Brussels, 23 September 2010
Making the Internal Market work: Member States need to pursue efforts to make the internal market a reality
Member States still perform well in writing Internal Market rules into national law, but the positive trend of recent years has stalled according to the European Commission's latest Internal Market Scoreboard. On average 0.9% of Internal Market Directives for which the implementation deadline has passed are not currently written into national law, up from 0.7% in March 2010. This means that Member States are still in line, but only just, with the 1.0% target set by Heads of State and Government in 2007. As regards application of EU law, there has been a slight fall in the number of infringements compared to six months ago. Recognising the importance of citizens' mobility in the Internal Market, a section of the scoreboard focuses on the effective application of EU rules in the area of mutual recognition of professional qualifications.
Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier said: "If we want to fully reap the benefits of the Internal Market, it's essential that European rules aimed at making the Internal Market work are implemented in Member States – in time and properly. Today's scoreboard results show that although many Member States are doing well, some have to make more progress. The scoreboard is useful in giving an accurate and complete picture of the situation on the ground so we can work on addressing those issues that still need to be solved together with Member States."
Implementation of Internal Market Directives
The EU average transposition deficit – the percentage of Internal Market Directives that have not been implemented into national law in time – of the 27 Member States is up 0.2% and stands at 0.9%.
In total, 18 Member States meet the 1% target of which 8 improved or equalled their transposition deficit compared to six months ago: Denmark, Malta, Slovakia, Finland, Slovenia, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Denmark and Malta share the first position of best transposition performers with only 3 directives awaiting transposition.
9 Member States are above the 1% transposition target: Austria, Italy, France, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Greece. With the exception of Austria and Italy, all other Member States have increased their already existing transposition backlogs.
Compared to 6 months ago, the EU average transposition delay improved by 2 months. Today, it takes on average an extra 7 months to transpose EU directives after the transposition deadline expires. 21 Member States managed to reduce their average transposition delays. The biggest improvements were in Spain, Italy and Slovakia.
The overall number of infringement proceedings relating to the Internal Market decreased by 2.1% compared to 6 months ago. "Taxation and custom union" and "environment" remain the biggest areas of infringements.
Compared to previous years, the ranking of open infringement proceedings has changed. Today, Belgium accounts for most of the infringement proceedings, followed by Greece.
The internal market scoreboard exercise is focussed on internal market related legislation. It should not be mixed up with the evaluation made by the European Commission, on an annual basis and due out next week, of the general state of transposition and infringement proceedings of all European legislation.
Internal Market Enforcement Table
The scoreboard features for the first time an enforcement table. It provides an overview of Member States' compliance with the implementation and application of Internal Market law. For the rules to be effective, timely transposition is not enough. Indeed, what matters is that they are transposed correctly and properly applied (see Annex).
The table shows that overall Malta, Latvia and Slovenia are the best performing Member States. However, in the vast majority of Member States, there is at least one area where more attention is needed, such as the number of directives not correctly transposed. Interestingly, this also applies to Member States posting relatively good transposition deficits, highlighting that good transposition and good implementation are both necessary for rules to be effective on the ground.
Special focus: Recognition of professional qualifications
Surveys show that citizens do not expect problems with the recognition of their professional qualifications when they go to work in another Member State. But citizens' expectations contrast with reality. In 30% of cases reported to the Commission, citizens' applications for recognition of their qualifications were initially rejected or citizens were required to undergo additional tests or had to pursue their requests via appeals. The scoreboard shows a wide variation between Member States.
Transposition of the Professional Qualifications Directive (2005/36/EC) in Member States has been a challenge as around 1200 national implementation measures have been notified to the Commission, while some Member States have been late, in particular Austria, Luxembourg and Greece.
The scoreboard shows that the Internal Market Information System (IMI) is widely used for administrative cooperation relating to the Professional Qualifications Directive. IMI is a multilingual electronic tool that makes it easier and faster for the authorities to exchange information, thereby optimising recognition procedures. Authorities can use IMI to easily verify diplomas for example. In 71% of all information requests, Member States responded within two weeks.
The full text of the latest Internal Market Scoreboard is available at:
Internal Market Scoreboard 21:
Internal Market Enforcement Table (details)
By linking the most important indicators of the scoreboard, such as the transposition deficit, the number of pending infringement cases and the average time it takes a Member State to resolve an infringement, the enforcement table allows to give a more elaborated overview on Member States' compliance with the implementation and application of Internal Market rules.