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Single Market Scoreboard

Transposition

This report takes into account all transposition notifications made by 10 December 2020 for directives with a transposition deadline on or before 30 November 2020. As of that date, 1027 directives and 5409 regulations were in force to ensure the functioning of the Single Market. All comparisons are made with the figures for the last reporting date, 10 December 2019,  when the UK was still a Member State of the European Union. This should be kept in mind while reading the present report.

Single Market directives can only achieve their intended effects if they are completely and correctly transposed into Member States’ national legislation by the deadline set out in these directives.

Transposition monitoring helps to make the Single Market work, ensuring that Single Market rules are implemented properly in the 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 the Member States – 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 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 and obstacles to a smooth functioning of the Single Market. Delays or gaps in transposition deprive citizens and businesses of the benefits stemming from a common rulebook, sometimes even for years.

The December 2016 Communication on EU Law: Better results through better application pointed to the need to strengthen compliance assessment (effective assessment of the completeness and conformity of national measures implementing EU law). It announced the adjustment of the Commission’s practice in cases brought to the Court of Justice under Article 260(3) TFEU. In future, the Commission will systematically ask the Court to impose a lump sum as well as a periodic penalty payment on Member States that do not communicate their transposition measures. In this way, the Commission has aligned its approach to cases where Member States fail to transpose EU law on time with the approach already applied to other infringement cases entailing financial sanctions.

Transposing EU law accurately and in a timely way, refraining from unjustified ‘gold plating’ and ensuring a level playing field is the responsibility of Member States. The Commission has the task of assisting Member States in transposing EU law correctly, fully and on time, thus preventing the creation of new barriers to the Single Market. Therefore, 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 the life easier for European consumers and businesses. Despite this, timely and correct transposition of Single Market rules remains a challenge for Member States.

With 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 the Member States not only to 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 in ‘More information).

Key messages

  • Five Member States have improved their overall transposition performance since December 2019 (Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia and France) and 8 Member States have maintained it (Greece, Spain, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Finland). The performance of the remaining 14 Member States has deteriorated.
  • The average transposition deficit has increased to 1% while the average conformity deficit has never been as high as in 2020, namely at 1.4%. The average transposition delay decreased by 36%, from 11.5 months in 2019 to 7.4 months.
  • Further efforts to reduce the number of EU directives that are transposed by the Member States with delay or incorrectly, will help the Single Market to unlock its full potential and its economic and social benefits. 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 correct implementation of the Single Market rules will ensure its smooth-functioning and renders it an essential tool for the economic recovery of the EU and for consolidating Europe’s resilience and competitiveness. In this context, it appears essential that the national authorities devote sufficient resources to the application of the Single Market acquis and take measures to guarantee the required administrative capacity.

Overall performance (All 5 indicators combined)

 
 

A Member State’s performance across all indicators relating to transposition is calculated by scoring each of the 5 indicators listed in the below chart “Performance per indicators” as follows:

  • red = -1
  • yellow = 0
  • 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
Main finding

Five Member States have improved their overall performance since December 2019 (Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia and France) and 8 Member States have maintained it (Greece, Spain, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Finland). The performance of the remaining 14 Member States has deteriorated. These results are significantly lower than those of 1 year ago, when 7 Member States had improved their performance and only 6 had worsened.

Performance indicators

 
Indicatorgreenyellowred
[1] Transposition deficit (% of all directives not transposed)
→ Target established by the European Council, Brussels 8-9 March 2007
≤ 1%/> 1%
[2] Change over the last 12 months (change in the number of non-transposed directives)decreaseno changeincrease
[3] Long-overdue directives (2 years or more)
→ Target established by the European Council, Barcelona 15-16 March 2002
0/> 0
[4] Total transposition delay (in months) for overdue directives &
[5] Conformity deficit (% of all directives transposed incorrectly)
< averageaverage ±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 one third of the Member States perform better than the EU average when all the indicators are taken into account: Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, France, Malta, Portugal and Finland.

Indicator [1]: Transposition deficit

The transposition deficit is the percentage of Single Market directives not yet completely notified to the Commission in relation to the total number of directives that should have been notified by the deadline. A 1% target was established by the March 2002 European Council.

How is the transposition deficit calculated?

In its calculation of the transposition deficit of each Member State, the Commission includes:

  • directives for which no transposition measures have been communicated
  • directives considered as partially transposed by the Member State in question, after notifying some transposition measures
  • directives  the Member State in question considers completely transposed, but for which the Commission has launched an infringement proceeding for non-communication and the Member State has not notified new transposition measures after the latest procedural step taken by the Commission.

The transposition deficit does not include directives that are considered completely transposed by a Member State, but for which transposition measures are still under examination by the Commission services (no procedural step since the latest notification) – See ‘Directives under completeness check’ in ‘Facts and Figures’.

Transposition deficit of Member States as of 10 December 2020

 
Main findings

The average EUtransposition deficit has significantly increased to 1%, very close to exceeding the threshold (see also the ‘Changes in the average transposition deficit’ graph under ‘Trends’ above).

13 Member States are now above the 1% target (up from 2 a year ago).

Indicator [2]: Change over the last 12 months

Change in the number of outstanding directives since December 2019 (July 2020 edition of the Single Market Scoreboard)

 
Main finding

Most Member States have significantly increased their backlog.

Indicator [3]: Long-overdue directives (2 years or more)

Directives with transposition deadlines before 1 December 2018

NumberTitleNot fully transposed byTransposition date
2012/34/EUSingle European railway areaLuxembourg16/06/2015
2014/52/EUAmendment of Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environmentIreland16/05/2017
2014/45/EUPeriodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailersthe Netherlands20/05/2017
(EU) 2015/1513Amendment of Directive 98/70/EC relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels and Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sourcesHungary10/09/2017
2013/59/EURBasic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionising radiation

Spain, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden

06/02/2018
Main finding

Significantly fewer directives, but more Member States, are concerned than last year. 13 Member States have long overdue directives (up from 12) and 5 long-overdue directives have not been fully notified (down from 10).

Indicator [4]: Total transposition delays

Spark line of the chart shows the development of transposition delays since December 2017. Bar gives the value in December 2020. EU-27 average is 7.4 months.

 
Main finding

Significant improvement in transposition delays. Outstanding directives are now 7.4 months late (down from 11.5 one year ago) on average.

Indicator [5]: Conformity deficit (incorrectly transposed directives)

The conformity deficit measures the number of directives transposed for which infringement proceedings for incorrect transposition have been launched by the Commission, as a percentage of the number of Single Market directives notified to the Commission as ‘transposed’ or ‘not requiring any further implementation measures’. Only the Court of Justice can rule definitively that a directive has not been transposed correctly, and the Commission is still working on the conformity assessment of a number of notified national measures. This should be kept in mind when interpreting the conformity deficit statistics.

Conformity deficit of Member States as of 10 December 2020

 
Main finding

The average conformity deficit (1.4%) has never been as high as in 2020. It almost triples the proposed 0.5% 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 when a legal act is adopted or repealed in the EU and when it is added to or removed from the EEA Agreement. This means that the body of EU law that applies in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway may differ from that in force in the EU. On 1 December 2020, 806 directives and 3388 regulations were in force to ensure the functioning of the Single Market in the EEA. This should be borne in mind when comparing the Single Market Scoreboard with the EEA Scoreboard.

Transposition deficit

Transposition deficit in EEAEFTA countries as of 1 December 2020

 

Average deficit (all 3 countries):0.8% (up from 0.6% in December 2019)

  • Norway: 0.4% (up from 0.3%) – an increase of 0.1 percentage point
  • Liechtenstein: 0.7% (down from 0.9%) – a decrease of 0.2 percentage point
  • Iceland: 1.2% (up from 0.6%) – an increase of a 0.6 percentage point

Total late directives:19 (up from 14 in December 2019)

  • Norway: 3 (up from 2)
  • Liechtenstein: 6 (down from 7)
  • Iceland: 10 (up from 5)

Average delay:30.6 months (up from 28 months in December 2019)

  • Norway: 12.1 months (down from 14.7)
  • Liechtenstein: 65.5 months (up from 52.5)
  • Iceland: 14.3 months (down from 16.8)

Trends

Changes in the average transposition deficit

 
Main findings

The EU average deficit, having decreased steadily for 19 years (between 1997 and 2016), has been more or less stable since November 2012 (between 0.5% and 0.7%). It doubled (from 0.7% to 1.5%) in June 2016, due to an unusually large number of directives to be transposed in the months preceding the cut-off date for calculating the Member States’ performance. The transposition rate returned then to more normal values (0.6% in December 2019). It has now increased again, by 67%. The reason for this increase is likely to be found in the Covid-19 pandemic that placed strain on Member States’ administrative resources, in combination with a quite large number of Single Market-related directives (51) to be transposed during the period of 1 December 2019 – 1 December 2020.

Trend in transposition deficit by Member State and EEA EFTA countries

The incompleteness rate records, EU-wide, the number of outstanding directives, which one or more Member States have failed to transpose completely as a percentage of the total number of Single Market directives. It measures the extent to which the Single Market is not yet a reality in the areas covered by those directives.

 

Changes in the incompleteness rate

 
Main findings
  • Whenever one or more Member States fail to transpose directives on time, they leave a void in the EU legal framework. Instead of the Single Market covering all Member States, it remains much smaller and fragmented. Consequently, the economic interests of all Member States suffer if only one Member State does not deliver.
  • The delay in transposing the package of 66 directives due in 2016 caused the rate to jump from 4% in December 2015 to 7% in June 2017. The Member States’ hard work to transpose the package brought the incompleteness rate back to 4% last year. Nevertheless, most of Member States increased their number of late transpositions within the year. The reason for this rise is likely to be found in a combination of 2 factors: the Covid-19 pandemic that mobilised Member States’ authorities towards pressing priorities and a quite large number of Single Market-related directives (51) to be transposed during the period of 1 December 2019 – 1 December 2020.
  • These missing transpositions affect a higher number of directives than last year and make the incompleteness rate move back to 5%. In other words, the Single Market’s legal framework is operating only at 95% of its potential.
  • In absolute terms, 47 out of 1 027 Single Market directives due on 30 November 2020 have not been transposed in at least 1 Member State (up from 43 out of 1 011 directives last year). This means that for the sectors concerned, the Single Market is still not a reality.
Main problem areas (and corresponding incompleteness rate)
  • Energy: 5 incompletely transposed directives out of 19 in force (26%)
  • Special freedom of movement arrangements (weapons, explosives, defense-related products): 3 out of 12 (25%)
  • Financial information and company law: 3 out of 17 (18%)
  • Taxation: 6 out of 65 (9%)

Facts and Figures

Focus on short overdue directives

The European Council set a zero tolerance target in2002 for delays of 2 or more years 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. Nevertheless, from successive Scoreboards, Member States appear to have difficulty in transposing directives within the agreed deadline. The average delay is usually between 6 and 12 months.

  • In2016 (1 November 2015 – 30 November 2016) Member States had to transpose 66 new Single Market-related directives, significantly more than in2015 (47), 2017 (39), 2018 (38), 2019 (35) and 2020 (51), but above all these involved a high number of directives with transposition dates 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). This shows that the number of directives with recent transposition dates can also have a negative impact on the Member States' overall transposition performance.
  • If we only consider the 17 directives with the most recent transposition dates (within the last 6 months, 1 June 2020 – 30 November 2020), the transposition deficit is 35.9% (compared to the 1% average deficit for all directives). The transposition rate varies by Member State. Denmark, Italy and Portugal have transposed 16 out of 17 directives. Germany, Ireland, France, the Netherlands and Sweden have transposed over 75% of them (13 to 15 out of 17). For 4 Member States, the transposition rate is below 50%: Bulgaria, Czechia and Spain (8/17), Cyprus (7/17), Belgium (6/17) and Luxembourg (4/17). In addition to a low transposition rate, these directives have a completeness rate of 6% (it is at 95% for all directives) as only one of the 17 directives has been transposed by all Member States.
  • The long delays cannot be explained only by administrative burdens, the complexity of the directives or short transposition deadlines (time between the adoption of the directive and the date agreed for notifying national transposition measures to the Commission). On these deadlines, if we look at the 17 directives due in the last 6 months, there is an average transposition period of more than 2 years (29.1 months) for the 12 directives adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, and an average transposition period of 6.5 months for the 5 execution directives adopted by the Commission (or by the Council for taxation issues).
  • This shows that most of the Member Statesneed to better plan their transposition and notification process for directives that have to be incorporated into national law. As the Guardian of the Treaties, the Commission launches infringement proceedings for non-communication of the expected national measures within 2 months of the transposition deadline’s passing. 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: (1) Political attention; (2) Careful planning; (3) Starting transposition work while negotiations are still ongoing; (4) Close cooperation with national parliaments. Member States are therefore encouraged to proceed with the necessary steps as early as possible as regards these identified factors, in addition to using tools provided by the Commission. In this context, the Enforcement action plan foresees two concrete actions to improve the transposition and implementation of EU rules: (1) a structured dialogue between Member States and the Commission to be established during the transposition period, and (2) the use of ‘dynamic virtual concordance tables’ to support the transposition process.

Directives under completeness check

Number of directives under completeness check, as of 10 December 2020.

 
Main finding

A large number of notifications (281) of national measures transposing Single Market directives are being examined by the Commission.

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 2020. 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.

Member State
Audiovisual services (2)
Capital goods (44)
Energy incl. Energy
consumption (19)
Environment (161)
Financial information and
company law (17)
Financial services (54)
Free movement of
professionals (10)
Plant-health legislation (163)
Public procurement (11)
Social Policy (90)
Special freedom of
movement arrangements (12)
Taxation (65)
Transport (112)
Others (267)
TOTAL
Spain1 352 1  2 42 20
Cyprus1 242 1  1315 20
Luxembourg1 25  12 23 4 20
Poland1 251 1  1313 18
Bulgaria1 35  1 112 2 16
Slovenia1 151 1  1321 16
Belgium1 34 11     5 15
Czechia112411    3 2 15
Slovakia1 341 1  1111 14
Ireland1 32111   31  13
Croatia1 25 1    2 1 12
Austria 134  1  2  1 12
Romania1 23     12 2 11
Greece1 14  1  11 1 10
Hungary  251   1   1 10
Netherlands  231     1 3 10
Latvia  33  1  1    8
Lithuania1 13        3 8
Malta1 141         7
Sweden  12      2 2 7
Germany1 2   1    11 6
Finland1 14          6
Estonia1 13          5
Italy1         21  4
Denmark  1       11  3
France1  2          3
Portugal      1       1

Directives subject to notification by next Scoreboard

New directives will soon be added to the current transposition deficit (new directives to be transposed and notified by 30 November 2021).

More information

Single Market directives are legal acts 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 includes the four freedoms (freedom of movement of persons, goods, services and capital across borders within the EU), and supporting policies that have 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 information society and media.

With 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) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (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 the Member States not only to 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. In the absence of such indications and in full respect of the principle of proportionality, the Commission can continue to pursue an infringement procedure based on Articles 258 and 260(3) TFEU. 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, and clarified further the calculation and imposition of daily penalties and lump sums for the non-communication cases. Consequently, the Commission proposals under article 260(3) TFEU are binding as regards the maximum amount of the penalty. In the context of 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.

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