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SOLVIT

Reporting period: 01/2018 – 12/2018

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About

SOLVIT is a service provided by the national administrations. There is a SOLVIT centre in each EU country and in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. They work together via an online database.

SOLVIT helps people and businesses who encounter difficulties in another country when public authorities do not apply EU legislation correctly.

It is a faster, informal alternative to filing a court case, submitting a formal complaint to the Commission or putting forward a petition.

Performance

1. By indicator

* Countries with under 10 cases

[1] Home centre sending an initial reply within the 7-day target in: ≥ 75% of cases 55–75% of cases < 55% of cases
[2] Home centre submitting case to lead centre within 30-day target in: ≥ 75% of cases 55–75% of cases < 55% of cases
[3] Home centre accepting a proposed solution within 7-day target in: ≥ 75% of cases 55–75% of cases < 55% of cases
[4] Lead centre accepting a case within 7-day target in: ≥ 75% of cases 55–75% of cases < 55% of cases
[5] Lead centre handling a case within 10-week target in: ≥ 75% of cases 55–75% of cases < 55% of cases
[6] Lead centre resolution rate: ≥ 90% 70–90% < 70%

2. Overall
(all 4 indicators combined)

A country’s overall performance is calculated by assigning the following values to each of its 4 indicators:

Definitive colours are assigned based on the sum of these scores:

* countries with less than 10 cases

Iceland and Liechtenstein were not assessed as Liechtensteinno had no cases and Iceland only one.

How does SOLVIT work?

People and businesses who encounter a problem exercising their rights seek help at their home centre (usually in their home country).

The home centre prepares the case and sends it to the SOLVIT centre in the country where the problem occurred (the lead centre), which deals with the authority in question.

Indicator [1]: Home centre – first response time

This indicator measures the time taken to establish initial contact with the applicant. The target deadline is 7 days maximum.

Comments

Initial contact with applicants needs to be made promptly. This allows time to explain SOLVIT's role to applicants and for any possible issues to be checked. Additional action is still required from France, Germany and Finland.

Indicator [2]: Home centre – preparation time

This indicator measures the time taken to prepare cases for transfer to the lead centre. The target deadline is 30 days maximum. On average SOLVIT centres took 15 days to prepare a case in 2018 compared to 13 days in 2017.

Comments

Preparation time is satisfactory. Additional action is still required from Poland, Czechia and Romania.

Indicator [3]: Home centre – time to accept a solution

This indicator measures the time taken for the home centre to accept a solution from the lead centre. The target deadline is 7 days maximum. This indicator is being used for the first time this year.

Comments

The performance of the SOLVIT centres is satisfactory. Centres in Greece, Poland and Italy need to improve.

Indicator [4]: Lead centre - time to accept a case

This indicator measures the time taken for the lead centre to accept a prepared case from the home centre for handling. The target deadline is 7 days maximum. This indicator is being used for the first time this year.

Comments

The performance of the SOLVIT centres is satisfactory. Centres in France, Finland, the Netherlands and Italy need to improve.

Indicator [5]: Lead centre – resolution time

This indicator measures the time a lead centre takes to handle a case. The target deadline is 10 weeks maximum. Cases related to more general difficulties in the single market detected by SOLVIT (see separate chapter) are excluded from the calculation as they are handled in a different manner.

Comments

Average number of days taken: 82 (63 previously). Centres in Greece, Finland, Luxembourg, Spain, Czechia, Poland, France and Austria should take steps to deal with cases more quickly. A major reason for cases taking longer to handle is the lack of sufficient and stable resources, at a time when demands are increasing.

Over 10 weeks: 37% of cases (29% previously).

Over 20 weeks (twice the target time): 18% of cases (11% previously).

Although 71% of the cases that took longer than 20 weeks were ultimately solved (63% previously), this figure is not acceptable – a key aim of SOLVIT is to provide help promptly.

Factors affecting resolution speed:

Indicator [6]: Resolution rate by country

This indicator measures the percentage of cases solved. The aim is to solve all cases submitted. Cases related to more general difficulties in the single market, which were detected by SOLVIT (see below) are excluded from the calculation (see separate chapter).

Comments

In 2018, the resolution rate was 90% (87% in 2017).

Countries below 70%: Finland and Luxembourg.

In these countries, the low resolution rate is not significant as they have a very small number of cases (Finland 4 and Luxembourg 8).

Achievements

  • In 2018 SOLVIT helped more than 4,800 people by resolving their problems, clarifying the issue(s) or directing them towards another service.

Facts and Figures

Overall caseload

In 2018 SOLVIT also received an additional 2,600 complaints that were not within its remit (the figure for 2017 was 2 100). The proportion of these cases out of SOLVIT's overall remit was 52% in 2018 compared to 50% in 2017 and 52% in 2016. In these cases, SOLVIT helped complainants by explaining their EU rights in more detail or by finding another means of redress.

Distribution of cases: Home centres and lead centres

Net recipients of cases: Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Austria, and Malta

Net submitters of cases: Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Czechia, Netherlands, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Spain, UK, Croatia, Slovenia, Latvia and Finland

Cases submitted by country over the last 3 years

Biggest submitters: Bulgaria, Hungary, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Romania, Poland and Italy

Comments

There was a sharp decrease in the number of cases submitted by SOLVIT HU and SOLVIT PL. This was due to reductions in the delays on decisions on family benefits in Germany after this issue had been highlighted by SOLVIT in recent years.

Cases received by country over the last 3 years

Biggest receivers: As in 2017, most cases were sent to Germany, France, UK, Italy, Ireland and Spain

Problem areas

Social security-related cases made up 59% of all cases in 2018 (62% in 2016 and 54% in 2017).

Comments

Business cases v. citizens cases

The proportion of citizen to business cases in SOLVIT remains high. In 2018, SOLVIT received 115 business cases, 39 more than 2017. The highest increase was in Sweden (+7) and Belgium (+6).

Business cases – by country

Biggest contributors to business cases: Sweden, UK, Germany, Belgium and France.

Comments:

Cases linked to more general difficulties in the single market* – by area of legislation

* Cases linked to more general difficulties in the single market are usually highly complex. They often entail amendments to national laws, so resolving them usually takes longer than the SOLVIT 10-week deadline.

Cases linked to more general difficulties in the single market by problem area and by Member State

Belgium Bulgaria Czechia Germany Spain France Greece Croatia Hungary Ireland Italy Luxembourg Malta Poland Portugal Romania Sweden Slovenia United Kingdom Total
Free movement of persons and right to reside 1 3 3 5 28 1 1 23 3 2 70
Social security 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 15
Vehicles and driving licences 4 1 1 1 1 8
Recognition of professional qualifications 4 3 7
Free movement for services 1 2 1 2 6
Free movement of goods 2 1 1 1 5
Access to education 1 1 1 3
Free movement of workers 1 2 3
Taxation and customs 1 1 2
Others 1 1
Free movement of capitals and financial services 1 1
Total 7 5 2 9 8 2 3 1 1 33 1 2 1 1 5 1 30 3 6 121

Handling times:

Examples of difficulties relating to the single market in SOLVIT (as reported in the SOLVIT database):

EU citizens trying to get their professional qualifications recognised in another country met with:
Cross border goods and services providers expereinced the following:
Problems with taxation:
EU citizens faced the following social security issues when moving cross border:
Problems with entry and residence rights:
Issues of discrimination

Staffing level in SOLVIT centres

The chart below shows current staffing levels (i.e. staff time spent on SOLVIT work) in relation to caseload.

The number of staff (FTEs or full-time equivalents) should be determined by the caseload of the SOLVIT centres:

Red symbol: low staff numbers
Green symbol: minimum staff numbers/time spent on SOLVIT work

Issues
  1. Demands for handling cases are rising – but staff numbers are static or even decreasing. In many cases, staff may be unable to cope with any further caseload increases. Some centres also seem to experience difficulties with communicating promptly (replying to e-mails, telephone calls, etc.).
  2. High turnover in some centres makes business continuity and efficient case handling more difficult.
  3. Many SOLVIT centres often have to give priority to other tasks for their national administrations, leaving insufficient time for SOLVIT duties.

Priorities

Governments:

  • Make sure SOLVIT centres are adequately staffed
  • Enable them to SOLVIT work
  • Ensure the continuity and expertise of staff
  • Ensure that national SOLVIT centres have sufficient authority within their national administration
  • Follow up of more general difficulties in the single market detected through SOLVIT

SOLVIT centres:

Commission:

Examples of problems solved

SOLVIT helped to remove the following barriers to the free movement of people, goods and services in the EU: