The EU Pilot project was introduced by the Commission with a number of volunteer Member States in 2008 with the aim of improving the cooperation between Member States and the Commission on issues concerning the conformity of national law with EU law or the correct application of EU law. As a general rule, EU Pilot is used as a first step to try to clarify or resolve problems, so that, if possible, formal infringement proceedings can be avoided. Currently 27 Member States are participating in EU Pilot.
Member States and the Commission use an online platform, EU Pilot, to clarify the factual and legal background of problems arising in relation to the application of EU law. EU Pilot discussions also allow Member States to remedy potential EU law infringements by complying voluntarily with the Commission's position. The project was initiated in 2008 with the participation of 15 Member States; by mid-2012, the entire EU-27 had signed up.
For the average response time of the Member States a benchmark of 70 days has been set.
To give an objective overview of the Member States' performance, the traffic light colors "red", "yellow" and "green" have been attributed according to the following rules:
- Countries with an average response time of 71 to 77 days were rated as "close to benchmark" (yellow).
- Countries with an average response time of 70 days or less were rated as "respecting benchmark" (green).
- Countries with an average response time of 78 days or more were rated as "beyond benchmark" (red).
Facts and Figures
Between 1 June 2012 and 26 March 2013, the Commission opened 1 251 EU Pilot files.
In principle, EU Pilot covers the entire "acquis": Member States and the Commission may discuss any potential problem involving the application of EU law, including the Single Market Legislation. However, EU Pilot is not used in specific areas where similar mechanisms had already been installed before the introduction of EU Pilot.
Following the receipt of Member States' responses, the Commission evaluated 318 EU Pilot files during the above period. Until now, 237 files were closed because the Member State provided a satisfactory response; this equals to a 75 % average resolution rate for the EU-27. 1014 files were still pending. For 77 of these files, the Commission initiated formal infringement procedures by sending a letter of formal notice under Article 258 TFEU.
The three Member States that received the most EU Pilot files during the reference period were Italy (94), Spain (86) and France (81).
24 % of the 1 251 investigations that were launched in EU Pilot since 1 June 2012 related to environmental issues, 12 % to internal market and services, 8 % to taxation and customs union, 15 % to mobility and transport and 8 % to justice, fundamental rights and citizenship. Those policy areas represent altogether 67 % of the total number of EU Pilot files.