Member States’ compliance with EU law in 2018: efforts are paying off, but improvements still needed

EU flag 19

(Markus Spiske, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today’s Annual report on Monitoring the Application of EU law sets out how the Commission monitored and enforced EU law in 2018. The online Single Market Scoreboard, also published today, evaluates the performance of EU/EEA countries in the EU single market and identifies the shortcomings where the countries and the Commission should step up their efforts.

Citizens and businesses can only enjoy the many benefits of the single market if the rules that have been jointly agreed actually work on the ground. In November 2018, the Commission presented a fresh assessment of remaining barriers in the single market and called on Member States to be vigilant in implementing, applying and enforcing EU rules and refrain from putting up new barriers. For instance, from car emissions to e-commerce, from social media to the services sector, and much more besides.

The Commission continues to ensure that EU rules are properly applied and enforced. For instance, in 2018, the Commission acted firmly in enforcing rules in a number of policy areas. The Commission supported national and regional authorities in implementing clear air and clean water rules. It also took action against Member States who failed to live up to their commitments and implement EU rules on Passenger Name Records, on combating terrorism and on anti-money laundering. In addition, the Commission used enforcement powers when some EU countries did not move fast enough to improve access for people with disabilities to websites and other mobile applications.

Annual report on monitoring the application of EU law in 2018

The Annual Reportfor 2018 shows a small increase (by 0.8%) of open infringement cases (1571) compared to 1559 cases in 2017. Thus after reaching a five-year peak in 2016, the number of cases started to level off by 5% in 2018 since 2016 (see Chart 1). Amongst others, the main policy areas concerned were on matters of environment, mobility and transport as well as internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs. Each failure to correctly apply EU law denies citizens and businesses the rights and the benefits they enjoy under EU law. In the area of environment, for example, the Commission continued measures to ensure full compliance with the Air Quality Directive as regards PM10 and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limit values, as well as monitoring systems across the EU.

Chart 2 (see Annex) provides an overview of the situation for each Member State. Concerning late transposition cases, Cyprus, Belgium, and Spain had the highest amount of open cases, whereas the fewest were open in EstoniaDenmark and ItalySpain, Italy, and Germany had the highest number of cases pending for incorrect transposition and/or wrong application of EU law, while Estonia had the lowest total number of open cases last yearThe policy areas in which most new infringement cases were opened in 2018 were EU Internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs as well as mobility and transport (see Chart 3).

Combating late transposition of EU Directives

For citizens and businesses to reap the benefits of EU law, it is crucial that Member States transpose European directives into their national legal order within the deadlines.

In 2018, the number of new infringement procedures relating to late transposition decreased sharply by one fourth (from 558 cases in 2017 to 419 in 2018). However, the highest number of new late transposition cases during the Juncker Commission was in 2016 (847 cases). The Commission launched new infringement procedures against a majority of Member States for failing to transpose EU personal data protection rules (Directive 2016/680/EU) into national law on time, as agreed by Member States themselves beforehand. To facilitate timely and correct transposition, the Commission continued to assist Member States by preparing implementation plans, dedicated websites and guidance documents, and by exchanging best practices in expert group meetings.

Last year, the Commission referred 5 Member States to the Court of Justice of the EU requesting financial penalties be applied: Slovenia (3 cases: C-628/18C-69/18 and C-188/18), Spain (3 cases: C-430/18C-165/18 and C-164/18), and Belgium (C-676/18), Ireland (C-550/18) and Romania (C-549/18) (1 case each).

Single Market Scoreboard 2019

The Single Market Scoreboard provides a detailed overview of how EU single market rules were applied in the European Economic Area (EEA) in 2018; how open and integrated certain markets are; and how much Member States contributed to a number of EU tools to make the single market function better.

Depending on their performance in 2018, Member States were given 153 green137 yellow and 59 red cards indicating excellent (green), average (yellow) or below average (red) performance.

The overview (see Chart 4 in Annex) shows that, despite further expansion of trade in goods and services, the situation has worsened in certain policy areas since 2017. Member States improved the functioning of some Single Market tools, such as the Your Europe portal and the Internal Market Information System (IMI). However, countries received more red cards on a number of policy areas than last year. For instance, on the fairness of public procurement systems and the recognition of professional qualifications. The same happened with regard to the cooperation in EU pilots.

In general, the best performing countries were Portugal, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and Lithuania, while the most red and yellow cards were given to Spain, Italy, Greece and Luxembourg.

The Commission reacts to citizens’ complaints

Citizens, businesses, NGOs and other stakeholders can report suspected breaches of EU law through an online complaint form accessible via the Europa “Your rights portalIn 2018, the majority of new complaints concerned justice and consumer rights; EU internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs; as well as employment and social affairs matters. Thanks to the SOLVIT portal, an informal problem-solving network of the Commission and the Member States, citizens and businesses can seek a solution to their problems with a public authority in another EU country.

Background

Since 1984, following a request made by the European Parliament, the Commission presents an Annual report on monitoring the application of EU law during the preceding year. The European Parliament then adopts a resolution on the Commission’s report.

As a matter of priority, the Commission targets problems where its enforcement action can make a real difference and benefit individuals and businesses. In the division of responsibilities between the European institutions, the European Commission has the general responsibility of initiating the legislative process. The Council and the European Parliament decide on the Commission’s proposals. The Member States are responsible for the timely and correct application, implementation and enforcement of EU law in the national legal order. The Commission closes this circle: once proposals are adopted and become EU law, it monitors whether the Member States are applying this law correctly and takes action if they are not. The Commission should therefore act firmly and quickly when infringements obstruct the achievement of EU policy objectives. In this vein, the Commission recently set out its more strategic approach to enforcement in terms of handling infringements, in line with its commitment to be ‘bigger and more ambitious on big things, and smaller and more modest on small things’.

The annual Single Market Scoreboard evaluates how Member States:

–   implement EU rules;

–   create open and integrated markets (e.g. public procurement, trade in goods and services);

–   handle administrative issues concerning foreign workers (e.g. professional qualifications);

–   cooperate and contribute to a number of EU-wide governance tools (e.g. Your Europe portal, Solvit, and EURES)

The Single Market Scoreboard evaluates performance in four policy areas, two areas regarding market openness and integration, and 13 governance tools.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Record-breaking heatwaves killed about 1,500 people in France

EU and US close to an agreement on data sharing amid European citizens’ concerns

Technology companies have power. They must assume responsibility

‘Disaster resilient’ farming reduces agriculture risks, yields economic gains, says new UN agriculture agency report

Will Cameron succeed in keeping UK inside the EU and reverse the present economic downturn?

Without tackling ‘gross inequalities’ major issues will go unsolved, warns UN rights chief Bachelet

Our Amazon is disappearing in ashes

The “Legend of the Sun” wishes you Happy Chinese New Year 2015 from Brussels

Health Systems and Society: ways to reinforce the human power during the pandemic

Italian elections: a long political limbo is ahead

Eurozone: Subdued inflation can lead to more recession

How can education empower youth to become tomorrow’s leaders

‘Millions facing starvation’ – Global political and business leaders on the economic impact of COVID-19

Women’s rights in Asia – how far have we come?

European Commission and International Monetary Fund strengthen cooperation to support sustainable development

Negotiations on Investment Facilitation at the WTO gain support at Davos

China-EU Relations: Broader, Higher and Stronger

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: hate speech, dementia, Libya and Yemen, human rights in Brazil and Lebanon

‘The best-selling brand today is fear’: UN chief highlights urgent need to address global ‘deficit of trust’

Whale populations are slowly recovering – this is why

Schengen is losing ground fast revealing Europe’s clear inability to deal with migration crisis

EU-China trade: closer ties as US-China trade battle brews

UN chief urges ‘active, substantive and meaningful participation’ on International Day of Democracy

Eurozone guarantees all banks with…taxpayers’ money

Towards the Rise of the United States of the Atlantic?

Universal Health Care: can it exist only in utopic society?

Three myths keeping government procurement stuck in the past

Vital food crops destroyed in Syria amid upsurge in fighting across Idlib, Hama

In Bangladesh, COVID-19 threatens to cause a humanitarian crisis

Human rights breaches in Iran, Egypt and Tanzania

What is digital equality? An interview with Nanjira Sambuli

Spanish vote – bad luck for Greece: Does Iphigenia need to be sacrificed for favourable winds to blow in Eurozone?

Bank resolutions to remain a politically influenced affair

A quarter of Pacific islanders live below ‘basic needs poverty lines’, top UN development forum hears

How the future of computing can make or break the AI revolution

Parliament makes EU electricity market cleaner and more consumer-friendly

European Court rules that ECB’s OMT program of 2012 is OK; not a word from Germany about returning the Greek 2010 courtesy

Venezuela: European Parliament calls for additional sanctions

Green Deal: measures to step up the fight against global deforestation

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over INWIT by Telecom Italia and Vodafone, subject to conditions

Data Protection Regulation one year on: 73% of Europeans have heard of at least one of their rights

The EU slowly exits from “Excessive Deficit Procedure” and hopefully from ‘Excessive Austerity Procedure’ too

Libya: ‘Substantial civilian casualties’ in Derna, UN humanitarian chief ‘deeply concerned’

State aid: France to recover €8.5 million of illegal aid to Ryanair at Montpellier airport

US, Russia oblige each other in Syria and Ukraine selling off allies

‘Once lost, hearing doesn’t come back,’ World Health Organization warns on World Hearing Day

Why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

Coronavirus in Brazil: mental health in tragedy

Turn toxic e-waste into a source of ‘decent work’, UN labour agency urges

LIFE Programme: Member States to benefit from quarter of a billion euros of investments in environment, nature and climate action

The vehicles of our future

State aid: Commission approves €840 million German guarantee scheme to protect consumers and support the travel industry in the context of the coronavirus outbreak

Eight years in, Syria still embroiled in conflict ‘that no longer sparks outrage’, Security Council hears

MEPs push for high ambitions at the COP25 in Madrid

These clothes were designed by artificial intelligence

Germany readies to pay for the Brexit gap in EU finance

Parliament boosts consumer rights online and offline

Media Advisory : Coronavirus COVID-19 – measures introduced by the European Parliament

Brazil’s hopeless future of science

How AI is bringing the ‘dark matter of nutrition’ to light, unlocking the power of plants

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s