All comparisons are with the figures for 10 December 2020, the previous reporting date.
The last 2 years, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Member State authorities to address pressing priorities and affected their performance in transposing EU rules to some degree. In this context, the Commission has taken a number of extraordinary measures aimed at relieving the strain on Member States’ administrative resources. Nevertheless, it has also made clear that the Member States’ legal obligations to transpose EU directives in time remain unchanged.
Transposition deficit (percentage of all directives not transposed): 2.8% (last report: 1.5%) – a huge increase of 1.3 percentage points (the second highest increase in the reporting period) and the second highest deficit among Member States. Belgium is one of six Member States whose deficit is more than double the 1% target set by the European Council.
EU average = 1.6%; proposed target (in the Single Market Act) = 0.5%
From December 2016, Belgium regularly reduced the number of its overdue directives and went below the 1% threshold in December 2019. It had a 1.5% deficit in the previous reporting period and has now almost doubled this high deficit. In addition, it did not transpose 16 of the 26 single market directives (62%) due to have been transposed in the 6 months before the cut-off date for calculating the deficit (1 June to 30 November 2021). This shows that Belgium may have some difficulties organising the timely transposition of directives. Constraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic did not help. However, transposition is an ongoing process and any let-up may result in the deficit quickly increasing.
Overdue directives: 28 (last report: 15), including 5 on transport, 5 on the environment, 4 on financial services and 4 on connectivity/media/digital society. One directive is more than 2 years overdue (Directive (EU) 2018/1846 amending the Annexes to Directive 2008/68/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the inland transport of dangerous goods to take into account scientific and technical progress).
Average delay in transposing directives: 8.9 months (last report: 4.9 months) – an increase of 4 months. Belgium’s average delay is now longer than the EU average.
EU average = 8.6 months
Belgium has a particularly high backlog. Adding one long-overdue directive (due for 2.5 years) to its backlog was partly offset by 16 out of the 27 other outstanding directives being overdue by less than 6 months.
Conformity deficit (percentage of all directives transposed incorrectly): 1.2% (last report: 1.1%) – a slight increase of 0.1 percentage points.
EU average = 1.3%; proposed target (in the Single Market Act) = 0.5%
The number of new infringement proceedings that the Commission has launched against Member States for incorrectly transposing single market directives has more than halved in 2 years. Nevertheless, the number of ongoing cases is still high. With 12 directives presumed to have been incorrectly transposed, Belgium’s conformity deficit remains below the EU average.
All comparisons are with the figures for 1 December 2020, the previous reporting date.
Pending single market cases: 32 (5 new cases and 11 cases closed, including 6 on transport; last report: 38 pending cases) – a marked decrease of 6 cases (fourth decrease among Member States).
EU average = 27 cases
After the huge increase in the number of cases (+10 cases) in the previous reporting period, Belgium is now moving in the right direction. However, the number of pending cases is still above the EU average.
The Commission launched 120 new cases against Member States in the previous reporting period (besides those for late transposition), and these were still pending on 1 December 2021. A total of 5 cases were launched against Belgium, which is above the EU average of 4 new cases launched in the reporting period. However, 11 Belgian cases have been resolved since December 2020, which is better than the EU average (8).
Problematic sectors: transport (8 cases), in particular transport safety (5); taxation – indirect taxation (5) and direct taxation (1); the environment (5 cases). Together, these make up 59% of all pending cases.
Average case duration: 40.3 months for the 29 single market cases not yet sent to the European Court of Justice (last report: 34.1 months) – this is an increase of 6.2 months, but the duration of cases is still below the EU average.
EU average = 42.8 months
The average duration of Belgian cases has not significantly decreased in the last 3 years (-0.2%). Seven cases have been running for between 6 and 15 years (the oldest cases are on education and air transport). These have a considerable effect on the calculation of the average duration despite the launch of 5 new cases (whose average duration is less than a year) and the resolution of 9 cases with an average duration of around 2 years (including a 9-year-old case on the free movement of people and EU citizenship).
Time taken to comply with Court rulings: 59.4 months for the 7 single market cases at the Court-ruling stage of the procedure and closed in the last 5 years (last report: 30.1 months).
EU average = 46.8 months
Belgium is one of 12 Member States whose average time to comply increased in the reporting period (+29.3 months). Two cases on direct taxation, which took Belgium 30 and 3.9 months to comply with respectively, have now been closed for more than 5 years and are no longer part of the calculation. Of the 7 remaining cases, 1 case on air transport was recently resolved more than 18 years after the Court ruling, with the entry into force of the EU-U.S. Air Transport Agreement (29 June 2020). It took Belgium more than 4 years to comply with 2 other rulings (1 on services and 1 on water management and protection) while only 2 cases were below the 18-month compliance time threshold.
Evolution of infringement cases
Internal Market Information System (Belgium)
Performance – Belgium performed very well.
- Results for four indicators were above the EEA average and in the top ten of results among Member States in the respective areas.
- The percentage of requests answered within the deadline increased significantly.
- The percentage of requests accepted within 1 week decreased, while the overall speed in answering requests increased.
Technical regulations information system (Belgium)
- Caseload – large
Submitted cases: 117 (99 in 2020)
Received cases: 79 (95 in 2020)
- Cases not accepted: 118 (117 in 2020)
- Resolution rate: 88% (91% in 2020)
- Handling time (as home centre)
Reply within 7 days: 88% (85% in 2020) – good
Cases prepared within 30 days: 81% (79% in 2020) – good
Solutions accepted within 7 days: 89% (71% in 2020 ) – good
Cases not accepted within 30 days: 62% (46% in 2020) - poor
- Handling time (as lead centre)
Cases accepted within 7 days: 90% (81% in 2020) – very good
Cases closed within 10 weeks: 58% (72% in 2020) – poor
- Staffing level
Payment delays (Belgium)
In 2022, the average payment delay (the time exceeding the legal or agreed payment terms) by Belgian public authorities was 16 days.
The average number of days needed for a business to have its invoices paid by other businesses (business-to-business payments) was 48.42 days.
Responsive administration and burden of regulation (Belgium)
|Burden of government regulation (survey replies: 1 = worst, 7 = best)||4.3||3.6|
|Digital public services to start and run a business (100% = best performing)||81.0%||n/a|
|Payment delays by public authorities||16 days||15.7 days|
|Time to resolve insolvency||0.9 years||2.0 years|
|Impact of regulation on long-term investment decisions (survey replies)||21.9%||n/a|
Access to public procurement (Belgium)
|No calls for bids||2%||6%|
|Publication rate (value advertised on Tenders Electronic Daily, in % of GDP)||3.4%||5.9%|
|Cooperative procurement (proportion of procedures with more than one buyer)||13%||5%|
|Award criteria (proportion of procedures awarded to cheapest bid)||36%||64%|
|Decision speed (days)||106||99|
|Procedures divided into lots||31%||31%|
|Missing calls for bids||5%||1%|
|Missing seller registration numbers||92%||29%|
|Missing buyer registration numbers||16%||11%|
Note: A typical (mid-ranking) EU country is used for the EU average for all indicators except the publication rate. Due to delays in data availability, publication rate results are based on 2020 data.
Access to services and services markets (Belgium)
|Restrictiveness indicator – architect||3.0||2.5|
|Restrictiveness indicator – accountant||2.3||1.7|
|Restrictiveness indicator – civil engineer||1.0||2.4|
|Restrictiveness indicator – lawyer||3.7||3.4|
|Restrictiveness indicator – real estate agent||2.7||1.3|
|Restrictiveness indicator – patent agent||0.9||2.2|
|Restrictiveness indicator – tourist guide||1.5||1.2|
|Domestic priority letter prices, letter 20 g (2020)||€ 1.21||€ 0.88|
|Intra-EU priority letter prices, letter 20 g (2020)||€ 1.61||€ 1.53|
|Domestic transit times, day+1 performance, priority letters 20 g (2020)||94.0%||84.2%|
Note: The EU restrictiveness indicator (EURI) measures the restrictiveness for the cross-border provision of services and the right of establishment for seven groups of professional services with a high share in EU firms’ intermediate consumption or cross-border mobility. The level of restrictiveness is measured on a scale from 0 (least restrictive) to 6 (most restrictive).
Access to finance (Belgium)
|Access to public financial support (% of SMEs indicating deterioration)||12.8%||11.3%|
|Time to get paid by businesses (2022 survey)||48.4 days||52.5 days|
|Venture capital investments (% of GDP)||0.81%||0.48%|