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Best practices

The Single Market Scoreboard devotes particular attention to the exchange of best practices among Member States. All Member States are invited to share their initiatives for reducing their transposition deficit or improving the settlement of infringement proceedings.

 

Creation of inter-departmental committee gives boost to transposition (Ireland - 18/02/2013)

(Published in Internal Market Scoreboard nº 26pdf Choose translations of the previous link , 18/02/2013)

An Interdepartmental Committee on EU Engagement was established in autumn 2011.

Members

Chair – Minister of State for European Affairs in the Department of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister).
Membership – senior representatives of all government departments and the Offices of the Attorney General and Parliamentary Counsel.

When does it meet?

Every 2-3 months.

Brief

Wide brief includes monitoring/addressing the government’s commitments concerning the EU.
Specific mandate is to continually examine Ireland’s participation in shaping EU legislation, including transposition and handling of infringements. The goal is to improve Ireland’s record to avoid/minimise the risk of penalties and fines.

Sub-group meetings

A committee sub-group comprising officials from the government departments with the largest number of transposition/infringement issues meets regularly and reports to the Committee on issues of concern.
The sub-group monitors the state of play on transposition/infringements and exerts official and ‘moral’ pressure on government departments to transpose directives within the deadline set and reduce the number of infringements.

It is also reviewing current procedures for dealing with transposition/infringements across government.

Results

For the first time all directives due to be transposed by February 2013 had been transposed on time.

Similarly, 3-4 years ago Ireland had some 90 outstanding infringements – now this is closer to 30.

The EU Affairs Division of the Department of the Taoiseach is also the national authority for the EU Pilot programme.

How transposition works

Sample case involving the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine (DAFM)
Following publication of the directive, EU Affairs Division, Department of the Taoiseach and the relevant DAFM division are notified. The lead official to deal with transposition is identified within the DAFM.

A dedicated officer in EU Affairs Division, DAFM, is assigned to monitor transposition dates and liaise directly with colleagues. This officer also updates the electronic notification database (NEMS) and the EU returns database. Transposition is highlighted in the relevant DAFM division’s business plan.

The DAFM has its own Legal Services Division whose small team of trained officers works with policy colleagues on transposition. A member of the team is assigned to deal with each directive and works closely with the lead official/line Division to give effect to the directive in a timely manner.

Staff are advised of the importance of early warning where legislation is likely to be difficult to transpose, for example where more extensive changes are required than the impact assessment originally envisaged.

The EU Affairs Division and Legal Services Division highlight the importance of close working relations with the Commission, particularly in difficult cases where there is a risk of infringement proceedings

Staff report regularly to a Management Advisory Committee and to the Interdepartmental Committee on EU Engagement. This reporting helps ensure directives are handled in a timely manner.

 

Revived network and stricter scheduling (Romania - 18/02/2013)

(Published in Internal Market Scoreboard nº 26pdf Choose translations of the previous link , 18/02/2013)

In 2011 Romania missed the 1 % target, which gave a signal that the process of transposition of EU directives needed to be improved at national level. In this context, the Ministry of European Affairs (MEA) – the Romanian authority responsible for coordinating transposition – re-established the network of contact points in all ministries and other authorities which have the right of legislative initiative.

They also took preventive action by enforcing a new working methodology that establishes strict procedures and terms for the adoption of different categories of legal acts, to avoid missing transposition deadlines. Legal acts transposing EU directives must be submitted to the government for adoption before the transposition deadlines as follows:

  • laws – 4 months before
  • government decisions & secondary legislation – 2 months before
  • legislative packages – 6 months before.

An annual programme for transposing and notifying directives was also established. All these measures were endorsed by the government, by means of a memorandum (public policy document).

An information note on the status of the legislative measures in the annual programme is presented to the government each month and covers:

  • proceedings launched by the Commission for non-transposition
  • all directives for which transposition deadlines have already expired
  • directives with a transposition deadline in the following 6 months
  • directives that have not yet been attributed to any institution.

Following the government meeting, the competent institutions must give the MEA additional information on the transposition status of each directive, the reasons for any delays and new deadlines for notification.

Strengthening the permanent monitoring of the transposition process and increasing awareness among the institutions responsible has led to positive results — the transposition deficit has been reduced to under 0.5 %.

 

Speedier implementation by splitting transposition from infringement (Italy - 18/02/2013)

(Published in Internal Market Scoreboard nº 26pdf Choose translations of the previous link , 18/02/2013)

We have achieved our best transposition deficit rate in recent years – from 2.4% since November 2011 to 0.8% today – due to 3 main factors:

1. National transposition system

Italy’s transposition system was previously based on Law 11/2005, which gave a delegation to the government to draft the Legge Comunitaria (Community Law). This Law, which had to be approved by Parliament annually, contained:

  • list of EU directives to be transposed in the following months
  • legislative measures necessary to settle infringement procedures.
     

This system is generally more effective than the previous one (each directive implemented through a single bill), though there have still been systematic delays in transposition due to delays in approving each Community Law.

These are mainly related to political problems concerning infringement cases, and the dynamics of the Parliament (the law had to be approved by both Chambers, a process that could be interrupted by their dissolution due to early vote, as happened recently). And exacerbated by the fact that each Community Law contained 2 different parts: one for the transposition of EU directives and the other dedicated to pending infringement procedures.

To avoid such risks and speed up transposition, a new Law was recently adopted (Law 234 of December 24, 2012) that revises the Law 11/2005. The new text enhances the coordinating role of the Dipartimento per le Politiche Europee (Department for European Policy) and splits the Community Law in 2 separate bills (transposition and infringement). This will allow speedier approval of the laws transposing directives.

2. Better internal coordination of infringement proceedings

Within the Presidency of the Council, the internal process of transposing EU directives is coordinated by the Legislative Office of the Minister for EU Affairs, in agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Legislative Office works closely with the Struttura di missione per le procedure di infrazione(Unit for infringement procedures), created in 2006 within the Presidency of the Council's Department for EU Policy to reduce the high number of pending infringement procedures (at the same time a specific unit for this purpose was created within our EU Permanent Representation in Brussels).

The Struttura coordinates between the central government and the different national and local administrations involved in infringement proceedings, and proposes solutions for infringements resulting from violations of EU law or failure to notify transposition measures.

It is helped by the unit in Brussels, which provides coordination and dialogue between the EU institutions (primarily the Commission) and the Italian authorities. The Struttura and the Legislative Office follow each directive from its publication in OJ to the publication of the corresponding transposition measure in the Italian Official Journal (Gazzetta Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana).

Once the transposition measure or the necessary act to close an infringement case is ready, the Struttura sends it to the unit at the Permanent Representation which provides the notification through the MNE or INF electronic system, according to the different cases.

3. Determination of all institutions involved in the legislative process

The great improvement since November 2011 was due to the determination of all institutions involved in the legislative process, including the policy ministries with responsibility for preparing the draft texts of transpositions, and to their increased efforts in ensuring timely transposition, once the 2010 Community Law entered into force.

 

Negotiator also drafts the implementing law (Cyprus - 08/10/2012)

(Published in Internal Market Scoreboard nº 25pdf Choose translations of the previous link , 08/10/2012)

Government practice for transposing EU directives correctly and on time rationalises a number of steps leading from the directive negotiation phase to the phase of notifying the Commission of transposition measures.

The person involved in negotiating a directive is also involved in drafting the national legislation transposing it. This ensures continuity and quality of work. When drafting is complete, the Cypriot legal services proceed with the legal vetting of the national execution measures, thus ensuring their correct transposition while also taking into consideration the transposition deadlines for the directives.

The office responsible for following up the transposition process – from the directive's OJ publication to the notification of the national execution measures via the MNE electronic system – is the Planning Bureau. Every EU coordinator in each ministry informs the Planning Bureau directly and regularly sends all relevant information on the status of each national law. The office cooperates very well and has regular direct contacts with the relevant persons in the ministerial departments responsible for transposition.

The feedback received by the Planning Bureau is then used to prepare 2 reports every 4 months on progress to date, for the Council of Ministers, the Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries, other independent authorities and the House of Representatives. The first report includes directives with an already expired transposition deadline and the second includes directives with a transposition deadline within 4 months.

 

Database for every directive (Greece - 08/10/2012)

(Published in Internal Market Scoreboard nº 25pdf Choose translations of the previous link , 08/10/2012)

Our 0.5 % deficit was the result of a concerted national effort headed by the Office for International and European Affairs of the General Secretariat of the Greek Government.

On the basis of answers to a detailed questionnaire sent to all national bodies involved in the EU transposition process, the Office was able to address many of the hindrances to timely, full and correct transposition, as well as the individual concerns and needs of the line ministries.

For practical purposes, the Office chose a specific set of work partners: in most cases, in each line ministry the Office worked together with a group of civil servants and ministerial counsellors, which provided an ideal combination of in-house knowledge/experience and political support.

At the same time, the Office set up an internal (i.e. not accessible to the public) database for each EU directive, where every development was immediately recorded on an hourly basis. Prompt feedback from all national implementation bodies was ensured through the working partners of the Office in each line ministry. Thus, the Office had a timely diagnosis of obstacles and could provide legal and practical assistance through electronic communication, meetings, workshops and conferences.

All these combined endeavours speeded up the EU law implementation process and led to the closure of many infringement cases due to non-transposition or late transposition. The highlight was the Services Directive and the completion of its overdue transposition into Greek law. Another result achieved by the Office was improvement of the quality of Greek legislation transposing EU law.

Equally important was the creation of a tight-knit intergovernmental network to handle all arising problems. This unofficial (and so flexible) network consists of the:

  • Office for International and European Affairs
  • line ministry working groups
  • Council of State Fifth Chamber and its president
  • Legal Service of the Greek Permanent Representation in Brussels
  • all other units of the government's General Secretariat (especially legal staff)
  • President of the Republic Office
  • cabinet of the Special Secretary of the National Printing Office.
     

Government-wide consultation leads to best-practice guide (France - 08/10/2012)

(Published in Internal Market Scoreboard nº 25pdf Choose translations of the previous link , 08/10/2012)

To show the government’s commitment to improving France’s transposition outcome, the Conseil des Ministres issued a declaration on the subject in July 2011.

To reduce the transposition deficit, a wide consultation was conducted of both MPs and members of the government. This led to a guide to best practices that was sent to all departments.

The main ideas and proposals, which are currently being implemented, are as follows:

Anticipation of transposition – from the start of negotiations, to identify and solve potential difficulties:

  • an impact study is launched at the beginning of negotiations and refined throughout the process to assess the impact of the draft measure at national and local level, including the accompanying changes to French law. This study is communicated to the national Parliament. 
  • a concordance table is drafted and amended as negotiations progress.

Continuity – consistent French positions and preparation, through a single team handling the process from start to finish (negotiations to transposition):

  • within a department, a project team will be dedicated to each draft directive. In the event of difficulties, a task force can be set up involving the different departments concerned and representatives of the Parliament. 
  • 2 correspondents are designated in every department. One is part of the Minister’s office; the other is in charge of European affairs or European law. Both can bring their knowledge of transposition to the expert team. 
  • the correspondent network is regularly consulted to share their experiences.

Coordinationbetween departments also guarantees consistent French positions:

  • a lead department is designated for each draft directive. 
  • the SGAE ("Secrétariat Général des Affaires Européennes"), reporting to the Prime Minister, leads the co­ordination work. 
  • there is regular inter-ministerial monitoring, and members of the government and parliamentary com­mittees meet quarterly to discuss transposition issues.

Consultation of Parliament – to make the transposition process easier:

  • an annual bill is devoted to the transposition of technical subjects
  • Parliament is kept informed of the negotiations and is aware of potential difficulties.

Accountability

  • an agreementis concluded between the SGAE and the department in charge of transposition. It takes the form of a transposition plan with deadlines, which is discussed and approved at a meeting and monitored throughout the transposition process.

Transparency

  • indicators have been defined to measure the main objectives at the various stages of the process. They are classified by department and will be measured on a regular basis and available on the government’s intranet.

New start with no special exemptions on transposition for any department (Czech republic - 08/10/2012)

(Published in Internal Market Scoreboard nº 25pdf Choose translations of the previous link , 08/10/2012)

The first step in reducing our transposition deficit was a thorough analysis of current methodology. This showed the current Czech system of "Methodical Instructions" to be adequate, so there was no need for new rules or obligations.

The deficit seemed rather to be due to the large number of exemptionsfrom the basic rules granted to various bodies in the national administration, for various reasons (e.g. submitting draft transposition legislation later than required). To improve performance, all exemptions were eliminated – all institutions involved in the legislative process at government level were obliged to conform to the basic rules.

We also improved the system for monitoring progress, to detect delays as quickly as possible and address them before they became a major problem. The government is now informed of the transposition status of all current directives and progress in adopting related draft legislation through a comprehensive monthly report, which clearly indicates delays and suggested solutions, and deadlines for complying with them.

Also key in our experience is timely analysis of the extent and method for implementing EU legislation. The administrative bodies responsible for coordinating implementation are obliged to assess as early as possible the impact of the EU legislation on national law – if possible before OJ publication, otherwise no later than 20 days after publication – and to submit their assessment to the Office of the Government (Department for compatibility with EU law) for review. The assessment must contain a provision-by-provision analysis stating exactly which acts/draft acts implement or transpose which provision. Draft acts must be identified by an ID number and given a binding time schedule for adoption.

The suggested time schedule must comply with the rules for timely implementation in the Methodical Instructions, under which national draft acts implementing EU acts must be submitted:

  • to the 'interministerial commentary procedure' 11 months before the deadline of the EU act (for government regulations/by-laws – 4 months before
  • subsequently, for government approval, 9 months before the deadline (for government regulations/by-laws – 2 months before).

These time periods correspond to the approximate length of the legislative process in the Czech Republic.

Other techniques

  • Set completion deadlines for individual legislative phases/sub-processes and thoroughly monitor whether they are met (delays can occur even when work on the respective legislation starts on time). 
  • Deploy an information system enabling early detection of any problems. When regular outputs are subsequently submitted to the government for information and supervision, it can address any arising problem as soon as possible.
     

Network of "Euro-coordinators" throughout government (Belgium - 29/09/2011)

(Published in Internal Market Scoreboard nº 23pdf Choose translations of the previous link , 29/09/2011)

In the last year, Belgium has improved its transposition score by 9%.

Political responsibility lies with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Development Cooperation competent for European Affairs; administrative responsibility with the Federal Public Service of Foreign Affairs.

Specific cases are followed up by the competent Ministers at federal level and/or at the level of the federated governments. Monitoring of the pre-litigation cases is organised via the network of Euro-coordinators and contact points, totalling up to 110 people. There is regular consultation and coordination regarding both the general state of affairs and individual cases.

The Euro-coordinator is the key figure in each administration. She/he has the task of monitoring the directive transposition process and settling infringement proceedings for which the administration is responsible.

Belgium has also been taking various awareness-raising and mobilising measures to improve its transposition record.

1. Government action plan with the following priorities:

  • respond to the Commission within the set time period; 
  • enforce Court of Justice judgments against Belgium as soon as possible; 
  • end infringements for non-notification of transposition measures, as soon as possible; 
  • permanently screen the other infringement procedures against Belgium, to identify, without delay, cases where the Belgian government agrees with the Commission position. Further actions on these cases – including the adoption of the necessary measures – improve the general score. 

2. Analysis of existing structures and practices

This led to the adoption of specific measures by the Federal Council of Ministers and the Concertation Committee. More proposals have been drawn up to reduce the number of infringement procedures in a structured way by increasing the information flow and taking a proactive approach (including benchmarking).

3. Participation in EU pilot project (from January 2011)

For most countries, the statistics show that participation reduces the number of new infringement procedures against them.

4. Regular contacts/exchanges with EU institutions and other EU governments

Especially sharing best practice on transposition at dedicated conferences organised by EU governments (Czech Republic 2009, Belgium itself in 2010, Poland 2011, etc.).

 

Zero delay target – as part of major legal simplification project (Portugal - 21/03/2011)

(Published in Internal Market Scoreboard nº 22pdf Choose translations of the previous link , 21/03/2011)

To improve its transposition record, in 2010 the Portuguese government launched its legal simplification programme SIMPLEGIS.

SIMPLEGIS fixed a "zero delay" target for transposing EU directives by the end of the 1st half of 2011. To reach this target, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (PCM) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) have adopted new procedures to ensure more effective control over the transposition process:

  1. Periodic meetings of Secretaries of State – to discuss and approve draft legislation for EU directives 6 months ahead of the transposition deadline (9 months, if a parliamentary act is required).
     
  2. Agenda item on EU transposition in every second meeting of Secretaries of State.
     
  3. Centralised, automatic control of transposition – through the “Regulations System Control” (Sistema de Controlo de Actos Normativos – SCAN), coordinated by the PCM and MFA. This system allows the national authorities to:
     
    • define responsibilities – immediately after publication of the directive, the system registers the ministry and the person entitled to draft its transposition 
    • plan better – the transposition timetable sends early warnings about milestones to be reached 
    • monitor better– the PCM and MFA anticipate and resolve delays and other problems with transposition.
       

Greater coordination through new Office for EU Affairs (Greece - 21/03/2011)

(Published in Internal Market Scoreboard nº 22pdf Choose translations of the previous link , 21/03/2011)

Greece’s previously high transposition deficit was mainly due to the lack of coordination between the different national bodies responsible for implementing EU law.

To remedy this problem, an Office for International and European Affairs was established by presidential decree No 18/2010 as part of the government's General Secretariat. Working under the auspices of the Greek Prime Minister, the Office enjoys political support.

Duties of the Office

  • surveying and following-up on all infringement cases linked to non- or incorrect transposition of EU directives. 
  • communicating all new directives to the competent national authorities/ministries the day they're published in the OJ. 
  • monitoring daily progress in transposition and offering help to line ministries to this end (logistical/technical support and legal advice). 
  • twice a month – circulating tables with all non-transposed directives to the competent national authorities/ministries. 

Improvements planned by the Office

  1. Streamlining the transposition process and follow-up/impact assessment, as well as the handling of infringement cases. 
  2. Publishing guidelines and manuals on transposition, with an emphasis on very complex directives (e.g. the Services and Professional Qualifications directives). 
  3. Providing assistance in connection with the sections in the “Memorandum of Understanding” referring to EU law implementation. 
  4. Organising seminars on transposition.
     

6-month deadline for transposition (Luxembourg - 21/03/2011)

(Published in Internal Market Scoreboard nº 22pdf Choose translations of the previous link , 21/03/2011)

To rectify its transposition deficit, the Luxembourg government has introduced measures including:

  • regular meetings of the Council of Ministers to review the transposition deficit record. 
  • requirement for a draft national measure transposing a directive to be presented to the Cabinet within 6 months of OJ publication.
     

Early preparation – and follow-up from Commission proposal to national law (Malta - 21/03/2011)

(Published in Internal Market Scoreboard nº 22pdf Choose translations of the previous link , 21/03/2011)

The body responsible for coordinating the transposition process across government, to ensure both adoption and implementation in the agreed time frames, is the EU Secretariat in the Prime Minister's Office.

In so doing, it liaises regularly with government ministries and Malta's Permanent Representation to the EU. Each ministry has a designated director responsible for EU affairs who is the contact point on transposition issues falling in that ministry's remit.

A key factor is early preparation, which requires close monitoring of the entire life-cycle of Commission proposals, from discussion to adoption by the EU Council.

Briefly, once a proposal is issued by the Commission, the line Ministry draws up an Explanatory Memorandum which is discussed within the Inter-Ministerial Committee for EU Affairs, chaired by Malta's Permanent Representative. The Memorandum defines the main contractual, legal, economic and political aspects of the proposal and the government’s preliminary position on it.

Once approved, these Memoranda are approved in cabinet and sent to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign and EU Affairs for scrutiny. This allows for a proactive assessment of Commission proposals from an early stage by all key actors.

Where possible, national officials responsible for transposition and application are involved in the negotiations on that directive. When this is not possible, the negotiators cooperate closely with the transposing officials. The objective here is to ensure any potential transposition issues are raised and addressed as early as possible in the process.

Once a directive is published, the EU Secretariat notifies the Ministry responsible for transposing it.