The Internal Market Information system (IMI) is an IT-based information network that links up national, regional and local authorities across borders. It enables them to communicate quickly and easily with their counterparts abroad.
IMI contains, most importantly:
- a multilingual search function that helps competent authorities to identify their counterparts in another country;
- pre-translated questions and answers for all cases where they are likely to need information from abroad; and
- a tracking mechanism that allows users to follow the progress of their information requests and that allows IMI coordinators at national or regional level to intervene if there are problems.
Performance per indicator
A country's overall performance is calculated by attributing the following values to each of its five indicators: red = -1, yellow = 0 and green = 1.
Final colours are attributed based on the sum of the scores:
2 or higher => green
-1, 0 or 1 => yellow
-2 or lower => red
Speed in accepting requests
Countries that accepted less than 60 % of their incoming requests within one week were marked as "red", those that accepted between 60 % and 79 % were marked as "yellow" and those that accepted 80 % or more were marked as "green".
Speed in answering requests
The chart on the first tab shows the total number of requests received in the areas of Professional Qualifications (PQ), the Services Directive (SD) and Posting of Workers (PW) as well as the average number of days taken to answer these requests.
The charts on the following three tabs show the number of requests in each area (PQ, SD and PW) and the average time taken to provide an answer.
The Member States agree that measuring the time taken to answer a request is important as it contributes to the smooth cooperation between administrations. Based on experience and the input of Member States, thresholds of 16 and 25 days were agreed. They are not legally binding.
Member States were evaluated on the time taken to answer requests in all three areas combined: countries that took more than 25 days on average to answer requests were marked as "red", those that took between 16 and 25 days were marked as "yellow" and those that provided an answer in less than 16 days on average were marked as "green". Liechtenstein is not included in the chart as it did not receive any requests.
For more statistics on the usage of IMI, see the IMI website.
Requests answered by the date agreed in IMI
When sending a request, the sending authority indicates the date by which it needs an answer to its question. The replying authority may accept this date or may propose a new one. The Member States are evaluated on the basis of this agreed deadline. Countries that answered less than 60 % of their incoming requests within the mutually agreed deadline were marked as "red", those that answered between 60 % and 79 % within the deadline were marked as "yellow" and those that succeeded in doing so for 80 % or more of the incoming requests were marked as "green". Liechtenstein is not included in the chart as it did not receive any requests.
Timeliness of replies - as rated by counterparts
On closing a request, an optional quality survey asks the sender to rate the "timeliness of the reply" provided by the responding authority. Countries that received 15 % or more negative timeliness evaluations (dissatisfied or very dissatisfied) were marked as “red” in the main indicators traffic light board, those with 5 % or more negative evaluations were marked "yellow" and countries with less than 5 % negative evaluations were marked "green".
Efforts made - as rated by counterparts
On closing a request, an optional quality survey asks the sender to rate the "efforts made" by the responding authority. Countries that received 15 % or more negative evaluations (dissatisfied or very dissatisfied) on the "efforts made" to answer the request were marked as "red" in the main indicators traffic light board, those with 5 % or more negative "efforts made" evaluations were marked "yellow" and countries with less than 5 % negative "efforts made" evaluations were marked as "green".
2013 was a year of continued IMI expansion and technical development. In particular:
- Two new policy areas were added
- In October, IMI was extended to cross-border healthcare to enable public authorities in one Member State to check the right to practice of a health professional in another Member State.
- In November, a pilot project was launched to support administrative cooperation obligations under the E-Commerce Directive. Authorities can now use IMI to exchange information on measures that have been, or need to be, taken against an information society service provider.
- In the framework of the Services Directive, already supported by IMI, a new notification tool was introduced. It enables Member States to notify the Commission and other Member States about new requirements for service providers.
- IMI was extended to support the handling of cases by the SOLVIT network.
- The Commission's new machine translation tool MT@EC was further improved and now offers translation between all official languages of the EU.
In which areas is IMI now used?
IMI now covers eight areas:
For the coming year, the priorities are:
- Continued expansion of IMI to new areas and in particular the preparation for the introduction of the European Professional Card and the launch of a pilot in the area of Public Procurement. Work will also continue on the potential expansions of IMI in the areas of:
- Posting of Workers, to ensure a better monitoring and enforcement of the Directive;
- Public Document for simplifying their acceptance across borders;
- Cultural Objects, for facilitating the return of unlawfully removed cultural goods.
- Continued technical work to improve the functioning and user-friendliness of IMI.
To which areas IMI is expanding?
In 2014, two new policy areas will be integrated:
- notifications required under the Professional Qualifications Directive; and
- train driving licences (pilot project).