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Single Market Scoreboard

Notifications in the field of technical regulations (TRIS) and services (IMI)

Reporting period:

01/2021 – 12/2021

The notification procedures established both by the Single Market Transparency Directive and by the Services Directive are pillars of the single market in ensuring the free movement of goods, the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services within the EU. They facilitate the exchange of information between Member States and the European Commission and serve as a preventive tool in the creation of technical barriers to trade, to the freedom to provide services and to the freedom of establishment.

Notifications under the Single Market Transparency Directive use the Technical Regulation Information System (TRIS) and those of the Services Directive are handled by the Internal Market Information System (IMI). The two systems handle over 1 000 notifications on average per year in an increasingly transparent manner, contributing to the smooth functioning of the single market.

Regulatory barriers (TRIS)

The Single Market Transparency Directive (EU) 2015/1535 serves to prevent regulatory barriers arising in the internal market for products and information society services. EU Member States and other participating countries notify their draft rules in those fields to the Commission. This triggers a 3-month standstill period during which the Commission and the other countries assess the national draft rules in light of EU rules. If they identify a potential barrier to the single market, they can react. Any concerns they identify can then be addressed by the notifying country.

The Commission, the EU Member States and the other participating countries share information on the notification procedure under the Single Market Transparency Directive using the Technical Regulations Information System (TRIS). (more information)

Technical barriers and the single market – why do they matter?

Technical regulations enacted by individual Member States may result in barriers to the free movement of goods and information society services. This prevents the goods and information society services concerned from moving freely among Member States.

Regulatory barriers stemming from technical regulations can thus fragment the EU single market.

The Single Market Transparency Directive – how does it work?

The Single Market Transparency Directive enables the Commission, EU Member

States and other participating countries to react to any potential barriers to the free movement of products and the provision of information society services identified in draft national legislation notified under the Directive. Reactions can take one of the following forms:

  • The Commission, the EU Member States and the other participating countries can issue ‘comments’ to be taken into account by the country that has notified a draft rule or rules, if the notified draft needs to be adjusted.
  • The Commission and EU Member States can also send the notifying Member State a ‘detailed opinion’ if a serious concern is identified. This extends the standstill period and opens a dialogue phase with the notifying country, so the potential barrier identified can be addressed effectively.
  • If an EU proposal in the same area is in the pipeline, the Commission can take a ‘blocking decision’ to postpone the adoption of the national measure.

Key messages

  • The Single Market Transparency Directive has been effectively implemented over a considerable time, with more than 17 201 draft notifications since 1998.
  • In 2021, 969 draft technical regulations were notified to the Commission by EU Member States, EEA countries, Switzerland and Türkiye. Of these, Member States withdrew 37 notifications, which did not require further follow-up.
  • As regards notifications in 2021, the Commission sent 42 detailed opinions, and issued 144 comments.
Member States issued 67 comments and 22 detailed opinions.

Facts and figures

Number of national drafts notified to the Commission


In 2021, 13 countries provided less than 15 notifications each, while the remaining 19 countries provided on average 46 notifications each.

Number of national drafts notified to the Commission, by sector

The sectors with most notifications in 2021 were ‘construction’ and ‘agriculture, fishing and foodstuffs’, with 401 notifications out of a total of 969.

The sectors with the fewest notifications were:

  • Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics
  • Energy, minerals, wood
  • Mechanics
  • Chemicals
  • Domestic and leisure equipment

All scored less than 5% of notifications each.

Number of reactions sent by the Commission to Member States


The number of Commission reactions to the notifications received in 2021 was in line with the previous years’ trends.

Number of reactions by Member States to draft technical regulations notified by another Member State


Most EU Member States play an active role in implementing the Single Market Transparency Directive, so notifications elicit reactions from other countries. With respect to the notifications from 2021, 7 Member States reacted at least 4 times to notifications, either with comments or with detailed opinions.

Number of reactions received by Member States from another Member State


The complementary impact of the Commission and the EU Member States is an asset for the functioning of the Single Market Transparency Directive. With respect to the notifications from 2021, 11 Member States received 5 or more reactions from other Member States.

Contributions received from stakeholders, by notifying Member State


A broad range of stakeholders took part in implementing the Single Market Transparency Directive in 2021, with 576 contributions. A large proportion of these related to notifications from a limited number of countries. Specific notifications from 6 different Member States received over 15 contributions per notification.

TRIS in a nutshell

The Technical Regulations Information System (TRIS) is a public database providing information on each notification procedure, updated daily. TRIS can be accessed free of charge. It enables all stakeholders to submit their comments on specific notified drafts, so their voices can be heard and taken into account. Stakeholders can also subscribe, to receive alerts of drafts notified in a given sector and/or by a given Member State or another participating country.

TRIS is being used more and more:

  • 2 902 630 total page views
  • 2 386 678 notifications views (1 267 630 in 2020)
  • 7 226 mailing list subscribers

In 2021, the top 9 notifications viewed were:

Notification numberSubject of notificationNumber of views
2020/832/FEndocrine disruptors in a product9922
2021/480/FPublic health code for cannabis9051
2017/276/IFood supplements7647
2020/304/DGaming system7132
2021/149/FSale unprocessed fresh fruits and vegetables without packaging6714
2020/410/FRule for sorting waste6619
2020/833/FSubstances in waste-generating products6554
2021/161/HUExport of medicinal products5839
2020/510/DConsumer Goods Ordinance5580

The majority of the most viewed notifications came from larger Member States and concerned issues of general interest to stakeholders.

Freedom of establishment, freedom to provide services (IMI)

Notifications under the Services Directive – what are their purpose?

The purpose of notification procedures is to enhance regulatory transparency and legal certainty for service providers and to foster cooperation between the Commission and national administrations through a transparent exchange of information. The ultimate objective of notifications is to ensure efficient enforcement of the Services Directive and better compliance of new national measures with it, and to prevent the creation of unjustified barriers on the EU single market.

The Services Directive establishes two notification obligations relating to different new requirements that fall under its scope.

  • The notification obligation under Article 15(7) relating to any new requirements listed in Article 15(2) of that Directive, affecting the freedom of establishment
  • The notification obligation under Article 39(5) relating to any new or changes to existing requirements referred to in the third subparagraph of Article 16(1) and in the first sentence of Article 16(3) of that Directive, affecting the freedom to provide services

Requirements on the establishment and on the provision of services – how does the procedure work?

Member States are required to notify the above requirements in a draft or in an adopted stage using the IMI system. The Commission and the Member States may issue comments to the notifying Member State in relation to requirements notified under both Articles 15(7) and/or 39(5) of the Services Directive. These comments may include observations of a general nature or questions and requests for clarification on the notified measure’s compatibility with the Directive.

In addition, under Article 15(7) of the Services Directive, within a period of 3 months from the date of receipt of the notification, the Commission has to examine the compatibility of any new requirements with EU law and, where appropriate, adopt a decision requesting the Member State in question to refrain from adopting them or abolish them.

Facts and figures


Number of notifications in total and breakdown by Member State

  • Since the IMI system’s deployment in 2008 and its extension to the Services Directive in 2014, the Commission has received and handled 1 219 requirements
  • In 2021, Member States notified 84 requirements which required complete assessment
  • Among all Member States, 16 Member States notified at least one requirement in 2021. The most active were Hungary, Sweden, Ireland and Austria
  • 14 Member States did not notify any requirement to the Commission.

Legal basis for notifications under the Services Directive

In 2021, among all notifications received, 26 requirements were notified under Article 15(2) of the Services Directive, 15 were notified according to Article 39(5), and 43 under both legal bases.

Sectoral breakdown of notifications received in 2021

The sectors with most notifications in 2021 were “Construction”, “Other”, “Tourism” and “COVID-19”.

Sectors in which fewer notifications were received were the following:

  • Retail
  • Educational/Cultural
  • Financial services
  • IT/Telecommunication services
  • Environment
  • Regulated professions
  • Sport/Leisure
  • Agriculture
  • Health
  • Transport

Reactions issued to notifications received in 2021

In relation to all notifications received in 2021, the Commission issued 15 comments but did not issue any Commission decision.

Member States issued in total 1 comment on a text notified by another Member State.

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