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Reporting period: 05/2014 - 11/2014

Infringements

About

This page gives statistics on Single Market infringement proceedings that were open on 1 November 2014. All comparisons are with the figures for the last reporting date, 1 May 2014.

“Infringement proceedings” may be started when the Commission considers that e.g. an EU directive has not been transposed timely and correctly into national law, or Single Market rules (either in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union or in secondary legislation) have been incorrectly applied. Infringement proceedings only start when a letter of formal notice is sent to the Member State in question.

This page does not include those cases for late transposition (known as non-communication cases) – except in the pie chart “Types of cases”. This is to avoid such cases being counted twice as they are already treated in the transposition tool.

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Performance

1. Per indicator

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Indicator values

[1] & [2]<averageaverage ±10 %>average n/a
[3]< 8 months8 - 18 months>18 months n/a  

 

 

2. Overall
(all 3 indicators combined)

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A Member State's performance across all 3 indicators is calculated by scoring each indicator in chart 1 as follows:
RED = -1, YELLOW = 0 and GREEN = +1.

The colours on the map thus represent the sum of these scores:

2 or higher = above average-1, 0 or 1 = average-2 or lower = below average

 

 

Indicator [1]: Number of pending infringement proceedings

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Total number of cases: up to 826 (from 816 in May 2014)

Average cases per Member State (EU28): 30 (the same as in May 2014 for EU27)

Total number of Member States up: 15

Slovakia (+5), Ireland, Lithuania, Hungary and Romania (+4), Bulgaria and Slovenia (+3), Austria (+2), Denmark, Croatia, Italy, Poland, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom (+1)

Total number of Member States down: 7

Belgium (-9), Luxembourg (-5), the Netherlands (-4), Spain (-3), Estonia and Malta (-2), France (-1)

Number of Member States with no change: 6 (Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Cyprus, Latvia and Portugal)

 

Comments

  • The number of pending infringements is increasing again, after 6 years of decline. In November 2014, the total number of cases reached 826, which is 10 cases more than in the previous Scoreboard (19 cases more than one year ago).
  • Belgium reduced its number of cases by 9 (18 %) which is the highest reduction by a Member State since the last Scoreboard. This repeats their remarkable decrease of February 2013.
  • Six Member States (Italy, Greece, France, Spain, Germany and Poland) represent 41 % of the total number of cases.
  • Italy continues to have the highest number of pending cases (67 – over twice the EU average). This situation has been maintained for the 6th consecutive reporting period.

 

 

Indicator [2]: Duration of infringement proceedings

The Commission and national administrations should join forces for quickly resolving compliance problems that arise with Single Market rules or their application.

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Change in average duration of a case: down slightly from 27.7 (May 2014) to 26.9 months.

 

Comments

  • 14 Member States reduced the average duration of their cases since the last Scoreboard: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Latvia, Luxembourg, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The most impressive are Hungary (which chopped 10.5 months off their average case length) and Denmark (which shaved 6.3 months off their average).
  • 14 Member States had longer average case durations: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Malta, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia and Finland. Of these, cases in Malta increased by 12.5 months, while they also grew by 6.9 months in the Netherlands and by 6.5 months in Estonia.
  • Average case duration is still over 2 years. A combined effort by both sides – Commission and Member States - is needed to reduce this delay.

 

 

Indicator [3]: Duration since Court's ruling

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Change in average lag: now 19.7 months, up from 18.3 in May 2014

 

Comments

  • The average compliance lag increased again, for the 4th consecutive period (from 17.4 months two years ago to 19.7 months).
  • Only 5 Member States reduced their average lag: the Czech Republic, Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria and Finland. The most impressive is Austria (down 4.9 months).
  • 11 Member States had longer average lag times: Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom. From them, the United Kingdom increased by 12 months and Luxembourg by 6.9 months.
  • For 3 Member States, the average lag time is over 2 years: Greece, Italy and Ireland.
  • The 6 Member States with the biggest lag times are still Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, France and Spain (albeit in a different order).
  • In general, Member States with only a few rulings against them need less time to comply. But not always: the Czech Republic (6 cases only) has a compliance lag two times longer than Austria (14 cases).

 

 

Iceland, Liechtenstein & Norway

These 3 countries are also subject to Single Market rules under the EEA Agreement. They are pursued by the EFTA Surveillance Authority.

However, the specific rules applicable to these countries at any given point in time are different from those applicable to EU Member States – due to the time lag between the adoption (or repeal) of legal acts in the EU and their incorporation into (or deletion from) the EEA Agreement. This should be borne in mind when comparing this scoreboard and the EEA Scoreboard.

 

Number of pending cases

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Total cases open: 244 (up from 238 in May 2014), of which:

  • incorrect transposition/application: 51 (see figure above)= 24.2 % of all open infringement cases
  • late transposition (directives): 54 (IS 36, LI 11 and NO 7)= 22.1 %
  • late implementation* (regulations): 131 (IS 107 and NO 24)= 53.7 %

*It follows from Article 7 of the EEA Agreement that regulations incorporated into the Agreement shall “as such” be made part of the internal legal order of the EFTA States. In Liechtenstein, however, regulations are directly applicable and do not have to be implemented.

 

Comments

  • The number of infringement cases concerning incorrect transposition or application of Single Market rules has settled at around 60 cases for all three countries combined. This number has been stable for the last 4 Scoreboards. However, this number is twice as high as in May 2011, when only 28 pending cases were reported.
  • However, there is an improvement in the number of cases concerning the late transposition of directives: 54 pending infringement cases in this Scoreboard, compared to a peak of 72 pending cases in November 2013.
  • By contrast, the number of infringement cases concerning the late adoption of implementing measures of regulations continues to rise. With 131 pending cases, the number has nearly multiplied by ten since May 2011, where 14 pending cases were reported. This exponential increase is mainly due to the poor performance of Iceland in this respect.
  • Problematic sectors - Of the 107 pending infringement proceedings against Iceland concerning the late implementation of regulations, 53 relate to the food and feed, animal health and welfare sector.

 

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Achievements

Number of pending cases 

 

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Even if the current report shows a small increase in the number of infringement proceedings, the global number of cases has reduced since the establishment of early problem-solving systems. Instruments like SOLVIT or EU-Pilot aim to enhance cooperation prior to the launch of infringement proceedings on the lack of compliance or wrong application of EU law.

130 cases among the 816 pending in May 2014 are now resolved while 140 new cases (excluding those for late transposition) have been initiated in the last 6 months.

 

Evolution of infringement cases broken down by Member State

 

 

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Facts and figures

Cases by sector

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Sectors with the most infringement cases

  • Transport: 23.5 % of all cases (especially air transport & road and rail transport)
  • Environment: 20.8 % (especially water protection & waste management)
  • Taxation: 15.9 % (fairly balanced between direct & indirect taxation)

 

Problematic sectors by Member State

  • Taxation: around 30 % of Belgium’s and France’s total cases, and also an issue for Germany and Spain
  • Environment: Greece, Spain, Italy, Poland and Slovakia

 

Average duration by sector

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Longest average duration (in months): air transport (39.2), atmospheric pollution (37.8) and indirect taxation (37.2).

Comments

  • Air transport – for many cases the figure has been inflated by factors outside the control of either the national authorities or the Commission. While the number of pending cases increased substantially from May 2014 (up 9 cases), the average duration slightly decreased (down from 40.4 months).
  • The average duration of cases in the area of atmospheric pollution has increased from 33.1 to 37.8 months during the last six months while the number of cases remains stable.
  • Despite high number of cases (47) the average duration of infringement proceedings in the road and rail transport area is one of the shortest (12.6 months).

 

Types of cases

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  • 53 % of cases are for late or incorrect transposition of directives
  • 74 % of cases relate to directives
  • 26 % concern regulations, decisions and Treaty articles

 

Comments

  • The number of pending infringement cases for late transposition (457) is higher than the number of cases where no transposition measures were notified to the Commission (188 – see “transposition deficit” in the transposition tool). This is because – after being notified – the Commission needs a certain time to assess the measures and eventually close the proceedings.
  • Good co-operation between Member States and the Commission is very important in this process. It can help decrease the time needed for the assessment of national legislation implementing a directive, which can bring down the number of pending cases. In this context of sincere cooperation, Member States notifying national transposition measures have to submit clear and precise information indicating unequivocally the laws, regulations and administrative provisions by means of which the Member State considers that it has satisfied the various requirements imposed on it by the directive.