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EU Pilot

EU Pilot is a mechanism for informal dialogue between the Commission and the Member State concerned on issues relating to potential non compliance with EU law. It is used before a formal infringement procedure.

Find out more about EU Pilot.

EU Pilot and the Single Market – why does it matter?

EU Pilot is used to address potential breaches of EU law – within and beyond Single Market legislation - through close informal cooperation between the Commission and the Member State concerned. The informal dialogue with the Member State may either lead to the resolution of the issue at stake or help the Commission to identify more clearly potential breaches of EU law requiring the launch of an infringement procedure. Information on EU Pilot complements data on infringements as regards investigations launched by the Commission into potential non-compliance with EU law.

Key messages

  • 2020 confirmed the return to a more frequent use of the EU Pilot dialogue. More cases were opened than in 2019 and environment was the policy area with the highest number of new cases (23% of the total).
  • More than half of all cases have been closed without the need to pursue the issue within an infringement procedure.

Priorities

Further improve the effectiveness, efficiency and speed of EU Pilot, in line with the Commission’s enforcement policy and in close cooperation with the Member States.

Facts and Figures

Please mind that the EU Pilot dialogue goes beyond single market legislation. Basic information is provided below, but more relevant information on the EU Pilot dialogue is to be found in the 2020 Annual report on monitoring the application of Union law.

2020 in figures

  • cases opened: 209
  • cases processed: 167
  • cases still open at the end of year*: 514

* including backlog from previous years

Infringement proceedings opened following the closure of EU Pilot cases: 41

Member States with the highest number of new EU Pilot cases:

  • Poland: 13
  • Spain: 12
  • Italy and France: 11 (each)

Main policy areas of the 209 new cases:

  • environment: (49 cases) — water management / waste management / nature protection / impact assessment
  • mobility and transport:  (43 cases) — passenger’s rights / aviation safety / road safety / maritime transport and logistics / sustainable and intelligent transport / ports and inland navigation
  • energy: (34 cases) — nuclear safety / energy efficiency / hydrocarbons
  • taxation and customs union: (23 cases) — indirect taxation / direct taxation / customs

These policy areas account for 71% of all new EU Pilot cases.

EU Pilot cases opened in 2020: main policy areas

 

More information

Note: In line with the Communication “EU law: Better results through better application” (C/2016/8600), the Commission uses the EU Pilot mechanism whenever considered useful in a given case. It is not a mandatory step preceding each infringement procedure, but can be used whenever the issue is likely to be resolved through an informal dialogue. Acting on its own initiative or in response to a complaint, the Commission may also need to gather information as to whether EU law is being complied with.

The Commission and Member States share information on particular cases using the EU Pilot online database and communication tool.

In general:

  1. the Commission sends a query to the Member State concerned, which as a rule has 10 weeks to reply;
  2. the Commission then has, as a rule, 10 weeks to assess the Member State’s response; and
  3. if the response is unsatisfactory, the Commission may start an infringement procedure.
  4. Additional exchanges might occur, aiming to finalise the informal dialogue within a 9-month period.
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