Brussels, 8 October 2012
Internal Market Scoreboard: Member States have improved their performance
At this time of crisis, the Single Market has a key role to play in bringing Europe out of economic stagnation. Timely transposition of legislation is a necessary condition for achieving the policy objectives of the directives. The European Commission's Internal Market Scoreboard published today shows that Member States have made an effort in transposing EU rules into national law. After the increase recorded in May and November 2011 (1.2%), the European average transposition deficit – the percentage of Internal Market Directives that have not been written into national law in time – is now back to 0.9%, i.e. below the target agreed by the European Heads of State and Government in 2007. In this exercise, sixteen Member States have achieved the 1% target.
Member States have also succeeded in reducing the number of incorrectly transposed directives. This average compliance deficit has fallen from 0.8% six months ago to 0.7% today, coming closer to the 0.5% deficit proposed in the Single Market Act in April 2011. However, they have increased the number of directives for which transposition is overdue by two years or more as well as the average extra time needed to transpose an EU Directive into national law (from 7.9 to 9.1 months).
With regard to the application of EU law, the number of infringements is continuing to decrease, very likely due to the introduction of mechanisms to solve problems of non-compliance with EU law earlier in the process. Italy accounts for the highest number of infringement proceedings launched by the Commission, followed by Greece and Belgium.
When all enforcement indicators are taken into account, Latvia, Estonia, Luxembourg and Lithuania are the best overall performers.
Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier said: "The Single Market is the engine of new growth but this can only work if all countries apply the rules correctly. I welcome the progress made in transposing EU law by Member States."
Implementation of Internal Market Directives
The EU average transposition deficit has decreased from 1.2% to 0.9% over the last six months and the number of Member States achieving the 1% target went up from eleven to sixteen. Luxembourg, Romania, Finland, United Kingdom, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Belgium, Cyprus, Poland and Italy have to redouble their efforts to reach this target.
In total, eight Member States achieved or equalled their best result ever: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Latvia and Malta. This illustrates the high priority given by those Member States to timely transposition.
Malta and Latvia are the best transposition performers with only two directives awaiting transposition. But especially impressive is the improvement of the Czech Republic's transposition deficit as compared to six months ago: it has decreased from 1.9% in May to 0.6% today. Finally, continuous and sustained efforts have enabled Greece to fall well below the 1% target, at 0.5%. Two years ago, it accounted for the highest transposition deficit among the 27 Member States.
Today Member States take on average nine months extra to transpose EU directives after the transposition deadline had expired. Only Malta, Sweden, Spain, France and Latvia have a shorter average delay than in November 2011. With regard to directives more than two years beyond their transposition deadline (listed in the report), twenty-two Member States meet the 'zero tolerance' target (compared with twenty-five six months ago).
The overall number of infringement proceedings relating to the Internal Market continues to decrease – down by 37% since 2007.
Today the EU average number of open infringement proceedings is 31 cases per Member State compared to 34 cases six months ago. Italy now accounts for the highest number of infringement proceedings, followed by Greece and Belgium. Environment and taxation account for more than 40% of infringement proceedings.
The average duration of open infringement proceedings ranges from one (Luxembourg) to three years (Sweden).
After the Court of Justice establishes a breach of EU legislation, Member States are required to take immediate action to comply with its ruling. Nevertheless, a lot of cases take considerable time – on average more than 17.5 months – to be resolved. For Ireland, France and Spain the period is almost two years.
Special focus: Single Market Governance
In its Communication on Better Governance for the Single Market, the Commission proposed a series of measures to strengthen governance in the Single Market (see IP/12/587), identifying key areas likely 'to bring about the most significant gains in growth and jobs'. In these areas, the Commission requested the Member States to commit to 'zero tolerance' when it comes to transposition of directives and it announced that it will use its enforcement powers more vigorously and requested the cooperation of the Member States to ensure that breaches of EU law are swiftly brought to an end within eighteen months, or twelve months in case of second referral. In future editions, the Internal Market Scoreboard will monitor the compliance of these new benchmarks.
The Commission will prepare an annual report on the integration of the Single Market, which will focus on the way the Single Market works in practice, particularly in these key areas. This report will provide input for country-specific recommendations in the context of the European semester process.
Stefaan De Rynck (+32 2 296 34 21)
Carmel Dunne (+32 2 299 88 94)
Audrey Augier (+32 2 297 16 07)
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.