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European Commission - Press release

Internal Market Scoreboard: Member States need to step up their efforts to transpose EU rules

Brussels, 29 September 2011 - At this time of crisis, the Single Market has a key role to play in bringing Europe out of economic stagnation. But whenever one or more Member States fails to write EU rules into national law on time, they leave a void in the EU's legal framework, leading to fragmentation. Consequently, the economic interests of all Member States can suffer if one Member State does not deliver. Today, the European Commission's Internal Market Scoreboard1 shows that Member States urgently need to improve their latest efforts in transposing EU rules. 16 of the 27 EU Member States missed the maximum 1% transposition deficit target set by EU Heads of State and Government in 2007 over the latest reference period (last six months).

This means that, on average, 1.2% of Internal Market Directives for which the transposition deadline has passed are not currently written into national law. In November 2010, this was 0.9%. However, Member States have reduced the average extra time needed to transpose an EU Directive into national law to 5.5 months. A further positive is that, as regards the application of EU law, the number of infringements has fallen by a quarter since 2007. Belgium accounts for the highest number of infringement proceedings launched by the Commission, followed by Greece and Italy. When all enforcement indicators are taken into account, Malta and Latvia continue to be the best overall performers.

Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier said: "There is no doubt that the Single Market is the engine for new growth for our economy. If we want to truly unleash the Single Market's potential to get us back on track, we need to make sure that its laws are properly transposed and applied on the ground - everywhere. There is still room for improvement. We need to work together to deliver it."

Implementation of Internal Market Directives

  • For the first time since 2007, Member States have missed the maximum 1% transposition deficit target. The EU average transposition deficit – the percentage of Internal Market Directives that have not been written into national law in time – of the 27 Member States has increased from 0.9% to 1.2% over the last six months.

  • The number of Member States reaching the 1% transposition deficit target decreased from 20 to 11 Member States. Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Malta, Spain and Slovakia are still in line – but some of them only just.

  • Once again Malta is the best transposition performer with only two directives awaiting transposition

  • Out of the 11 Member States meeting the 1% target today, only Estonia improved its transposition deficit compared to six months ago: from 1.3% in March to 0.9% today. Estonia has proven that, despite challenging times, it is still possible to maintain or further improve the transposition performance.

  • Despite scoring good results in March, Belgium, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom have now missed the 1% target.

  • In addition, Austria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Hungary, Poland and Italy stayed above the 1% ceiling. The Czech Republic currently has the highest transposition deficit (2%).

  • 18 Months ago, Member States took on average an extra 9 months to transpose EU directives after the transposition deadline expired. Following this, the Commission called on all Member States to put an increased focus on the need to reduce transposition delays. Now Member States have managed to reduce the EU average transposition delay to 5.5 months.


  • The overall number of infringement proceedings relating to the Internal Market continues to decrease – now down by a quarter since 2007.

  • Today the EU average number of open infringement proceedings is 37 cases per Member State compared to 40 cases half a year ago. Belgium continues to account for the highest number of infringement proceedings, followed by Greece and Italy.

  • Member States are required to take immediate action to comply with rulings of the EU Court of Justice. Nevertheless, a lot of cases take considerable time – on average more than 17 months – to be resolved.

  • France accounts for the longest delay in complying with Court rulings, taking two years on average to comply.

The Internal Market Enforcement Table

The Enforcement Table highlights that only a small number of Member States perform better than the EU average when various enforcement indicators are taken into account (see annex). Malta and Latvia are the overall best performers.

Special focus: Single Market Act

In April, the Commission launched the Single Market Act. Outlining 12 initiatives for new growth, its aim is to put the European economy back on track (see IP/11/469). Closer monitoring of the implementation of the Single Market rules is identified in the Single Market Act as a precondition for its success. It therefore proposes to strengthen efforts through new numerical benchmarks, such as reducing the transposition deficit target to 0.5%.

The Single Market Forum, which will take place in Krakow (Poland) on 3 and 4 October, will aim to secure a stronger commitment to the transposition and application of the legislation governing the Single Market from key decision makers.

More information on the Scoreboard:

On the Single Market Forum:

Annex: Internal Market Enforcement Table

The Internal Market Enforcement Table combines the most relevant indicators in order to provide a better overview of Member States compliance with the implementation and application of Internal Market legislation.

Contacts :

Chantal Hughes (+32 2 296 44 50)

Catherine Bunyan (+32 2 299 65 12)

Carmel Dunne (+32 2 299 88 94)

1 :

The Internal Market Scoreboard exercise focuses on Internal Market related legislation. This is a different exercise from the Commission's wider annual report on the general application of EU law (see IP/11/1131).

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