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Single Market Scoreboard

Country data: Portugal

Transposition (Portugal)

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): 1.4% (last report: 0.1%) – a huge increase of 1.3 percentage points (the second highest increase in the reporting period). Portugal is one of six Member States whose deficit more than double in a year (the Portuguese deficit even increased thirteenfold). Consequently, the country missed the 1% target set by the European Council.
EU average = 1.6%; proposed target (in the Single Market Act) = 0.5%

In the previous reporting period, Portugal had achieved its best result ever. It had the highest decrease among Member States and the lowest transposition deficit. Portugal had had the highest overall deficit 4 years earlier, so these results were impressive. However, transposition is an ongoing process and any let-up may result in the deficit quickly increasing. Constraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic have probably sent Portugal in the wrong direction. It did not transpose 31% of the single market directives (8 out of 26) 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 Portugal faced some difficulties in staying focused on the timely transposition of the directives in these challenging times.

Overdue directives: 14 (last report: 1). No sector in particular to mention. No directive is more than 2 years overdue.

Average delay in transposing directives: 6.5 months (last report: 4 months) – an increase of 2.5 months, but the delay is still shorter than the EU average.
EU average = 8.6 months

In the previous reporting period, Portugal had only 1 outstanding directive. It added 13 directives to its backlog in a year. Five outstanding directives have been overdue for between 6 and 12 months and the other 9 directives for less than 6 months.

Conformity deficit (percentage of all directives transposed incorrectly): 1.1% (last report: 1.3%) – a decrease of 0.2 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 11 directives presumed to have been incorrectly transposed, Portugal’s conformity deficit is below the EU average.

Evolution of transposition deficit


Evolution of conformity deficit


Infringements (Portugal)

All comparisons are with the figures for 1 December 2020, the previous reporting date.


Pending single market cases: 28 (3 new cases, including 2 concerning nuclear safety and radioactive waste, and 12 cases closed, including 6 on transport (mainly sustainable and intelligent transport) and 3 on energy; last report: 37 pending cases) – a huge decrease of 9 cases (the highest decrease among Member States) and just above the EU average number of cases.             
EU average = 27 cases

The change in the number of Portuguese cases often resembles a roller-coaster ride, significantly increasing and decreasing from one year to another. After the impressive decrease of 14 cases between December 2017 and December 2018 and the similarly impressive increase of 11 cases between December 2018 and December 2020, Portugal managed to reduce its number of pending cases by 24% in the reporting period (- 9 cases). As a result, it is no longer among the 10 Member States with the highest number of pending cases.

The Commission launched 120 new cases against Member States in the reporting period (besides those for late transposition), and these were still pending on 1 December 2021. A total of 3  cases were launched against Portugal, which is under the EU average of 4 new cases launched in the reporting period. In addition, 12 Portuguese cases have been resolved since December 2020, which is much better than the EU average (8).

Problematic sectors: transport (7 cases), in particular air transport (3); the environment (6); services and professions (4). Together, these make up 61% of all pending cases.

Average case duration: 47.6 months for the 23 single market cases not yet sent to the European Court of Justice (last report: 42.8 months) – this is an increase of 4.8 months and the duration of cases is longer than the EU average.  
EU average = 42.8 months

The average duration of Portuguese cases has decreased by 4% in the last 3 years. Five Portuguese cases on indirect taxation, air transport, waste management and air pollution have been ongoing for between 7 and 15 years. These have a considerable effect on the calculation of the average duration. Nevertheless, the launch of 3 new cases (less than 1 year old) and the resolution of 10 cases with an average duration of almost 4 years (in particular a 16-year-old case on air transport and a 11-year-old case on employment, social affairs and inclusion) have a positive impact on the final result.

Time taken to comply with Court rulings: 41.8 months for the 10 single market cases at the Court-ruling stage of the procedure and closed in the last 5 years (last report: 43.6 months).   
EU average = 46.8 months

Portugal is one of four Member States whose average time to comply decreased in the reporting period, although to a moderate extent (-1.8 months). This is mainly because 1 case that took Portugal quite long (42 months) to comply with has now been closed for more than 5 years and is no longer part of the calculation.

Evolution of infringement cases


Internal Market Information System (Portugal)

Performance – Portugal performed poorly.

  • Results for all indicators were below the EEA average.
  • Performance decreased, in some cases significantly, for all indicators.
  • Efforts are needed to improve performance.
Requests accepted within one week (%)
Requests answered by the deadline agreed in IMI (%)
Satisfaction with timeliness of replies - as rated by counterparts (%)
Satisfaction with efforts made - as rated by counterparts (%)
Speed in answering requests (days)

Technical regulations information system (Portugal)


SOLVIT (Portugal)

  • Caseloadlarge
    Submitted cases: 138 (127 in 2020)
    Received cases: 163 (136 in 2020)

Cases not accepted: 82 (91 in 2020)

  • Resolution rate: 93% (94% in 2020)
  • Handling time (as home centre)
    Reply within 7 days: 97% (96% in 2020) – very good
    Cases prepared within 30 days: 88% (90% in 2020) – good
    Solutions accepted within 7 days: 95% (98% in 2020 ) – very good

Cases not accepted within 30 days: 91% (67% in 2020) – very good

  • Handling time (as lead centre)
    Cases accepted within 7 days:  99% (100% in 2020) very good
    Cases closed in 10 weeks:  46% (46% in 2020) – very poor
  • Staffing level

Payment delays (Portugal)

In 2022, the average payment delay (the time exceeding the legal or contractually agreed payment terms) by Portuguese public authorities was 10 days.

The average number of days needed for a business to have its invoices paid by other businesses (business-to-business payments) was 57.35 days.

Responsive administration and burden of regulation (Portugal)

Indicator 2021 EU average
Burden of government regulation (survey replies: 1 = worst, 7 = best) 3.3   3.6  
Digital public services to start and run a business (100% = best performing) 81.9% n/a  
Payment delays by public authorities 10 days 15.7 days
Time to resolve insolvency 3.0 years 2.0 years
Impact of regulation on long-term investment decisions (survey replies) 32.3% n/a  

Access to public procurement (Portugal)

Indicator 2021 EU average
Single bidder 20% 25%
No calls for bids 7% 6%
Publication rate (value advertised on Tenders Electronic Daily, in % of GDP) 2.2% 5.9%
Cooperative procurement (proportion of procedures with more than one buyer) 5% 5%
Award criteria (proportion of procedures awarded to cheapest bid) 64% 64%
Decision speed (days) 99   99  
SME contractors 44% 61%
SME bids 55% 73%
Procedures divided into lots 35% 31%
Missing calls for bids 3% 1%
Missing seller registration numbers 60% 29%
Missing buyer registration numbers 27% 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 (Portugal)

Indicator 2021 EU average
Restrictiveness indicator – architect 3.2   2.5  
Restrictiveness indicator – accountant 3.4   1.7  
Restrictiveness indicator – civil engineer 2.8   2.4  
Restrictiveness indicator – lawyer 3.6   3.4  
Restrictiveness indicator – real estate agent 0.4   1.3  
Restrictiveness indicator – patent agent 1.7   2.2  
Restrictiveness indicator – tourist guide 2.7   1.2  
Domestic priority letter prices, letter 20 g (2020) € 0.65 € 0.88
Intra-EU priority letter prices, letter 20 g (2020) € 0.86 € 1.53
Domestic transit times, day+1 performance, priority letters 20 g (2020) 80.3% 84.2%

Note: The EU restrictiveness indicator (EURI) measures the level of 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 (Portugal)

Indicator 2021 EU average
Access to public financial support (% of SMEs indicating deterioration) 13.5%  11.3% 
Time to get paid by businesses (2022 survey) 57.4 days 52.5 days
Venture capital investments (% of GDP) 0.34% 0.48%
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