efforts seem to be slowing down and they risk losing the exemplary role they have played over the past two years in timely transposition.
  • Only 14 out of 25 Member States remain below the 1.5% ceiling, compared to 17 in November 2005. Denmark has the lowest deficit, followed by Cyprus, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovenia and the UK.
  • Besides Denmark, only Cyprus, Austria and the UK have improved on their transposition figures from six months ago.
  • In total 19 Member States have increased their existing backlog. Except for Luxembourg, the performance of all the Member States that were above the 1.5% ceiling in November 2005 has slipped further. Italy, Portugal and the Czech Republic have let their performance slip further by 0.5% or more.
  • Luxembourg is still last, together with Greece, Italy and Portugal. However, Luxembourg has managed to reduce its backlog considerably.
  • Three Member States that were below the 1.5% target in November 2005 are now unfortunately above it: Malta, Germany and Spain.
  • The 1.5% transposition deficit is an interim ceiling. Ideally, the transposition deficit should be zero, and to keep below the 1.5% deficit requires a sustained effort by all Member States. Denmark's success in bringing its deficit further down to 0.5% shows it is perfectly feasible to be below the interim ceiling - provided the necessary political will exists and good organisation is in place.

Infringements

  • The Internal Market Strategy 2003-2006 called on Member States to halve their number of infringement cases by 2006, but not a single 'old' Member State has been able to achieve a 50% reduction over this three-year period.
  • Only five 'old' Member States have reduced the number of infringement cases against them: Belgium, France, Austria, the Netherlands and Ireland.
  • Some Member States combine a bad transposition deficit with poor quality transposition and/or incorrect application of Internal Market rules. This is the case for Greece, Italy and Portugal, which further increased their already high number of outstanding infringement cases and, at the same time, are among the worst performers when it comes to timely transposition.
  • Figures for 'new' Member States cannot be compared with those for 'old' Member States, since figures for 'new' Member States are compared to November 2005 instead of April 2003. However, the situation in 'new' Member States seems to be more positive. Six new Member States have reduced the number of infringement proceedings over the past six months: the Czech Republic, Malta, the Slovak Republic, Estonia, Lithuania and Slovenia. Nonetheless, the results in Poland and Cyprus are very concerning and they need to take urgent action to bring the situation under control.

Problem Solving

  • Package meetings between the Commission experts and Member States' authorities continue to be an efficient means of resolving infringement cases at an early stage. 25 package meetings took place between July 2004 and July 2005. In almost 60% of cases, either a solution is found within 6 months or a decisive step forward is taken.
  • The case flow in SOLVIT (the on-line problem solving network between national administrations, which deals with complaints about the incorrect application of EU rules by public authorities) continued to grow in 2005, but seems now in 2006 to have settled. SOLVIT has potential to resolve more cases, but lack of staff in a number of SOLVIT centres and a lack of awareness on the part of the citizens and businesses on what SOLVIT can do for them appear to prevent this potential from fully materialising.

2004 Recommendation

  • The 2004 Recommendation on transposition of Internal Market Directives summarised best practices in Member States and recommended to the other Member States to implement similar arrangements.
  • It is striking that the Member States that have implemented the most recommendations also perform best as regards the timely transposition of Internal Market directives and vice-versa: 9 out of the 10 Member States than rank first in terms of implementation of recommendations also stay below the 1.5% transposition target deficit. In contrast, all 5 Member States that have implemented the fewest recommendations are above the 1.5% transposition target deficit.

Benefits of the Internal Market and the importance of implementation

The Internal Market plays a key role in achieving the EU's objective of creating more growth and jobs. It has created millions of jobs and billions of euros in prosperity. It gives EU citizens a wider choice of quality goods and services and greater freedom to travel, work, study and live in other EU countries, while making for a more efficient allocation of resources and offering greater trading opportunities to businesses. But the Internal Market can only achieve its full potential if legislation agreed at European level is effectively implemented and applied by all Member States.

Annex

Internal Market Scoreboard 15:

Transposition and application of Internal Market rules (details)

Transposition – EU-25 Member States

EU-25 Member State transposition deficit, as at 1/6/2006 – 1620 directives

Member State
DK
CY
HU
LT
SI
UK
EE
AT
PL
SK
SE
NL
FI
LV
ES
DE
FR
BE
IE
MT
CZ
PT
EL
IT
LU
Transposition Deficit (%)
0.5
1.0
1.1
1.2
1.2
1.3
1.4
1.4
1.4
1.4
1.4
1.5
1.5
1.5
1.7
1.8
1.9
2.0
2.0
2.2
3.0
3.7
3.8
3.8
3.8
Number of Directives
8
17
18
19
20
21
23
23
23
23
23
24
24
25
28
29
31
32
32
35
48
60
62
62
62

EU-15 Member State performance in meeting 0% target for Directives whose transposition is over 2 years late, as at 1/6/2006

Member State
DK
NL
AT
PT
FI
UK
ES
BE
IE
IT
SE
EL
DE
FR
LU
Number of Directives
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
2
2
2
2
3
6
6
8

Infringement cases against EU-15 Member States, as at 1 May 2006

Member State
DK
FI
LU
SE
NL
IE
BE
AT
PT
UK
EL
DE
FR
ES
IT
Number of open infringement cases
29
40
41
46
47
52
59
60
61
61
98
99
107
114
166

Infringement cases against EU-10 Member States, as at 1 May 2006

Member State
SI
EE
LT
SK
CZ
MT
LV
HU
CY
PL
Number of open infringement cases
1
4
4
5
7
7
8
11
16
20


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