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 can be used before launching a formal infringement procedure.
EU Pilot in practice
In line with the Communication EU law: Better results through better application (C/2016/8600), the Commission applies the EU Pilot mechanism whenever it is considered useful in a given case. It is not a mandatory step preceding each infringement procedure, but can be used when the issue is likely to be resolved through 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.
- The Commission sends a query to the Member State concerned, which as a rule has 10 weeks to reply.
- The Commission then, as a rule, has 10 weeks to assess the Member State’s response.
- If the response is unsatisfactory, the Commission may start an infringement procedure.
- Additional exchanges may occur, with a view to finalising the informal dialogue within 9 months.
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 issue at stake being resolved or help the Commission identify more clearly potential breaches of EU law requiring the launch of an infringement procedure. The information in the EU Pilot system complements data on infringements by giving the Commission an insight into potential non-compliance with EU law.
More information on its use and its value can be found in the Communication Enforcing EU law for a Europe that delivers (COM(2022)518 final).
- The figures for 2023 (reference period of January to November 2023) show a relatively stable use of the EU Pilot dialogue, focusing mainly on topics related to the single European sky, security of supply, energy efficiency, indirect taxation and securities in investment funds.
- The Commission used the EU Pilot dialogue to efficiently check and clarify transposition issues, gather additional factual or legal information from Member States and remind them of notification and reporting obligations.
- With 80% of cases closed after having received satisfactory answers from the Member States concerned, the resolution rate is higher than the 2022 level (74%). The policy areas with the most EU Pilot cases proposed for formal infringement procedures are climate action (6 cases), financial services and anti-money laundering (6 cases) and mobility and transport (3 cases).
The Commission’s objective is to further improve the effectiveness, efficiency and speed of the EU Pilot process, in line with its enforcement policy and in close cooperation with the Member States.
The stocktaking report on the Commission working methods for monitoring the application of EU law published on 14 July 2023 identified the EU Pilot dialogue as one possible area to revamp the Commission’s performance management of its enforcement work. The report recommended ensuring a consistent, efficient, and appropriate use of the EU Pilot dialogue across the Commission, in particular by improving internal working processes, including the validation and monitoring process, and its IT system.
Facts and figures
The scope of the EU Pilot dialogue goes beyond single market legislation and covers the whole body of EU law. Therefore, the information provided below is not only limited to single market issues but also includes other areas of EU legislation. For complete information on the EU Pilot dialogue, see the 2022 Annual Report on monitoring the application of EU law.
2023 in figures
- New cases opened between January and November 2023: 208
- Cases processed and closed between January and November 2023: 217
- Cases still open at the end of November 2023: 615
The figures above include cases opened in previous years.
Infringement procedure opened or planned following the closure of EU Pilot cases: 24
Member States with the highest number of new EU Pilot cases:
- Italy: 18
- Germany: 14
- France: 13
- Bulgaria and Spain: 12
Main policy areas of the 208 new cases:
- Mobility and transport: (45 cases) single European sky / road transport / aviation policy
- Energy: (41 cases) security of supply / energy efficiency - electricity produced from renewable energy sources / energy performance of buildings
- Financial stability, financial services and the Capital Markets Union: (34 cases) securities/investment funds / insurance / retail financial services
- Taxation and the Customs Union: (33 cases) indirect taxation / direct taxation / customs
These policy areas represent 74% of all new EU Pilot cases.
The chart below shows newly opened EU Pilot cases in 2023 by policy area: