Brussels, 19 February 2013
Internal Market Scoreboard: a record-breaking 15th anniversary edition!
Despite the challenging times, Member States have performed better than ever in transposing EU rules into national law on time according to the European Commission's Internal Market Scoreboard published today. The Single Market has a key role to play in bringing Europe out of economic stagnation. But it does not deliver benefits automatically: timely transposition of legislation is a necessary condition for achieving the policy objectives set out in the directives.
The Internal Market Scoreboard was first published fifteen years ago, and today's edition shows great improvements by Member States. The EU average transposition deficit – the percentage of Internal Market Directives that have not been transposed into national law in time – has decreased from 6.3% in 1997 to a record new level of 0.6%, i.e. below the 1% target agreed by the European Heads of State and Government in 2007 and close to the 0.5% deficit proposed in the Single Market Act in April 2011.
"I welcome this new record achieved by the Member States and I am happy with the dynamism and strong commitment they have shown to making enforcement work on the ground. This is the best result ever." said Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier.
Table: average transposition deficit
In this edition, the best performers are Ireland, Malta, Estonia and Sweden, who managed to implement into their national legislation the highest number of directives. Member States have also succeeded in reducing the total number of incorrectly transposed directives (compliance deficit has fallen further from 0.7% to 0.6%). However, they have increased the number of directives for which transposition is overdue by two years or more.
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. Compared to November 2007, the number of open infringements is down by 38%. Italy accounts for the highest number of infringement proceedings launched by the Commission, followed by Spain and Greece. The majority of cases continue to be mainly in the areas of taxation and the environment.
When all enforcement indicators are taken into account (see details in the Internal Market Enforcement Table below), Romania, Estonia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic and Lithuania are the best overall performers.
Implementation of Internal Market Directives
The EU average transposition deficit has decreased further from 0.9% to 0.6% over the last six months and the number of Member States achieving the 1% target went up from sixteen to twenty-three.
In total, twelve Member States achieved or equalled their best result on the transposition deficit since 1997: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, France, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Sweden, with Italy and Luxembourg falling for the first time under the 1% threshold. This illustrates the high priority given by Member States to timely transposition even in the context of the current economic crisis.
Ireland is the best transposition performer: it has transposed all directives in due time and has reached a 0.0% deficit. But especially impressive is the improvement of Italy, which has decreased its transposition deficit from 2.4% six months ago to 0.8% today. Romania has also reduced its transposition deficit remarkably from 1.1% to 0.4%. All three Member States share their best practices in this edition of the Internal Market Scoreboard.
Today Member States take on average nine and a half months to transpose EU directives after the transposition deadline has expired. With regard to directives more than two years beyond their transposition deadline (listed in the report), only five Member States did not meet the 'zero tolerance' target.
The EU average number of open infringement proceedings continues at 31 cases per Member State. Italy accounts for the highest number of infringement proceedings – ten times more than Lithuania, the Member State with the lowest number of cases - followed by Spain and Greece.
Despite this, these Member States have improved over a longer-term perspective: since they joined the EU-Pilot system, the number of cases has decreased by 47% for Italy, 39% for Spain and 25% for Greece.
Environment and taxation account for 45% of all infringement proceedings.
The average duration of open infringement proceedings ranges from ten months (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 17.4 months – to be resolved. For Spain, Ireland and France the period is almost two years. The Communication on Better Governance for the Single Market (see IP/12/587), calls on Member States to speed up the process for complying with judgments of the Court of Justice in the identified key sectors, i.e. achieving full compliance within 12 months on average.
Audrey Augier (+32 2 297 16 07)
Stefaan De Rynck (+32 2 296 34 21)
Carmel Dunne (+32 2 299 88 94)