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Single market is bearing fruits, says EC

Despite challenging times, Member States continue to perform well in writing Internal Market rules into national law according to the European Commission’s latest Internal Market Scoreboard.

On average 0.9% of Internal Market Directives for which the implementation deadline has passed are not currently written into national law, a figure that has remained stable over the last six months. This means that Member States are still in line, but only just, with the 1% target set by Heads of State and Government in 2007. Over the last 12 months, Member States have also managed to reduce the average extra time they need to transpose an EU Directive into national law by almost 40%. As regards the application of EU law, the number of infringements has decreased by 11% compared to six months ago. Greece, Portugal and Luxembourg have notably reduced their backlog, while Malta continues to be the overall best performer. This Internal Market Scoreboard highlights the success stories of the national measures they have taken.

Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier said: “Despite the current economic difficulties, I am happy to see that governments continue their efforts to respect the deadline of writing Single Market rules into national laws. Even some countries that have been worst hit by the crisis did not resort to protectionism, but have continued to uphold Single Market rules. This underlines a sustained and even reinforced awareness that Europe needs a Single Market that works: it is and will remain our source of sustainable growth.”

Implementation of Internal Market Directives
• The EU average transposition deficit – the percentage of Internal Market Directives that have not been implemented into national law in time – of the 27 Member States has remained stable at 0.9%.
• The total number of Member States achieving the 1% transposition deficit target increased from 18 to 20 Member States.
• In total, six out of the 20 Member States meeting the 1% target improved or equalled their transposition deficit compared to six months ago: Malta, Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Luxembourg and Latvia. These countries have proven that, despite challenging times, it is still possible to maintain or further improve the transposition performance.
• Greece, Portugal and Luxembourg have made the most improvements, booking their best results so far. Just six months ago, they accounted for the highest transposition deficit in the EU (2.4%, 2.1% and 1.5% respectively). It is a welcome achievement that in particular these three Member States managed to significantly reduce their deficit and thereby achieving the 1% transposition deficit target for the first time ever.
• Once again Malta is on first position of best transposition performer with only two directives awaiting transposition
• By contrast, seven Member States are above the 1% transposition target: Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Hungary, Poland and Italy. Italy doubled its deficit from 1.1% up to 2.1% and has now the highest transposition deficit of all 27 Member States.
• One year ago, Member States took on average an extra 9 months to transpose EU directives after the transposition deadline expired. Following this, the Commission called on all Member States to put an increased focus on the need to reduce transposition delays. Today, Member States managed to reduce the EU average transposition delay to 5.8 months or almost 40%.

• The overall number of infringement proceedings relating to the Internal Market decreased by 11% compared to six months ago. In recent years, the Commission has introduced a number of alternative problem solving and complaints handling mechanisms1, which have had a considerable influence on the decrease.
• Nevertheless, “taxation” and “environment” still remain the biggest areas of infringements.
• Today the EU average number of open infringement proceedings is 40 cases per Member State compared to 46 cases half a year ago. Belgium continues to account for the highest number of infringement proceedings, followed by Greece and Italy.
• The average time needed to resolve infringements continued to fall slightly for the EU15, but has increased for the countries of the EU12.
• Member States still take considerable time – on average more than 18 months – to comply with rulings of the EU Court of Justice, even though they are required to take immediate action.
• Ireland accounts for the longest delay, taking on average approximately 25 months to comply with rulings.

The Internal Market Enforcement Table
The Internal Market Enforcement Table provides an overview of Member States’ compliance with the implementation and application of Internal Market law. For the rules to be effective, timely transposition is not enough namely: It is equally important that they are transposed correctly and properly applied.

The table highlights that only a small number of Member States perform better than the EU average when various enforcement indicators are taken into account (see annex). Malta is the overall best performer.

Special focus: Member States recent success stories
Greece, Portugal and Luxembourg have shown remarkable reductions in their transposition deficit, while Malta remains to have the smallest transposition deficit. To promote best practices, this edition of the Internal Market Scoreboard devotes one chapter that highlights the success stories behind the mechanisms these Member States have put in place.

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