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No 27 (July 2001/Juillet 2001/Juli 2001)
Regular readers of SMN will by now be familiar with the six monthly Internal Market Scoreboard. The latest edition, issued in November, was encouraging in recognising Member States’ progress in implementing Internal Market Directives. The average implementation deficit has fallen from 3% to 2.5% since last November. But some Member States are sliding backwards in their performance and the deficits of a number of others remain in double figures. Of particular interest in this edition of the Scoreboard is an examination of price differences between Member States. Recent Commission studies in this area reveal significant differences between the prices we pay for consumer electronic goods and fresh foods in different Member States.
Environmental issues are much in the spotlight. The Scoreboard highlights Member States’ particularly poor record in implementing environmental directives. There is also a recently adopted Commission Communication on environmental issues in public procurement, provides guidance to procurement purchasers on how to integrate environmental considerations into each stage of the procurement procedures. The Commission has also adopted a Recommendation to clarify existing rules and provide guidance on recognition, measurement and disclosure of environmental issues in companies’ annual accounts and reports.
There continues to be a great deal of activity in the field of financial services. Following the Lamfalussy report, the Commission has taken the necessary steps to establish two new committees which will contribute to speeding up developments in the legislative framework for securities. It has also recently presented two important legislative proposals in the field of securities: a Directive to counter market abuse and another to enable the use of a single prospectus for raising capital across Europe. These measures constitute a package of reforms to establish a new system of regulation of European securities. Further proposals will follow later this year. They represent a significant contribution to achieving the EU’s objective of integrated financial markets by 2005. The fourth report on implementation of the Financial Services Action Plan concludes that progress so far has been good, with 19 legislative measures adopted and a further 18 proposals under discussion in Council and Parliament.
Protection of personal data remains a challenging objective given the ease with which data can now be moved around the world. Protecting data exported out of the EU whilst at the same time ensuring the free movement of information has been a particular concern in recent years. The Data Protection Directive requires all personal data transferred to countries outside the EU to benefit from “adequate protection”. Only a handful of third countries have so far satisfied the Commission that their legislation provides such protection. To increase the opportunities for companies and organisations to comply with these protection requirements, last month the Commission approved a series of standard model contract clauses, which enable individuals to enforce their rights to protection of privacy under any contract containing these clauses.
Internal Market DG