EU countries are making record time in adopting EU single market rules.
The single European market has brought us lower prices, wider choice and higher quality in the goods and services on offer throughout Europe. This would never have been possible without common rules passed by the EU and made into law by its member countries.
The latest six-monthly progress report (known as the 'internal market scoreboard') shows that, on average, only 1.2% of single market rules have not made it into national law within the time allotted. In June 2007, that average was 1.6%, and we are now well below the 1.5% interim target set by EU leaders in 2001.
"This is an excellent result" said internal market commissioner McCreevy. "For the single market to work effectively, its rules need to be applied correctly and on time. Now we need to see this progress continue towards achieving the new 1.0% target."
For the first time, all 27 EU countries are on the scoreboard: Bulgaria and Romania have been extremely quick in adopting the single market rules, with an average deficit of 0.8%; Slovakia is at the head of the pack, only 9 rules away from zero deficit; Denmark, Latvia and Lithuania are close behind with only 10 directives now overdue.
Countries that fail to make the deadline for adoption face infringement proceedings. Italy still has the most cases against it, but did manage to reduce the number by 19 over the last six months. Most of the proceedings against backsliders concern unadopted environmental directives, followed by taxation and customs, energy and transport, and employment.