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Brussels, 03 March 2010

EU PILOT – getting quick answers to complaints by citizens and business

The European Commission has presented today its first Evaluation Report on the functioning of 'EU Pilot' - the method introduced to improve the assistance to citizens and business on the application of EU law. It shows how the Commission and fifteen Member States are working to increase their co-operation to reduce the number of formal infringement procedures and get results for citizens and business quicker.

President Barroso said, "Making sure member states correctly apply EU law is essential for the proper functioning of the European Union. EU Pilot has been created to make sure that citizens and business get their problems solved as quickly, easily and efficiently as possible. EU Pilot has already proved its worth with clear positive results and I am now proposing that it is extended to all member states".

Main aspects of the report

The Commission has drawn a number of conclusions from the first 22 months of operation of EU Pilot:

Efficiency - It is a long-established practice of the Commission to contact the authorities of the Member States to request information or seek solutions to problems and the correction of infringements. This can accelerate results achieved either without, or later through, infringement proceedings. The project is beginning to make a positive contribution to cooperation between the Commission and participating Member States, with most responses provided by Member States within ten weeks and 85% considered acceptable by the Commission. The Commission examines the outcome of every file and launches infringement proceedings if appropriate. By February 2010, 40 files moved to the formal stage of infringement proceedings.

Co-operation - An important achievement of EU Pilot is to have created an active network of contact points. This is reinforcing oversight of the management of enquiry and complaint files, increasing co-ordination and cooperation between the Commission and the Member States. The Commission welcomes the constructive and positive contributions being made by the participating Member States to the project.

Deepening - The evaluation has also shown that further improvements can be made to the functioning of the system to accelerate and improve results. The Commission and participating Member States are committed to continuing to work on further improving the processing of files and improving the working methods.

Widening - The Commission intends to invite those Member States not yet participating to join the project, to broaden its application, extend its impact and strengthen its further development.

The report is accomp anied by a Commission Staff Working Document containing facts on the functioning of the system up to February 2010.

A series of concrete examples of how EU Pilot has helped citizens and business can be found in MEMO/10/60 .


The European Commission deals with a large number of possible infringements of EU law each year. In 2008, 1627 files were opened (1407 based on complaints or own initiative cases and 220 under the first year of the EU pilot project).

The idea for the EU Pilot project was launched in the Commission Communication in 2007 on 'A Europe of results' (COM(2007)502). The Communication states that EU Pilot is designed to deal with enquiries and complaints from citizens and business raising a question of the correct application of EU law. EU Pilot is used when clarification is required from Member States of the factual or legal position. Explanations or solutions are to be provided by Member States within a short timeframe, including remedial action to correct infringements of EU law. The Commission services review all Member State responses and further action may be taken to enforce EU law if required.

EU Pilot has been operating since April 2008. Fifteen volunteer Member States are participating: Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Spain and the United Kingdom. By February 2010 the EU Pilot was dealing with 723 files after 22 months of operation. A further evaluation of EU Pilot is planned for 2011.

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