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Single Market Scoreboard


Reporting period:

12/2022 – 11/2023

In 2023 (1 December 2022 – 30 November 2023), the single market remains the EU's engine room. It allows businesses to grow, trade and compete globally and provides possibilities for people to live, work, do business, study, travel and make purchases across 30 countries.

SOLVIT is a problem-solving network that helps people or businesses when their cross-border rights in the single market are breached by public authorities – be it at a local, regional or national level.

SOLVIT is based on co-operation between EU Countries and the European Commission. It offers a faster, informal alternative to starting a court case, submitting a formal complaint to the Commission or launching a petition.

How does SOLVIT work?

SOLVIT’s problem-solving service is provided by national administrations. There is a SOLVIT centre in each EU country and in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The centres work together via an online database.

People and businesses who encounter a problem exercising their rights can seek help from their home centre (usually in their home country) via an online application.

The home centre prepares the case and sends it to the SOLVIT centre in the country where the problem occurred (the lead centre). The lead centre then contacts the authority that is the source of the problem.

SOLVIT Process

Key messages

For yet another year, the SOLVIT network has shown its ability to help businesses, people and public authorities enjoy the benefits of the single market.

SOLVIT continued to further deepen the cooperation with other EU networks and organisations, such as the Enterprise Europe Network and the European Labour Authority. SOLVIT also received new cases linked to the principle of mutual recognition of goods lawfully marketed in another Member State.

Revamping the SOLVIT database (SOLVIT IMI application) was a priority in the reporting period. Besides facilitating better case handling, another major part of the work is creating a repository of identified systemic issues (structural and recurrent cases detected via SOLVIT cases).

This will ensure easier access to and overview of systemic issues allowing for more efficient reporting to policy makers. In addition, efforts were made to improve the visualisation of SOLVIT data.

Staffing remains crucial for the network to operate to its full potential. As there are always two centres involved in handling a case, a lack of resources in one centre also affects other centres with sufficient staffing. This is particular the case for the larger SOLVIT centres, which are involved in a large proportion of all SOLVIT cases. In the reporting period, the centres' staffing situation was as follows: urgent action is required in 5 countries, improvement is required in 1 country, and 24 are adequately resourced for the current caseload. 

In March 2023, the Commission proposed to set a new target for the EU countries to solve 90% of the cases through their SOLVIT centre within 12 months. The results of the reporting period are published below.

Overall staffing indicator - staffing level in SOLVIT centres


Map legend

Staffing is a crucial part of the success of SOLVIT. However, this is currently at risk in specific Member States.

Despite their high quality and dedication, in specific SOLVIT centres there are not enough staff, too many tasks to carry out and high turnover.

This has an impact on the quality of case handling, on interaction with applicants and on the overall efficiency of the network. This holds SOLVIT back from developing its full potential.

Member States should prioritise SOLVIT and ensure that their SOLVIT centres have sufficient staff with the appropriate profiles and qualifications.

Staffing assessment
  • red = urgent requiring action
  • yellow = needs improvement
  • green = sufficient

For more explanations on the staffing assessment, see below.

Detailed comments

The total score is calculated on the basis of the following indicators:

  • continuity of case handlers (at least one member of staff has been working in SOLVIT for more than 2 years)
  • large part of case handling relies on long-term staff
  • sufficient staff for current caseload
  • no other tasks in parallel (or overriding SOLVIT tasks)
  • centre always operational
  • staff engages in awareness-raising activities
  • staff available for policy development/training etc.
  • Below 0 is red: “urgent action needed”.
  • Between 0-2 is yellow: “needs improvement”.
  • Above (excluding 2) is green: “sufficient”.

Recurrent difficulties in the single market identified by SOLVIT

These are identified through cases reported by the national SOLVIT centres. These cases have required additional assessment and contacts with national authorities.

  • The pie chart shows the number of cases that the SOLVIT centre identified as a case where there is a written rule that is perceived to be contrary to EU law.
  • In addition to these cases, SOLVIT centres flagged an additional 297 cases as recurrent, meaning that they are not just a one-off mistake, but may constitute an administrative practice.

By area of legislation

Obstacles for EU professionals trying to get their professional qualifications recognised in another country:

  • delays, decisions without proper justification and use of wrong procedures (referral to the recognition of academic qualifications in stead of professional qualifications) in Spain
  • delays, decisions without proper justification and refusal to apply automatic recognition due to career interruptions in France
  • unjustified requirements imposed for the recognition of secondary school teachers in Italy and delays in issuing decisions.

Obstacles for  providers of cross-border services and goods:

  • difficulties in various EU countries with the posting of non-EU workers who have valid residence documents and employment contracts in an EU country
  • difficulties in various EU countries in applying road transport rules on proving drivers' rest periods not taken in a vehicle
  • difficulties in Belgium in applying road transport rules on drivers' rest periods and returning to the employer’s operational centre
  • difficulties in Sweden in applying EU rules on cabotage operations
  • a national technical rule in Italy imposing specific labelling requirements for packaging materials that are not compulsory under EU law.

Obstacles for cross-border workers:

  • difficulties in Spain in recognising work experience gained in other EU countries in the public sector, in particular for teachers
  • difficulties for mobile EU workers to fully benefit from their EU rights due to differences in electronic identification systems among EU countries.

Obstacles in exchanging driving licences:

  • delays in exchanging foreign driving licences in Franceand Portugal (in Portugal this was due to delays in getting an appointment).

Problems with cross border payments:

  • refusal by public authorities to make or receive payments in euro into/from bank accounts in other Member States for different public services (such as paying taxes in France or receiving disability allowances from Belgium).

Problems with social security:

  • delays and difficulties in exchanging information for social security benefits in most EU countries, in particular Cyprus, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Romania
  • delays or failure to complete and return forms certifying insurance periods for pensions by Greece, together with delays in paying Greek pensions
  • difficulties in applying for family benefits in Austria
  • difficulties in Malta in applying EU social insurance rules for seafarers
  • difficulties in applying the judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU on the possibility for non-active people to join the public health insurance systems and obtain the European Health Insurance Card in Italy, Hungary and Spain
  • Swedish civil servants working in other EU countries and their family members face difficulties in obtaining the S1 form from Sweden to cover their healthcare needs.

Problems with entry and residence rights:

  • delays in obtaining appointments or in issuing short-term visas, unjustified conditions and refusals for short term visas for non-EU family members of EU nationals in many countries
  • delays and difficulties in obtaining residence cards for EU nationals and their non-EU family members in some countries
  • difficulties in getting appointments to complete residence registration procedures in Spain and Portugal leading to adverse consequences for access to work and healthcare
  • difficulties in registering in the population register and obtaining a personal identification number in Sweden, which is necessary to gain access to certain essential public and private services (legal changes entered into force in September 2023. The impact of these changes could not yet be taken into account in this report).

Difficulties with reimbursement of VAT:

  • difficulties in getting VAT refunds from Greece due to the impossibility to enter a non-Greek VAT identification number in the unified computer system used at all Greek petrol stations.


Performance indicators

The indicators are based on the actions of the respective SOLVIT centre in the SOLVIT IMI application. The promptness of actions taken by the responsible SOLVIT centre also depends on the responsiveness of the other SOLVIT centre, the applicant and, in some cases, the Commission.

Indicator [1]: Home centre – first response time

This indicator measures the time taken to establish initial contact with the applicant. The target deadline is 7 days maximum.

Main finding

  • Initial contact with applicants is made within the target deadline in 91.5% of SOLVIT cases. This is an important first step in handling cases.

Indicator [2]: Home centre – preparation time

This indicator measures the time taken to prepare cases for transfer to the lead centre. The target deadline is 30 days maximum.

Main finding

Preparation time is satisfactory in most centres.

Indicator [3]: Home centre – time to accept a solution

This indicator measures the time taken for the home centre to accept a solution from the lead centre. The target deadline is 7 days maximum.

Main finding

Overall, the situation is satisfactory but in some cases the time taken to accept a solution was exceptionally long. This is an issue as it also affects the lead centre's casehandling time.

Indicator [4]: Home centre – time to not accept a complaint

This indicator measures the time taken for the home centre not to accept a complaint that does not fulfil the SOLVIT criteria. The target deadline is 30 days maximum.

Main finding

A considerable number of centres take too long to refuse a complaint. This is an issue as applicants should know as soon as possible if SOLVIT can help or not.

Indicator [5]: Lead centre – time to accept a case

This indicator measures the time taken for the lead centre to accept a prepared case from the home centre for handling. The target deadline is 7 days maximum.

Main finding

The time taken by some lead centres to accept a case and start taking practical steps to solve the problem is too long. This is an issue because it leaves the applicant and the home centre uncertain for too long about whether or not the case can be handled by SOLVIT.

Indicator [6]: Lead centre – resolution time

This indicator measures the time a lead centre takes to handle a case. The target deadline is 10 weeks maximum.

Main finding

There are too many centres that take too much time to handle cases. The deadline is only met in 68.3 % of cases. All those countries below the 75% target should pay attention to this issue. In particular, Austria, Czechia, France, Greece, Malta and Norway should address this problem urgently.

Detailed comments

Factors affecting resolution speed:

  • cooperation with national administrations
  • caseload
  • case complexity
  • number and continuity of staff (many centres are understaffed, have other tasks in addition to SOLVIT work, or staff rotate frequently).

Resolution rate: % of cases solved by Member States through SOLVIT within 12 months

The new benchmark was proposed by the Commission in March 2023. It applies to Member States when their SOLVIT centre is the lead centre. 

benchmark calculation equals number of all cases closed as solved, divided by number of all cases closed as solved, unresolved or cases open more than 365 days

Success in meeting this target depends on numerous factors, including:

  • cooperation with the home centre
  • willingness of authorities to cooperate with SOLVIT
  • nature of the problem.

The 90% benchmark cannot be used to measure if there is enough staff in a SOLVIT centre. This is measured separately, and other indicators are to be taken into account.
When a problem cannot be solved informally through SOLVIT, Member States must take the necessary measures through other means to solve the problem.


  • the 90% benchmark has been proposed in the middle of the current reporting period
  • there is no statistical relevance of this percentage for countries with a low caseload as lead  centre (Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia are lead centres for 15 cases or less)
  • for more details, see the country data pages.



Actions to prioritise the work of SOLVIT

Member States should:

  • ensure SOLVIT centres are adequately staffed, and there is proper staff continuity and legal expertise
  • enable staff to spend sufficient time on SOLVIT work
  • ensure that national authorities (including regional and local bodies) cooperate with SOLVIT
  • address recurrent difficulties in the single market detected in SOLVIT cases.

SOLVIT centres should:

  • focus on the quality of case handling
  • ensure national authorities understand SOLVIT’s role and cooperate with them
  • intensify efforts to attract more business-related cases
  • liaise with national stakeholders.

The Commission should:

  • finalise revamping the IMI SOLVIT application to facilitate the handling of cases and reporting
  • continue to train staff in SOLVIT centres about EU law and provide legal support in specific cases
  • continue to liaise with the Enterprise Europe Network, the European Labour Authority and other stakeholders
  • address recurrent difficulties in the single market detected in SOLVIT cases.

Facts and figures

Overall caseload


Main finding

Between 1 December 2022 and 30 November 2023, SOLVIT handled a total of 4 896 cases and complaints. Out of these 4 896 cases, 2 293 fell within its remit. 77% of all cases handled were submitted online, 9% were transferred by Your Europe Advice and 2% were transferred by the Europe Direct Contact Centre. The rest were submitted by other means (email, phone, post, in person).

Distribution of cases: home centres and lead centres


Main findings

  • Top 3 centres that receive more cases than they submit: France, Italy and Germany.
  • Top 3 centres that submit more cases than they receive: Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.

Cases submitted by country over the last 3 years


Cases received by country over the last 3 years


Problem areas


Main finding

  • Social security-related cases made up 67% of all cases in the reporting period, in line with previous years. 

Detailed comments

  • Social security remains the biggest problem area dealt with by SOLVIT.
  • No big rise or fall in numbers in the other legal areas.

Informal legal advice from the Commission

SOLVIT centres can ask the Commission for informal legal advice to help them deal with complex cases. Commission experts are invited to provide their informal legal advice within 14 working days. The Commission provided 43 pieces of informal legal advice in the cases closed in the reporting period within an average of 38 days. The 2-week deadline was met in 28% of cases. 

Legal areas informal legal advice

The legal areas where informal legal advice was provided are similar to those of the SOLVIT caseload.


Business cases


Main finding

  • The proportion of citizens compared to business cases in SOLVIT remains high. In 2022, SOLVIT received 117 business cases.

Cases submitted under the problem-solving procedure – Article 8 Regulation 2019/515/EU

Regulation 2019/515/EU on the Mutual Recognition of Goods provides for a business-friendly problem-solving procedure. It is based on SOLVIT and includes the possibility to ask for an assessment from the Commission whether a decision restricting or denying market access is compatible with EU law.

In 2023, the Commission adopted three opinions, all on fertilisers, following the requests submitted under Art. 8 of the Regulation. 

The opinions pointed out that national administrative decisions refusing market access must:

  1. set out the reasons in a manner that is sufficiently detailed and reasoned
  2. include the technical or scientific evidence considered
  3. include evidence that the decision is appropriate and proportionate.

One new case was opened in 2023, which was also on restricting the marketing of a fertiliser product lawfully marketed in another EU country.  

Business cases – by country


Main finding

  • Top 2 contributors to business cases: Germany and Lithuania.

Detailed comments

74% of the business cases were solved.

The main problem areas for business were:

  • taxation and customs (31%)
  • vehicles and driving licences (21%)
  • social security (13%)
  • free movement of services (11%)
  • free movement of goods (9%)

SOLVIT not only deals with individual problems, but, in some cases, it also detects a more systemic problem. For example, in 2023, SOLVIT provided evidence about IBAN discrimination (non- acceptance of bank accounts from other EU countries) in different countries causing problems for companies that conduct cross-border business. This evidence was used by the Single Market Enforcement Task Force (SMET). In the SMET Member States work together with the Commission to tackle specific barriers in the single market. On the IBAN discrimination, the SMET started checking national legislations and practices and is looking at possible solutions to the problem.

To boost legal expertise, SOLVIT centres and Enterprise Europe Network advisers receive specialised training on the free movement of goods. SOLVIT continues its efforts to attract business cases.

Success stories – examples of problems solved

In 2023, SOLVIT successfully addressed the following recurrent problems:

  • unjustified delays in VAT refunds for EU companies in Bulgaria, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, and Spain
  • problems and delays in the exchange of information for social security benefits in many countries
  • problems in obtaining recognition of professional qualifications (affecting different professions) due to excessive requirements or delays in Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Romania, and Spain
  • inability to get appointments to complete residence procedures for EU citizens and their families in Portugal. 

It also solved the following individual problems:

  • unwarranted payment requests from the Slovakian social security body to a German company due to uncertainty about the legislation that applied to one of their employees while working in Slovakia
  • nationality-based discrimination in the rankings for amateur tennis players in Belgium
  • challenges selling a Dutch car in France due to a missing vehicle registration certificate
  • unjustified delays in issuing a Norwegian national number
  • difficulties in paying road traffic fines in Bulgaria due to the requirement to have a certified email address in that country
  • unreasonable delays in assigning a school place to the child of a Portuguese national in France
  • unjustified delay in issuing a European order for payment in an uncontested cross-border pecuniary claim by a court in Cyprus.
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