Why enforcement matters?
The single market is based on commonly agreed rules. But EU rules only deliver benefits if they are correctly applied. Therefore, the Commission and Member States must work together to ensure EU law is correctly implemented and applied – this is called enforcement.
However, national governments, agencies, and regional and local authorities may sometimes misapply these rules when taking decisions in individual cases. They might refuse permission for a company from another EU country to sell its products or do business. They might also require the company to change its labelling. A person may face a problem importing a car bought in another EU country. An EU citizen working in another EU country may encounter problems getting an entry visa for their non-EU spouse. Sometimes, professionals wanting work in another Member State have difficulties getting their qualifications recognised.
Data on the transposition of EU law by Member States and on infringement cases show the state of correct implementation.
To avoid infringement procedures as much as possible, EU Pilot is a mechanism for informal dialogue between the Commission and the Member State concerned on issues of potential non-compliance with EU law.
The Internal Market Information System (IMI) is an IT application that connects national, regional and local authorities across the EU (and the EEA); Authorities can use it to communicate quickly and easily with their counterparts abroad. Quick and easy contacts between Member States authorities and a swift exchange of information are essential for people and businesses to benefit from their single market rights.
Notification procedures 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 Commission and help prevent the creation of technical barriers to trade, the freedom to provide services and the freedom of establishment.
To ripe the full benefits of the single market citizens and businesses need to be well informed about their rights. The Your Europe portal and the Your Europe Advice service offer information and tailor-made advice on individual rights that come from EU law. SOLVIT helps solve problems that individuals or businesses may encounter with a public administration.
Formal and informal cooperation between the Commission and Member States
Administrative cooperation between national authorities
- Internal Market Information System (IMI)
- Notifications in the field of technical regulations (TRIS) and services (IMI)
Assistance services for individuals and businesses
Transposition and infringements:
- Member States have made some further progress in implementing and enforcing the single market rules.
- The average percentage of all single market directives that have not been transposed into national law within the transposition period decreased to 1.1%; the percentage of directives that have not been correctly transposed remained stable, at 1.3%.
- After strongly decreasing in 2021 (-12%), the number of pending single market infringement cases has continued its declining trend (713 cases, -4%). One explanation is the wider use of the early problem-solving mechanism (EU Pilot) requested by the Member States, combined with the impact of the pandemic on the work relating to the application of EU law and on the use of compliance tools such as the dialogue with Member States.
- 2022 pursued the trend of a more frequent use of the EU Pilot dialogue, covering this year in majority topics related to Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, as well as the Taxation and Customs Union.
- Commission departments used the EU Pilot dialogue, among others, as an efficient means to check and clarify transposition issues, to gather additional factual or legal information from Member States or to remind them of notification and reporting obligations.
- With 74% of cases closed without launching an infringement procedure, the resolution rate is lower than the 2021 level (81%).
- The policy areas with the most EU Pilot cases proposed to be followed up by formal infringement procedures are Energy (12 cases), Internal market (9 cases), Environment (7 cases), and Migration and home affairs (7 cases).
Internal Market Information System (IMI)
- More than 485 000 information exchanges have been sent through IMI since its launch in 2008. Use of the system increases steadily year on year.
- In 2022, IMI supported 95 cross-border procedures in 19 legal areas, replacing the need for at least 19 different IT systems.
- As of January 2022 IMI supports 4 new procedures in the areas of (i) enforcement of the posting rules for operators and drivers in the road transport sector (“Mobility Package I”); and (ii) refusals to grant authorizations to acquire or possess firearms.
- The overall performance of the IMI users in 2022 remains similar to 2021. The average percentage of requests accepted within 1 week and partners’ satisfaction with timeliness and efforts increased slightly. The percentage of requests replied within deadline remains similar and in the answering speed decreased marginally.
- 21 countries had an above average aggregated performance for the counted indicators, while 7 were on average and 2 countries were below average. 6 countries were above the defined performance thresholds for all indicators.
Notifications in the field of technical regulations (TRIS) and services (IMI)
- The Single Market Transparency Directive has been effectively implemented over a considerable time, with more than 18 139 draft notifications since 1998.
- In 2022, 924draft 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 these notifications in 2022, the Commission sent 32detailed opinions, and issued 123 comments.
- Member States issued 64 comments and 24 detailed opinions.
- For yet another year, the SOLVIT network has shown its resilience and ability to help businesses, people and public authorities enjoy the benefits of the single market.
- In 2022 SOLVIT reached its 20th anniversary. The Commission also published a report ‘SOLVIT’s helping hand in the single market’, highlighting key developments and SOLVIT’s evolution over these first 20 years.
- SOLVIT further strengthened its expertise in addressing mutual recognition of goods-related problems with 11 new cases opened.
- It also concluded an agreement with the European Labour Authority (“ELA”), that allows national SOLVIT Centres to refer unresolved SOLVIT cases concerning the EU labour mobility rules to ELA for further intervention through mediation.
- Staffing remains crucial for the network to operate to its full potential. As there are always two centres involved in the case handling, lack of resources in one centre also affects other centres with adequate staffing. In 2022, the centres' staffing situation was as follows: urgent action is required in 5 countries, improvement is required in 8 countries, and 17 are adequately resourced for the current caseload.