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Single Market Scoreboard


Reporting period:

12/2022 – 11/2023

This page provides statistics on Single Market infringement proceedings that were open on 1 December 2023. All comparisons are with the figures for the last reporting date, 1 December 2022. The statistics do not include cases of late transposition (known as “non-communication cases”), except in the pie chart titled “Types of cases”. This is to avoid such cases being counted twice, as they are already covered in the Transposition enforcement tool.

To make the Single Market work for all, common EU rules are in place, facilitating the free movement of people, goods, services and capital. These rules can only deliver their intended results if they are properly implemented and enforced throughout the EU.

It is a shared responsibility of the Member States and the Commission to ensure that Single Market rules are complied with and that people’s rights are enforced. Member States are required to comply with EU rules they have agreed to as co-legislators. They have to detect and remedy violations of Single Market rules in their own country. The Commission, under Article 17(1) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), is obliged to ensure that all Member States implement and comply with Single Market rules. The Commission can take legal action, by initiating an infringement procedure in line with Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), against any EU Member State that fails to implement EU law. The Commission may refer the issue to the Court of Justice of the European Union (the Court), which can impose financial penalties in certain cases.

Monitoring infringements helps to make the Single Market work better. It highlights the efforts that Member States are making to ensure that Single Market law is implemented properly and encourages them to improve their performance.

Infringements and the Single Market – why does it matter?

Incorrect transposition, implementation and application of EU rules create barriers to the smooth functioning of the Single Market. This harms the EU economy and undermines the confidence people and businesses have in the Single Market and the EU in general.

The March 2020 Long-term action plan for better implementation and enforcement of Single Market rules aimed to make the EU’s compliance and enforcement policy as effective and efficient as possible. Committed to increasing their joint efforts to achieve this, Member States and the Commission devised 22 specific measures. These range from increasing the knowledge and awareness of Single Market rules and making the best use of preventive mechanisms, to strengthening enforcement on the ground and improving the handling of infringements.

As a follow-up to the long-term action plan, the Single Market Enforcement Task Force (SMET) was set up in 2020, to offer a high-level forum where Member States and the Commission collaboratively commit to devising and implementing solutions to Single Market obstacles rooted in enforcement or implementation deficiencies. In 2023, the SMET continued to work intensively to tackle some pressing barriers that hamper the proper functioning of the Single Market.

In October 2022, the Commission adopted the Communication Enforcing EU law for a Europe that delivers that stressed that enforcing EU law is and will remain one of the Commission’s core priorities. However, it underlined that a steady and sustained collaboration between Member States and the Commission is required to ensure EU rules are applied consistently and effectively and prevent potential problems. Since 2017, in line with the strategic approach established by the Communication EU Law: Better results through better application,  the Commission has increasingly focused its efforts on issues where its interventions can maximise added value and make a difference in the lives and activities of as many people and busnesses as possible.

Applying EU rules consistently and effectivly requires steady and sustained efforts by Member States and the Commission. To ensure that the right enforcement tools are available and used to make EU law work in practice, a stocktaking exercise was carried out. The objective was to find constructive solutions to systemic shortcomings, in particular in complaints handling, and systemic delays in transposing directives. The excercise also sought to improve how certain types of infringement cases are handled. Published in July 2023, the stocktaking report included recommendations on six strands of work: 

  • delivering the strategic approach 
  • handling infringements efficiently and revamping performance management 
  • facilitating the treatment of complaints 
  • making the monitoring of regulations more systematic 
  • increasing support to Member States 
  • boosting transparency. 

The Commission is currently is working on the implementation of recommendation set out in the stocktaking report.

On 31 January 2023, the Commission published  the third edition of the Annual Single Market Report, which marked the 30th anniversary of the EU’s Single Market. The report took stock of the integration of the Single Market and analysed how it helps the EU face current challenges, such as increasing geopolitical tensions, global competition, climate change and strategic dependency risks. On infringements, the Commission reported on its more strategic and targeted approach to enforcement. This approach focuses on targeted infringements packages to ensure that the Single Market rules are properly implemented and applied at national level for maximum impact. The Commission also took corrective action to address non-transposition or incorrect transposition of EU law so that businesses and individuals in EU Member States can benefit from a more integrated Single Market.

On 16 March 2023, the Commission published the Communication The Single Market at 30. This highlighted, that strengthened collaboration between Member States and the Commission plays an important role as do exchanges of information and, views (especially in the Competitiveness Council). They help effectivly implement Single Market rules, prevent breaches of EU law from the outset and avoid infringements of EU law (see “More informationfor further information on those publications linked to The Single Market at 30).

Key messages

  • 5 Member States have improved on their December 2022 overall performance (Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania) but the situation has deteriorated for 8 Member States (Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, France, Croatia, Italy, Latvia and Lithuania). All other Member States have matched their previous performance. Overall, the situation has slightly improved, in comparison to last year. 21 Member States had an average or above-average performance (up from 19).
  • After steadily increasing for 3 years (2017-2020) and strongly decreasing in 2021 and 2022 (-15%), the number of pending Single Market infringement cases has continued its declining trend (although more moderately). There was a total number of 699 cases, 14 less than last year (-2%). The wider use of the early problem-solving mechanism (EU Pilot) has stabilised and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on activities related to the application of EU law are now marginal.
  • With 44 Single Market infringement cases, Spain is joined by Greece to be the only Member States with the most pending cases. They are followed by Italy (43), Hungary (41) and Germany (39)). Bulgaria is no longer in the top 5, after being passed by Hungary. At the other end of the ranking, Latvia and Luxembourg have joined Estonia in the small group of Member States that have 10 cases or less.
  • The sectors with the most Single Market-related infringement cases are the environment (30%), transport (19%), services and professions (12%) and energy (10%).
  • After a 13% decrease between December 2017 and December 2019, the average case duration is now 49 months. This is up 2% from 47.9 months a year ago, and up 41% compared to December 2019. In comparison to the previous reporting period, 45% more new cases have been launched (138, up from 95) but several very old cases weigh a lot on the average duration.
  • As highlighted in the March 2023 Communication The Single Market at 30there is no one-size-fits-all approach to ensure the Single Market rules reach their full potential. However, in all cases, a strong culture of compliance and the spirit of partnership are needed to successfully manage the Single Market. The Commission remains committed to keep working with all Member States to support and promote an ambitious implementation of Single Market rules. In parallel, it will continue to pursue a rigorous enforcement policy to ensure that jointly agreed EU rules are correctly applied by all Member States.

Overall performance

Map legend

A Member State’s performance across all indicators relating to infringements is calculated by scoring each of the 4 indicators in the Performance indicators table below as follows:
RED = -1, YELLOW = 0 and GREEN = +1.

The colours on the map represent the sum of these scores:

  • green: 2 or higher = above average
  • yellow: -1, 0 or 1 = average
  • red: -2 or lower = below average

Performance indicators

[1] Number of pending infringement proceedings & [3] Duration of infringement proceedings (in months)< average 10%average ±10%> average +10%
[2] Change over the last 12 months (change in the number of infringement cases)decreaseno changeincrease
[4] Duration since Court’s ruling (in months)≤ 8 months> 8 ≤18 months> 18 months

This table combines the most relevant indicators to provide a better overview of Member States’ compliance with the requirement to implement and apply Single Market rules. The table shows that only 1 Member State (Malta) performs better than the EU average when all indicators are taken into account. Last year 6 Member States were in this favourable situation.

Indicator [1]: Number of pending infringement proceedings

Note: This indicator shows the number of open Single Market-related infringement cases for every Member State and the EU average. It may not provide the full picture of the degree of compliance with Single Market rules. This is because the number of infringements depends on several factors, including the size of the market in individual Member States.

Pending Single Market infringement proceedings on 1 December 2023. The spark line of the chart shows the development of pending infringement proceedings since December 2020. The bar shows the value in December 2023. The EU average is 26.

Total number of cases: 699 (down from 713 in December 2022)

Average number of cases per Member State: 26 (same)

Member States where the number of cases has risen: 8 (down from 9)

Member States where the number of cases has fallen: 15 (down from 17)

Member States with no change: 4 (up from 1)

Indicator [2]: Change over the last 12 months

Change in the number of pending Single Market infringement proceedings since December 2023

The number of Single Market infringement cases decreased further in more than half of the Member States (15 out of 27).

Indicator [3]: Duration of infringement proceedings

Pending Single Market infringement cases not yet sent to the Court (i.e. at the pre-litigation stage) on 1 December 2023 (611 cases). Average duration is calculated in months from when the letter of formal notice is sent.

No Member State has a case duration below the 36-month indicative target.

Indicator [4]: Time taken to comply with a Court ruling

Single Market infringement cases closed between 1 December 2018 and 30 November 2023 where the Court has ruled against a Member State (80 cases). This graph shows the average time (in months) between the delivery of the Court’s judgment and the closure of the case confirming that the Member State has complied with the judgment (“compliance time”).

Only 3 Member States have an average compliance time below the 18-month indicative target.

EEA EFTA countries

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are also subject to Single Market rules under the EEA Agreement. They are monitored by the EFTA Surveillance Authority.

However, there is a time lag between the adoption or repeal of a legal act in the EU and its addition to or removal from the EEA Agreement. The body of EU law applicable in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway may thus differ from that applicable in the EU. This should be borne in mind when comparing the Single Market Scoreboard and the EEA Scoreboard.

Number of pending cases

Single Market infringement cases pending on 1 December 2023 arising from the incorrect transposition or application of Single Market rules. EEA EFTA average is 15.

Total Single Market infringement cases open: 95 (down from 130 in December 2022), of which:

  • incorrect transposition/application: 46 (see figure above) = 48% of all open infringement cases (Iceland 24, Norway 19 and Liechtenstein 3)
  • late transposition (directives): 15 (Iceland 10, Norway 5 and Liechtenstein 0) = 16%
  • late implementation* (regulations): 34 (Iceland 30 and Norway 4) = 36%

* Under Article 7 of the EEA Agreement, regulations incorporated into the Agreement ”shall as such be made part of the internal legal order” of the EEA EFTA countries. In Liechtenstein, however, regulations are directly applicable and do not have to be implemented.

Trends in the EU

Changes in the number of infringement cases

  • The current report shows a further, although moderate, decrease in the number of Single Market infringement cases (-2% within the last year). The decrease in the last 3 years is still 16.5%.
  • The trends in numbers of infringement cases may be correlated to the trends in the use of EU Pilot, the structured problem-solving dialogue between the Commission and Member States, over time.
  • EU Pilot roughly halved the number of cases between its launch in April 2008 and December 2016. In 2016, due to the excessive length of the process, the Commission decided to launch infringement procedures without systematically relying on EU Pilot mechanism (see Communication EU Law: Better results through better application). At EU level, the number of new EU Pilot cases dropped dramatically, from 790 cases in 2016 to only 178 in 2017 (-77%). This resulted in a sharp rise in the number of formal infringement cases. 
  • Member States then requested the EU Pilot tool to be used more, which was supported by the Commission under certain conditions. This wider use of EU Pilot seemed to yield good results and contributed to the number of infringement cases clearly flattening out (190 new cases in 2019 against 279 in 2022).
  • 208 new cases were submitted to Member States between 1 January and 30 November. The strong upward trend in the number of EU Pilot cases seems to be slowing, similar to the sharp drop in the number of infringements since 2020.
  • In October 2022, the Commission Communication Enforcing EU law for a Europe that delivers confirmed the role of the EU Pilot mechanism in the early detection and resolution of breaches of EU law. However, it stressed that the tool should only be used where it is likely to lead to faster compliance than a formal infringement procedure.

Evolution of infringement cases broken down by Member State and EEA EFTA country

Facts and figures

Cases by sector

This table shows the total number of Single Market infringement cases for each Member State on 1 December 2023, broken down by sector. Sectors with fewer of these cases are included in “Other sectors”. The highlighted figures show the sector(s) with the most of such cases in each Member State (where relevant, 10% or more of the total number of pending cases).

(#) = Total number of Single Market infringement cases by sector

Member State
Air transport (64)
Atmospheric pollution (68)
Chemical substances, industrial
and biotechnological hazards (15)
Direct taxation (24)
Employment, social affairs and
inclusion (43)
Energy (40)
Environmental impact (19)
Financial services (32)
Justice incl. non discrimination
and data protection (11)
Late payment (11)
Nuclear safety and radioactive
waste (28)
Public procurement (21)
Road and rail transport (31)
Services and professions –
compliance issues (57)
Services and professions –
sectoral issues (26)
Transport safety (30)
Waste management (36)
Water protection and
management (60)
Other sectors – less than
10 cases (83)
TOTAL (699)
Greece43  22  1411133257544
Spain23 541 2 112151428244
Italy341 61 21312211137443
Hungary331123122 1332  121141
Germany331532111 115411  639
Bulgaria241 12 21 12132243536
Romania15  16 4  11 2  44332
Belgium21 42111212  433 1331
France2411212   1 323 13531
Poland262 131   11 22112631
Slovakia331 112311   4 233331
Czechia341 12111 1 13 221529
Portugal34 11111 111 11113325
Austria241 1113  1131 11 324
Ireland23  312   1 121  4323
Cyprus31  21 1  1  32233123
Netherlands3  312 1  1232 2  323
Slovenia311 11  1 12212 22323
Croatia231 141   1  31121122
Sweden22 3  13  11 1 1 2219
Denmark211 111   2 31 2  116
Lithuania31  111   2 21   1215
Malta3   1        23  2213
Finland211 1112   1 1     11
Estonia211 1 1   1  1 11  10
Latvia 1  1  2  2  1 1 1110
Luxembourg22 111 1  1  1     10

Main findings

Sectors with the most Single Market infringement cases

  • Environment – 30% of all cases (especially atmospheric pollution, water protection and management, and waste management)
  • Transport – 19% (especially air transport, road and rail transport, and transport safety)
  • Services and professions – 12%
  • Energy – 10% (especially nuclear safety and radioactive waste, and energy security and safety)

Problematic sectors by Member State

  • Environment – Estonia, Ireland, France and Romania (more than 40% of all cases), Poland and Slovakia (39%), Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia and Portugal (36%), Italy (35%)
  • Transport – Denmark (44% of all cases), the Netherlands (35%), Lithuania (33%), Malta (31%) and Estonia (30%)
  • Services and professions – Malta (38% of all cases) and Cyprus (22%)
  • Energy – Croatia (23% of all cases) and Romania (22%)

Average duration by sector

Pending Single Market infringement cases not yet sent to the Court (i.e. still in the pre-litigation phase) on 1 December 2023 (611 cases), broken down by sectors with at least 15 cases. Average duration is calculated in months from when the letter of formal notice was sent.
(#) = number of cases in the sector

The duration of air transport cases is inflated by factors outside the control of either the national authorities or the Commission. However, following the entry into force, of the EU-U.S. Air Transport Agreement on 29 June 2020, 20 long-standing infringement cases were closed in 2021. Since it has not been possible to make any progress on functional air blocks (19 cases) or on the bilateral agreements with Russia (26 cases), it was decided not to include the sector in the below figure.


The EU average duration of pending infringement cases not yet sent to the Court is 49.0 months.

Main findings

Longest average duration (in months)

  1. Direct taxation (49.9 months, down from 60.6) – first position in 2022
  2. Water protection and management (49 months, up from 46.9) – fourth position in 2022
  3. Services and professions – compliance issues (47.8 months, up from 36.9) – ninth position in 2022
  4. Financial services (45.7 months, up from 40.1) – eight position in 2022
  5. Atmospheric pollution (45.6 months, down from 52.4) – third position in 2022
  6. Nuclear safety and radioactive waste (45 months, up from 44.1) – fifth position in 2022

The comment under “Indicator [3] – Duration of infringement proceedings” above on the increase in case duration by Member State is also relevant to case duration by sector. When a substantial number of quite recent cases are resolved (or if few new cases are launched), the remaining older cases have a bigger impact on the calculation of the average duration. This is for example, the case for “services and professions – compliance issues”, which accounted for 81 cases last year and 55 this year.

Types of cases

Number of pending infringement cases open for late or incorrect transposition of Single Market directives, plus the number of cases open for incorrect application of rules – situation on 1 December 2023 (1227 cases).

  • 64% of cases concern late or incorrect transposition of Single Market directives (down from 73% in December 2022)
  • 85% of cases concern Single Market directives (down from 89%), and 15% concern the wrong application of Single Market-related Treaty articles, regulations and decisions (up from 11%)

More information

Single Market legislation includes acts and Treaty provisions considered to have an impact on the functioning of the Single Market, as defined in Article 26(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This legislation covers the four freedoms (freedom of movement of people, goods, services and capital across borders within the EU), and supporting policies with a direct impact on the Single Market, such as taxation, employment, culture, social policy, education, public health, energy, consumer protection, transport, environment (except nature protection), and the information society and media.

This page does not include cases of late transposition (known as “non-communication cases”) – except in the pie chart titled “Types of cases”. This is to avoid such cases being counted twice, as they are already covered in the “Transposition” governance tool.

The Commission always initiates infringement proceedings if a Member State has not transposed an EU directive correctly or on time. It may also initiate proceedings if it considers that a Member State is applying Single Market rules incorrectly. Infringement proceedings start when the Commission sends a letter of formal notice to the Member State concerned. However, only the Court can rule definitively that a breach of EU law has occurred.

The Annual Single Market Report was first published in 2021. The third report was published by the Commission on 31 January 2023, complementing the publication of the 2023 Single Market Scoreboard. It marked the 30th anniversary of the EU’s Single Market and took stock of the integration of the Single Market in that time. It highlighted the benefits and key achievements for people and businesses, and its impact on growth and jobs in the EU.

The report found that the effectiveness of Single Market rules is undermined by Member States’ difficulties in integrating them into their national frameworks properly and on time. This prevents businesses and people in the Member States from benefiting from a more integrated Single Market, and it creates an uneven playing field, ultimately hurting each Member State’ economy. It is therefore essential that national authorities devote sufficient resources and efforts to applying the Single Market body of law and take measures to ensure the required administrative capacity is available.

The report also discussed the Single Market from a longer-term perspective looking at the current challenges that the EU is facing (increasing geopolitical tensions, global competition, climate change and strategic dependency risks). In particular, the report explored the potential of new approaches, partnerships and collaborative tools in strengthening trust among authorities and of better cooperation in addressing persisting single market barriers and obstacles. It also touched upon the potential of digital technologies and user-friendly e-government solutions to help reduce the administrative burdens on businesses and administrations.

The Communication The Single Market at 30, published on 16 March 2023, highlighted that the Single Market is the EU's key asset and driver of its competitiveness and a major factor in EU’s economic resilience during crises; it also provides a crucial geopolitical lever that boosts the EU’s standing and influence in the world. However, the Single Market must continue to adapt to new realities and take account of the changing geopolitical environment, technological developments, the green and digital transitions and the need to boost the EU’s long-term competitiveness and productivity. A collective effort, based on joint ownership of the Single Market at EU and national levels, is required to continue maintaining and deepening it, and harnessing its full potential.

Looking ahead; the Commission called for a renewed focus on enforcing existing Single Market rules, supported by benchmarks to address the deficits related to transposing and implementing EU rules. I also underlined the importance of removing national barriers to providing services at cross-borders, and in the industrial ecosystems with the greatest potential for economic integration (retail, construction, tourism, business services and the renewable energy sector).

More about infringement procedures.

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