Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 22 October 2013

The 2012 performance of EU Member States in applying EU law

The correct application of EU law is a cornerstone of the EU Treaties and at the heart of the Commission's regulatory fitness programme (REFIT). The 30th Annual Report on monitoring the application of EU law shows how Member States are performing in applying EU law. There were fewer infringements open at the end of 2012 than previous years. The number of cases in problem solving mechanisms such as EU Pilot increased. This reflects the determination of the European Commission to work with the Member States to solve problems and improve compliance.

At the end of 2012, the number of open infringement procedures decreased again, by 25 % compared to the previous year. This is related in part to the more frequent use of EU Pilot1 and other problem solving mechanisms (such as SOLVIT2) which aim to solve problems and promote compliance:

Environment, transport, taxation and internal market & services were the four most infringement-prone areas, together representing more than 60% of all the cases.

The most infringement procedures were open against Italy (99), Belgium (92) and Spain (91). Similar to 2011, Latvia was the best performer with only 20 cases, followed by Lithuania and Estonia (22 and 24 procedures respectively). The EU-27 ranking is as follows:

Late transposition of directives: fewer cases, more penalty proposals

Earlier Annual Reports pointed to Member States' late transposition of directives. Last year's poor performance has significantly improved. By the end of 2012, 45 % less infringements were open because of late transposition than 12 months before. During last year, most of the late transposition infringements were opened against Italy (36), Portugal (34) and Hungary (26), while Estonia (5), the Netherlands and Sweden (6 each) had the best performance in that regard.

In order to deter late transposition, the Commission has continued to make full use of the sanctions system introduced under the Lisbon Treaty. It has referred 35 cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union ("Court") with a request for financial penalties (against Poland (10), Slovenia (5), the Netherlands, Finland (4 each), Cyprus, Belgium (3 each), Germany, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Portugal and Hungary (1 each)). The Commission passed only 9 such referral decision during 2011.

Complaints: vital feedback from the public

With 3141 registered complaints in 2012, citizens, businesses and stakeholders provided important input to the Commission in its monitoring of the correct application of EU rules. Citizen complaints were most frequent in regard to environment, justice and internal market & services (588, 491 and 462 complaints, respectively) and against Italy (438), Spain (306) and France (242)..

Infringement profiles: Member States and EU policies

The annexes to the Report look at performance of each Member State and performance in specific policy areas. They provide illustrative cases and highlight key issues in the application of law.

From 23 October, the full Annual Report will be available under the following link:


Following a request made by the European Parliament the Commission presents, every year, since 1984, an annual report on monitoring the application of Community law during the preceding year.

The European Parliament adopts, every year, a report on the Commission report, explaining its position on the main issues.

Contacts :

Olivier Bailly (+32 2 296 87 17)

1 :

EU Pilot is a database and a communication tool. It is designed to improve communication and problem-solving between the Commission services and Member State authorities on issues concerning the application of EU law or the conformity of national rules with EU law at an early stage before an infringement procedure is launched under Article 258 TFEU.

2 :

SOLVIT is an on-line problem solving network in which EU Member States work together to solve without legal proceedings problems caused by the misapplication of Internal Market law by public authorities.

Side Bar