This report takes into account all transposition notifications made by 10 December 2021 for directives with a transposition deadline on or before 30 November 2021. As of that date, 997 directives and 5669 regulations were in force to ensure the functioning of the single market. All comparisons are made with the figures for 10 December 2020, the previous reporting date.
Single market legislation can only achieve its intended effects if the provisions under the relevant Directives are completely and correctly implemented in Member States’ national laws by the deadline set out in these directives.
Monitoring transposition helps make the single market work by ensuring that single market rules are implemented properly in Member States.
Such monitoring shows the transposition deficit (the gap between the number of single market directives adopted by the EU and the number of directives transposed by each Member State) and the conformity deficit (the percentage of those directives incorrectly transposed). It highlights what Member States are doing to ensure that single market law is implemented correctly and, by doing so, encourages them to improve their performance.
Transposition and the single market – why does it matter?
Incorrect transposition, implementation and application of EU rules creates barriers to a smooth functioning single market. Delays or gaps in transposition deprive people and businesses of the benefits stemming from the agreed rules, sometimes even for years.
The December 2016 Communication on EU Law: Better results through better application pointed to the need to strengthen compliance assessment (the effective assessment of the completeness and conformity of national measures implementing EU law). For cases brought to the Court of Justice under Article 260(3) on the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Commission now systematically asks the Court to impose a lump sum as well as a periodic penalty payment on Member States that do not communicate their transposition measures. This aligns the approach to other infringement cases that can result in financial sanctions. This clearly shows the Commission’s determination to ensure fast transposition.
In its judgment of 8 July 2019 in Case C-543/17, Commission v Belgium, the Court of Justice clarified the scope of Article 260(3) TFEU by stating that its sanction mechanism may also be applied in case of a partial failure to adopt and to communicate the transposition measures. In this context, the Court refers to the obligation of Member States to not only notify transposition measures as such but also to supply sufficiently clear and precise information as to which provisions of national law transpose which provisions of a directive (for further information on the outcome of the judgment in Case C-543/17, see “More information”).
It is up to each Member State to implement the obligations under the EU directives in an accurate and timely way. The March 2020 Long-term action plan for better implementation and enforcement of single market rules – the so-called enforcement action plan – highlights that the single market is built on EU law and is at the heart of the European project. It has fuelled economic growth and has made life easier for European consumers and businesses. However, timely and correct transposition of single market rules remains a challenge.
To support Member States more effectively in transposing directives and prevent creating new barriers to the single market, the Commission (in its Better Regulation Guidelines of November 2021) proposed implementation strategies to assist Member States and to monitor the transposition of new directives. These strategies identify the challenges that Member States face during the implementation process and explain support actions the Commission can provide to Member States. These actions include preparing guidance documents, organising expert groups and workshops, creating dedicated websites, and promoting training for practitioners.
- On transposing single market-related directives, 5 Member States (Germany, Cyprus, Hungary, Slovenia and Finland) performed above the EU average and 12 Member States were around the EU average. 10 Member States were below the EU average: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Ireland, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Austria, Romania and Sweden. The national authorities of these 10 countries must devote more attention and sufficient resources to implementing the single market body of law.
- The average transposition deficit grew to 1.6% (+67%), while the average conformity deficit is 1.3% (-7%). The average transposition delay increased by 16% to 8.6 months (it was 7.4 months in 2020).
- Further efforts are needed to reduce the number of EU directives that are transposed by Member States incorrectly or with delays. This will help the single market contribute to the economic recovery of the EU and consolidate EU’s resilience and competitiveness. The Long-term action plan for better implementation and enforcement of single market rules includes specific actions that should increase the co-operative mechanisms and procedures supporting Member States’ efforts towards improved compliance. The Better Regulation Guidelines of November 2021 proposes implementation strategies to assist Member States and monitors the transposition of new directives.
- 7 Member States have improved their overall performance compared to December 2020 (Cyprus, Luxembourg, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia), while the situation deteriorated for 10 Member States (Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Romania). The performance of the remaining 10 Member States remains stable. These results are better than a year ago, when only 5 Member States improved their performance, and the situation worsened for 14 of them.
- Only 2 Member States that maintained their December 2020 performance are above the EU average and so get a green card: Germany and Finland. 3 Member States have succeeded in joining this group: Cyprus, Hungary and Slovenia, which all improved on most of the indicators. 3 of the 5 Member States with a green card met the 1% target set at the March 2002 European Council: Germany, Hungary and Finland.
- As for the distribution of red cards,Belgium, Czechia, Italy and Romania joined Bulgaria, Ireland, Spain, Croatia, Austria and Sweden in the group of Member States that are below the EU average. 6 Member States (Luxembourg, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia) left this group (only 1 Member State managed to do so last year). Each of the 10 Member States with a red card has a transposition deficit above the 1% benchmark.
| Transposition deficit (% of all directives not transposed)|
→ Target established by the European Council, Brussels 8-9 March 2007
|≤ 1%||/||> 1%|
| Change over the last 12 months (change in the number of non-transposed directives)||decrease||no change||increase|
| Long-overdue directives (2 years or more)|
→ Target established by the European Council, Barcelona 15-16 March 2002
| Total transposition delay (in months) for overdue directives &|
 Conformity deficit (% of all directives transposed incorrectly)
|< average||average ±10%||> average|
This table combines the most relevant indicators in order to provide a better overview of Member States' compliance in transposing the single market directives. The table shows that less than 20% of Member States perform better than the EU average when all the indicators are taken into account (Germany, Cyprus, Hungary, Slovenia and Finland).
- After a steady improvement since December 2016, the number of Member States that are in line with the European Council's 1% transposition deficit target fell dramatically from 26 to 5 Member States in 2 years (from 14 to 5 in the past year). This turnaround shows that transposition requires a permanent effort and that any slowing down can quickly lead to an increase in the deficit.
- 9 Member States that reached the target in December 2020 missed it this year (Greece, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden). The increase in their transposition deficit is dramatic, from 57% (Malta) to 1 300% (Portugal). Bulgaria, Lithuania and Romania had their worst results ever.
- 5 Member States (Germany, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Hungary and Poland) managed to improve their performance compared to a year ago (from 0.1 to 0.3 percentage points). Slovakia equalled its score of December 2020. Germany achieved its best ever result (0.4%). Along with Denmark, it is now at the top of the ranking for this criterion, proving that a good transposition performance is possible despite challenging times.
- Moreover, Germany and Denmark are the only Member Statesthat reached the 0.5% target that the Commission proposed in the 2011 Single Market Act. We are now back to the situation of 2011, when few Member States (3) reached this target (Denmark was already part of them). They were 5 in December 2020 and 12 in December 2019.
- The Member States that missed the 1% target must mobilise themselves to improve their transposition performance. The second Annual Single Market Report published in February 2022 responds to a renewed attention to the importance of strengthening the resilience of the single market. In particular, the report confirms how crucial it is to effectively implement and enforce single market rules because a well-functioning single market also strengthens security of supply in times of crisis.
- Compared to a year ago, 6 Member States reduced the number of outstanding directives (up from 2), while the number rose in 20 Member States (same as in 2020). An average of 5 directives were added to the backlog in 2021, as in 2020.
- Germany and Hungary are the only Member States that met the 1% target and managed to further decrease their backlogs.
- Out of the 20 Member States that have a bigger backlog than before, 9 went above the ceiling and missed the 1% target (Greece, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden). 3 Member States (Denmark, France and Finland) added to their deficit butstayed below the threshold. The 8 remaining Member States were already above the target last year, together with Slovakia that did not add to its 2020 backlog.
- Cyprus, Luxembourg, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia reversed the negative trend of the previous year and reduced the number of outstanding directives (but not drastically). Hungary is the exception and met the 1% target in 2020 and in 2021. The others must tackle the issue effectively to go below the threshold.
- By contrast, Italy and Portugal were unable to maintain their progress from last year, adding 8 and 13 directives to their respective backlogs. Romania and Sweden, which were stable last year, are now among the Member States with the highest increase in the number of overdue directives.
Indicator : Long-overdue directives (2 years or more)
Directives with transposition deadlines before 1 December 2019, which have not been fully notified to the Commission by at least one Member State as of 10 December 2021
|Number||Title||Not fully transposed by||Transposition date|
|2012/34/EU||Single European railway area||Czechia, Luxembourg, Austria||16/06/2015|
|2014/17/EU||Credit agreements for consumers relating to residential immovable property||Italy||21/03/2016|
|2014/56/EU||Amendment of Directive 2006/43/EC on statutory audits of annual accounts and consolidated accounts||Italy||17/06/2016|
|2014/52/EU||Amendment of Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment||Ireland||16/05/2017|
|(EU) 2015/2366||Payment services in the internal market||Sweden||13/01/2018|
|2013/59/EUR||Basic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionising radiation||Spain, Italy, Latvia||06/02/2018|
|(EU) 2016/2370||Amendment of Directive 2012/34/U as regards the opening of the market for domestic passenger transport services by rail and the governance of the railway infrastructure||Denmark, Luxembourg||25/12/2018|
|(EU) 2016/2341||Activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision (IOPRs)||Ireland||13/01/2019|
|(EU) 2018/1846||Amendment of Directive 2008/68/EC on the inland transport of dangerous goods to take into account scientific and technical progress||Belgium||30/06/2019|
|(EU) 2018/350||Amendment of Directive 2001/18/EC as regards the environmental risk assessment of genetically modified organisms||Bulgaria||29/09/2019|
|(EU) 2018/1581||Amendment of Directive 2009/119/EC as regards the methods for calculating stockholding obligations||Spain, Romania||19/10/2019|
Significantly more directives, but slightly fewer Member States, are concerned compared to last year. 12 Member States have long-overdue directives (down from 13) and 11 long-overdue directives have not been fully notified (up from 5).
- Missing notifications for these long-overdue directives are 4% of the overall transposition deficit (17 missing notifications out of 426). In absolute terms, the number of missing notifications for long-overdue directives remains stable (17 in 2019, 15 in 2020 and 17 again in 2021). However, it is far too high given the “zero tolerance” target the European Council set in 2002 for delays of 2 years or more in transposing directives.
- Currently, 15 Member States respect the zero tolerance target compared to 14 in December 2020. Greece and Malta are the only Member States that have complied with the target for 10 years or more.
- Within the last year, Croatia, Lithuania, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia transposed all their long-overdue directive(s). By contrast, 9 Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg and Romania) moved in the opposite direction. They have now had 1 to 3 directives overdue for more than 2 years. The situation remained unchanged in Latvia, Austria and Sweden (1 long-overdue directive each).
- Long transposition delays prevent people and businesses from exercising their rights under the law and create legal uncertainty. For example, the non-transposition of Directive 2012/34/EU (see above) by all Member States means that the single market railway area is still not a reality, more than 6 years after the agreed date.
- By December 2022, 12 directives risk being added to the list of long-overdue directives for some Member States.
- 9 Member States reduced their average delay (down from 19 in December 2020), while it increased for 17 of them (up from 8). Last year's trend has reversed but the increase in the transposition delay remains moderate (+1.2 months).
- The Netherlands reduced its average delay the most (from 12.8 months to 7.4). It transposed 2 long-overdue directives, which had a significant impact on its average delay from December 2020. Hungary, Croatia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia also made good progress in this area by reducing the number of directives that had needed to be transposed for a long time.
- In Member States that saw an increase in the average transposition delay, the rise was moderate: from an increase of 7.4 months for Luxembourg to 0.2 month for Ireland. Only Italy increased its delay by more than a year (12.3 months), with 3 long-overdue directives added to its backlog.
- Contrary to what might be assumed, having fewer outstanding directives may go hand in hand with a higher transposition delay: when a number of recent directives are transposed, the remaining older ones may have a greater impact on the average delay. This time, most Member States (14 of 17) with a higher transposition delay also have a higher number of overdue directives. However, at least Germany and Hungary that both have few outstanding directives, may see their average transposition delay affected by the notification of short overdue directives.
- Transposing directives within the transposition deadline is only part of their implementation. They also need to be correctly transposed and applied on the ground to be considered as fully implemented.
- The number of infringement proceedings for incorrect transposition of single market directives launched by the Commission has fallen slightly further. 71 new cases were launched between 1 December 2020 and 30 November 2021. There were 161 between 1 December 2018 and 30 November 2019, and 73 between 1 December 2019 and 30 November 2020. The decrease since 2019 could be attributed to the more systematic use of EU Pilot dialogue as announced in Action 21 of the March 2020 Enforcement action plan (see ‘Infringement’ page for more information). Another reason could be linked to the particularly large number of directives that had transposition deadlines in 2016. The fact that the conformity checks on those directives are now mostly completed could also play a role.
- Despite the decrease in the number of new cases, the number of ongoing cases that still need to be resolved is high (307 cases related to 74 different directives).
- 14 Member States have reduced their previous deficit (by 0.1 to 0.6 percentage points). These are Spain, Ireland, Estonia, France, Croatia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Romania, Finland and Sweden. 2 others (Latvia and Poland) have maintained their deficit. In 2020, only 4 Member States managed to improve on their previous result.
- 11 Member States saw an increase in their deficit by 0.1 to 0.4 percentage points. Austria is no longer among the 3 Member States with the highest conformity deficit. Germany has taken its place, joining Bulgaria and Czechia.
- Last year, 23 Member States had a conformity deficit over 1%, and now there are 18. Similarly, 11 Member States had a deficit over 1.5%, and there are now 6. However, 3 Member States (Bulgaria, Czechia and Germany) now have more than 2% of single market directives (between 20 and 22) incorrectly transposed.
- In November 2012, 11 Member States reached the conformity deficit target of 0.5% or less proposed in the 2011 Single Market Act. They were still 4 in December 2018. Since then, no Member State has reached the target. Efforts to reduce the number of EU rules incorrectly transposed by Member States can help to save a lot of the time and effort that currently goes into the lengthy processes to revise the rules after they have started to apply.
- Some Member States show both a high transposition deficit and a high percentage of incorrectly transposed directives (Bulgaria, Czechia, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Austria and Poland). These Member States should consider further efforts to reduce these numbers. Improving the cooperative mechanisms and procedures supporting Member States should result in more compliance.
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 of repeal of a legal act in the EU and its addition to or removal from the EEA Agreement. This means that the body of EU law that applies in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway may differ from that which is in force in the EU. On 1 December 2021, 767 directives and 3548 regulations were in force to ensure the functioning of the single market in the EEA. This should be considered when comparing the Single Market Scoreboard with the EEA Scoreboard.
- Only 2 of the 3 EEA EFTA countries reached the 1% target (Norway and Liechtenstein), while the number of directives that have not been notified increased in 2 of the countries (Norway and Iceland) since December 2020.
- Zero tolerance target: in total, the EEA EFTA countries have 5 different directives that have been overdue for 2 years or more (1 in Norway, 2 in Iceland and 2 in Liechtenstein).
- Directives still outstanding from the previous period: Iceland: 5, Liechtenstein: 3; Norway: 2.
- The average delay decreased by 13.4 months because Liechtenstein implemented its 4 oldest outstanding directives in 2021.
- Over the years, the Commission has observed that most Member States have shown a strong political commitment to transposition, effective administrative procedures and better coordination. For the last 2 years, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Member State authorities to address pressing priorities. If they focus their attention on transposition issues again, this would probably help transposing directives in a timely manner and reducing the number of infringement cases open for late transposition.
- European Council targets: these have been an average transposition deficit of 1.5% or less (March 2001) and 1% or less (March 2007). In November 2014, 50% of Member States reached the 0.5% average transposition target proposed in the 2011 Single Market Act. By the end of 2019, 12 Member States reached the 0.5% target, and 5 were very close to it (0.6%) This shows that the Commission’s proposal is realistic. These targets, which serve as an incentive, will be emphasised when circumstances will allow it.
- Financial penalties: Under the Treaty of Lisbon, financial penalties can be imposed when a Member State is first referred to the Court of Justice for failing to notify the transposition of a directive adopted under a legislative procedure. The Communication EU Law: Better results through better application gives a high priority to the handling of cases on the timely transposition of directives and has reinforced the financial penalties in cases brought to the Court of Justice under Article 260(3) TFEU. As a result of this high priority, the Commission has adopted the same approach as in other infringement cases – it systematically asks the Court to impose a lump sum penalty as well as a periodic penalty payment.
- The 2019 Court of Justice ruling in case C-543/17 (Commission v. Belgium), which was reconfirmed in rulings C-549/18 and C-550/18, significantly clarified the respective role of Member States and the Commission in setting out the correlation between the provisions of a directive and the corresponding rules in national law. Compliance with this judgment will probably help to reduce the time needed to assess the national legislation implementing a directive.
- Reinforced cooperation between the Commission and Member States through specific initiatives set up by the Long-term action plan for better implementation and enforcement of single market rule can be an effective springboard to reverse the negative trends caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
- In its Better Regulation Guidelines of November 2021, the Commission proposed implementation strategiesto support Member States more effectively and facilitate the transposition process of new directives. The Commission presented the different support actions it provides to Member States, including preparing guidance documents, organising expert groups and workshops, creating dedicated websites, and promoting training for practitioners.
Facts and figures
Focus on short-overdue directives
The European Council set a zero tolerance target in 2002 for delays of 2 years or more in transposing directives. One of the purposes of the Scoreboard is therefore to report on the number of long-overdue directives in each Member State. However, successive Scoreboards reveal that Member States may have difficulties in transposing directives by the agreed deadlines (time between the entry into force of the directive and the date agreed for notifying national transposition measures to the Commission). The average delay is usually between 6 and 12 months.
- In 2016 (1 November 2015 to 30 November 2016), Member States had to transpose 66 new single market directives. This was significantly more than in 2015 (47), 2017 (39), 2018 (38), 2019 (35), 2020 (51) and 2021 (45). A high number of them has a transposition deadline close to the cut-off date for calculating the transposition deficit. Consequently, the transposition deficit more than doubled, from 0.7% in December 2015 to 1.5% in December 2016 (back to its worst level since May 2007).
- If we only consider the 26 directives with the most recent transposition deadlines (within the last 6 months, 1 June 2021 to 30 November 2021), the transposition deficit is 35.8% (compared to the 1.6% average deficit for all directives). The transposition rate varies by Member State. Denmark and Germany have transposed 24 out of 26 directives (92%); France, Croatia, Italy, Luxembourg and Hungary have transposed over 75% of them (20 or 21). The transposition rate is below 50% for 3 Member States: Belgium and Czechia (10 directives transposed), and Romania (11). In addition to a low transposition rate, these directives have an incompleteness rate of 96% as 26 of the 27 directives have not been transposed by at least one Member State (the incompleteness rate for all directives is 6%).
- There are other reasons for the long delays besides administrative burdens, the complexity of the directives or short transposition deadlines. For these deadlines, if we look at the 26 directives due in the last 6 months, there is an average transposition period of more than 2 years (24.4 months) for the 19 directives adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, and an average transposition period of 17 months for the 7 execution directives adopted by the Commission (or by the Council for taxation issues).
- Most Member States need to better plan their transposition and notification processes for directives that have to be incorporated into national law. As the guardian of the treaties, the Commission strives to launch infringement proceedings for non-communication of the expected national measures within 2 months after the transposition deadline has passed. Too many of these infringement proceedings are being launched because of delays for logistical reasons unrelated to the complexity and/or sensitivity of the directives.
- Based on information provided by Member States, timely transposition seems to be linked to four factors in particular: (i) political attention; (ii) careful planning; (iii) starting transposition work while negotiations are still ongoing; and (iv) close cooperation with national parliaments. Member States are therefore encouraged to proceed with the necessary steps as early as possible on these identified factors and to use tools provided by the Commission. In this context, the Enforcement Action Plan sets out two concrete actions to improve transposing and implementing EU rules: (i) setting up a structured dialogue between Member States and the Commission during the transposition period and (ii) using ‘dynamic virtual concordance tables’ (digital solutions enabling a continuous update on the state of transposition including after the entry into force of the original transposition laws) to support the transposition process. This is in addition to the implementation strategies already described above.
- The graph above concerns cases that are the subject of an infringement procedure for non-communication. It shows the number of directives whose transposition has been declared complete by each Member State and for which the Commission is examining whether the notification process is indeed complete. The outcome will be either a new formal step in the procedure or its closure. If the Commission decides to proceed with an infringement case, the directives concerned may be included in the transposition deficit in the next report.
- This also explains the difference between the number of formal infringement procedures pending for non-communication of national transposition measures in the single market on 1 December 2021 (763) and the number of missing transpositions and transpositions declared as partially notified (426) by Member States (or a College decision). For many of the notifications made as part of an infringement procedure (in addition to a number of notifications made before a formal infringement procedure was launched), the Commission is examining the notifications, or, where completeness has already been checked, has asked for the case to be formally closed or continued (and the formal decision of the College has not yet been taken).
- The number of notifications whose completeness is under examination varies from one Member State to another, from 6 for Ireland to 23 for Italy and Slovenia. In December 2020, the EU average was 10. The high number of notifications currently being analysed is logically linked to the rather high number of directives (96) that needed to be transposed between 1 December 2019 and 1 December 2021.
Overdue directives by sector and Member States
This table shows, for each Member State, the total number of directives not fully notified, broken down by sector, as on 10 December 2022. Sectors in which directives have been fully transposed are included under “Others”. The highlighted figures show the sector(s) with the highest number of overdue directives in each Member State.
Connectivity/Media/Digital society (20)
Energy incl. Energy
Financial information and
company law (20)
Financial services (64)
Free movement of
persons & Citizenship of Union (23)
Social Policy (96)
Special freedom of
movement arrangements (12)
Other sectors (370)
Problematic sectors for Member States (more than 25% of all cases)
- Environment: Croatia (29%)
- Transport: Denmark (50%), Hungary (43%), Czechia (29%)
- Energy: Germany (75%)
- Consumers: Finland (38%)
- Financial services: Lithuania (41%), Malta (36%), the Netherlands (31%), Greece (28%), Bulgaria (27%)
- Connectivity/Media/Digital society: Slovenia (42%), France (33%), Slovakia (29%)
Clearly, these percentages should be viewed in relation to the total number of cases in each Member State (see “Total” column).
Directives subject to notification by next Scoreboard
New directives to be transposed by 30 November 2022 will soon be added to the current transposition deficit.
Single market directives are legal acts considered to have an impact on the functioning of the single market, as defined in Article 26(2) TFEU. This includes the four freedoms (freedom of movement of people, goods, services and capital across borders within the EU), and supporting policies that have a direct impact on the single market. These policies include taxation, employment, culture, social policy, education, public health, energy, consumer protection, transport, environment (except nature protection), and information society and media.
In its judgment of 8 July 2019 in Case C-543/1, Commission v Belgium, the Court of Justice clarified the scope of Article 260(3) TFEU by stating that its sanction mechanism may also be applied in case of a partial failure to adopt and to communicate the transposition measures (see above).
On 16 July 2020, the Court of Justice reconfirmed its position in rulings C-549/18, Commission v Romania, and C-550/18, Commission v Ireland. The Court clarified further the calculation and imposition of daily penalties and lump sums for non-communication cases. Consequently, the Commission proposals under Article 260(3) TFEU are binding as regards the maximum amount of the penalty. On the calculation of the lump sum, the Court clarified that the calculation of the duration of the infringement starts from the transposition deadline of the Directive.