Sélecteur de langues
Brussels, 16 June 1999
Single Market: Scoreboard underlines further efforts required by Member States
Implementation of Single Market rules is improving but Member States will need to maintain their efforts to ensure that the full benefits of the EU's Single Market are passed on to citizens and business, according to the latest issue of the European Commission's Single Market Scoreboard. Member States have given new impetus to implementing Single Market Directives, so that the 'fragmentation factor (Directives not yet implemented in one or more Member States) has now fallen to 12.8% from 18.2% in May 1998. However, Member States efforts on this front have tended to fade since the beginning of 1999. Concerning infringement proceedings against Member States under Article 226 (formerly 169) of the EC Treaty for failure to apply Single Market rules, the Scoreboard notes a rise in the number of 'reasoned opinions' (the second stage) and referrals to the Court of Justice, largely as a result of faster handling of infringement cases by the Commission. The Scoreboard also features feedback from the "Dialogue with Citizens" concerning the difficulties encountered by people trying to exercise their Single Market rights. These problems stem from lack of information about the rules, lack of transparency in the way national administrations apply these rights and administrative procedures on the part of Member States which fail to ensure that those rights can be fully and easily exercised in practice.
"The Single Market is, and will continue to be, one of the European Union's most effective contributions to people's standard of living and well-being in Europe", commented Single Market Commissioner Mario Monti. "As a direct result of the Single Market, people enjoy a wider choice of quality goods and services and greater freedom to travel, work, study and reside in other EU countries. Previous editions of the Scoreboard, by comparing efforts and results achieved by each Member State in applying Single Market rules, have encouraged Member States to compete with each other to achieve the best performance. Although there has been significant progress, this latest Scoreboard demonstrates that there is still much scope for improving the functioning of the Single Market. In future, the permanent monitoring role of the Scoreboard will be developed to not only focus attention on Single Market rules, but also highlight where the performance of markets themselves needs to be improved through the process of economic reform and help to identify future priorities. It will therefore extend peer pressure on Member States into the realm of market efficiency and flexibility, and so further stimulate competitiveness, job creation and growth
Some Member States have given new impetus to the task of implementing Single Market legislation. The recent progress achieved by some (for example, Belgium and Germany) demonstrates that intense activity within the administration, with vigorous political support at the highest levels, can yield significant results over a short period. Similar efforts are now required from a number of Member States (notably Portugal, Italy and Greece) whose implementation record remains poor.
Comparison of Member States' implementation deficits (percentage of Single Market Directives not yet notified to the Commission)
Breakdown by area and Member State of non-implemented Directives ranked according to the percentage of Directives not yet transposed across the whole Union
Some Member States have made progress removing obstacles to the functioning of the Single Market through the use of Contact Points for Citizens and for Business (over 200 in total full list available from the Dialogue with Business Internet site http://europa.eu/business) and Co-ordination Centres (acting as a link between Member State administrations and with the Commission) which have been established under the Action Plan for the Single Market. In the first 18 months of operation, the Co-ordination Centres received and considered 299 complaints from companies and individuals in their own country, and 69 complaints from those in other EU countries. Of the cases reported, 61 were resolved bilaterally and 40 have been the subject of a formal complaint to the Commission, 5 of which have been referred to the European Court of Justice.
Cases dealt with by Co-ordination Centres since October 1997
The number of formal infringement procedures opened by the Commission against Member States under Article 226 (formerly 169) of the EC Treaty for failure to apply Single Market rules (not including failure to implement Directives) and incorrect application has continued to be high.
Infringement statistics for alleged breaches of Single Market rules - Comparison between 1.3.98-1.3.99 and 1.9.97-1.9.98
Reasoned opinions are a useful measure for identifying current problem areas in the application of Single Market rules. On the basis of reasoned opinions sent between 1.3.98-1.3.99, these problem areas are the right of establishment and free provision of services, the environment and the free movement of goods.
Breakdown by sector of reasoned opinions sent between 1.3.98-1.3.99
Citizens' rights - further efforts needed to increase awareness
Opinion surveys undertaken for the Commission have confirmed that there are still too few citizens are aware of the substantial rights that they enjoy in the Single Market. The "Dialogue with Business and Citizens", part of the Europe Direct service (see IP/98/544), has already made progress in ensuring that citizens can find out about these rights, but the task is far from over. Since its launch in November 1996 the "Citizens Signpost Service" has received well over 20,000 enquiries from all parts of the Union seeking information and advice. Difficulties reported by citizens to the service frequently involve procedural or administrative problems arising, for example, from limited access to information, inability to find the right point of contact, or a failure to have their rights recognised. The Commission is at present preparing a full report on the feedback from citizens in which the difficulties identified by the Signpost Service will be considered in depth.
Analysis of enquiries handled by the Signpost Service (to March 1999)
The Scoreboard is available from the Europa Internet site: