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): 2.2% (last report: 1.9%) – an increase of 0.3 percentage points. Spain 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%
After years of good results for this criterion, Spain’s performance was seriously affected by the unusually large number of directives the Member States had to transpose in 2016. Constraints due the COVID-19 pandemic did not help. After a clear improvement in December 2019 (1.1%), Spain is now almost back at its deficit of December 2016 (2.4%). In addition, Spain did not transpose 9 of the 26 single market directives (35%) 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 delay, together with 2 directives that are more than 2 years overdue (see below), shows that Spain could organise the timely transposition of directives even better. Transposition is an ongoing process and any let-up may result in the deficit quickly increasing.
Overdue directives: 22 (last report: 20), including 4 on energy and 4 on financial services. Two directives are more than 2 years overdue (Directive 2013/59/EUR on basic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionising radiation and Directive (EU) 2018/1581 amending Council Directive 2009/119/EC as regards the methods for calculating stockholding obligations).
Average delay in transposing directives: 10.5 months (last report: 8.8 months) – an increase of 1.7 months, making Spain the Member State with the fifth longest delay in transposing directives.
EU average = 8.6 months
Spain has 2 outstanding directives that have been due for 2 years of more, 10 directives for between 6 months and 2 years and 10 directives for less than 6 months. The long delay in transposing directives due for a long time is partly offset by the prompt transposition of more recent directives.
Conformity deficit (percentage of all directives transposed incorrectly): 1% (last report: 1.3%) – a decrease of 0.3 percentage points, making Spain’s deficit less than the EU average.
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 10 directives presumed to have been incorrectly transposed, Spain is one of the 9 Member States with the lowest conformity deficit (1% or less).
All comparisons are with the figures for 1 December 2020, the previous reporting date.
Pending single market cases: 49 (3 new cases and 12 cases closed, including 5 on the environment; last report: 58 pending cases) – a substantial decrease of 9 cases (highest decrease in the reporting period) but still well above the EU average.
EU average = 27 cases
Spain has the most pending infringement cases of all Member States (this has been the case since December 2017). However, after 4 consecutive years of increases in the number of cases, this year’s 16% reduction is an impressive step in the right direction.
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 Spain, which is below the EU average of 4 new cases launched in the reporting period. In addition, 12 Spanish cases have been resolved since December 2020, which is better than the EU average (8).
Problematic sectors: the environment (14 cases), including 8 on water protection and management; transport (9), in particular air transport and transport safety (3 cases each); taxation – direct taxation (4) and indirect taxation (1); employment, social affairs and Inclusion (5 cases). Together, these make up 67% of all pending cases.
Average case duration: 55.9 months for the 42 single market cases not yet sent to the European Court of Justice (last report: 46.2 months) – this is a marked increase of 9.7 months – the longest average case duration ever for Spain, and well above the EU average.
EU average = 42.8 months
The average duration of Spanish cases has significantly increased in the last 3 years (+44%). Spain now has the longest average duration of all Member States (up from the fourth longest a year ago). Almost half of Spanish cases (20 out of 42) have been ongoing for a long time, with 1 case on air pollution running for around 13 years, 1 case on air transport for 11 years and 18 other cases running for 5 to 10 years. These longstanding cases significantly increase the average duration, despite the launch of 3 new cases (ongoing for less than 12 months) and the resolution of 10 cases lasting more than 3 years on average (including a 16-year-old case on air transport and a 9-year-old case on information society and media).
Time taken to comply with Court rulings: 23.9 months for the 6 single market cases at the Court-ruling stage of the procedure and closed in the last 5 years (last report: 19.1 months).
EU average = 46.8 months
Spain is one of 12 Member States whose average time to comply increased in the reporting period, though only moderately (+4.8 months). Of the 23 Member States that complied with the Court’s judgments in the last 5 years, it is one of the 5 with the shortest compliance time. Of the 6 cases mentioned above, it took Spain more than 5 years to comply with only 1 case (on waste management). For the 5 other cases, it took 15 months on average to comply.
Evolution of infringement cases
Internal Market Information System (Spain)
Performance – Spain further improved on its already excellent performance.
- Results for all five indicators remained above the EEA average.
- Performance improved for three indicators and remained stable for two.
- The percentage of requests answered within 1 week was the third highest in the EEA, and Spain was in the top 10 for all indicators.
Technical regulations information system (Spain)
- Caseload – very large
Submitted cases: 143 (133 in 2020)
Received cases: 248 (196 in 2020)
Cases not accepted: 246 (200 in 2020)
- Resolution rate: 85% (79% in 2020)
- Handling time (as home centre)
Reply in 7 days: 65% (68% in 2020) – poor
Cases prepared in 30 days: 81% (88% in 2020) – good
Solutions accepted within 7 days: 85% (85% in 2020 ) – good
Cases not accepted within 30 days: 53% (45% in 2020) - poor
- Handling time (as lead centre)
Cases accepted within 7 days: 63% (63% in 2020) – poor
Cases closed in 10 weeks: 60% (63% in 2020) – poor
- Staffing level
Payment delays (Spain)
In 2022, the average payment delay (the time exceeding the legal or contractually agreed payment terms) by Spanish public authorities was 22 days.
The average number of days needed for a business to have its invoices paid by other businesses (business-to-business payments) was 53.91 days.
Responsive administration and burden of regulation (Spain)
|Burden of government regulation (survey replies: 1 = worst, 7 = best)||3.4||3.6|
|Digital public services to start and run a business (100% = best performing)||93.6%||n/a|
|Payment delays by public authorities||22 days||15.7 days|
|Time to resolve insolvency||1.5 years||2.0 years|
|Impact of regulation on long-term investment decisions (survey replies)||53.0%||n/a|
Access to public procurement (Spain)
|No calls for bids||12%||6%|
|Publication rate (value advertised on Tenders Electronics Daily, in % of GDP)||2.7%||5.9%|
|Cooperative procurement (proportion of procedures with more than one buyer)||1%||5%|
|Award criteria (proportion of procedures awarded to cheapest bid)||25%||64%|
|Decision speed (days)||152||99|
|Procedures divided into lots||31%||31%|
|Missing calls for bids||2%||1%|
|Missing seller registration numbers||29%||29%|
|Missing buyer registration numbers||11%||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 (Spain)
|Restrictiveness indicator – architect||2.6||2.5|
|Restrictiveness indicator – accountant||0.0||1.7|
|Restrictiveness indicator – civil engineer||3.0||2.4|
|Restrictiveness indicator – lawyer||3.0||3.4|
|Restrictiveness indicator – real estate agent||0.0||1.3|
|Restrictiveness indicator – patent agent||2.0||2.2|
|Restrictiveness indicator – tourist guide||2.5||1.2|
|Domestic priority letter prices, letter 20 g (2020)||n/a||€ 0.88|
|Intra-EU priority letter prices, letter 20 g (2020)||n/a||€ 1.53|
|Domestic transit times, day+1 performance, priority letters 20 g (2020)||n/a||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 (Spain)
|Access to public financial support (% of SMEs indicating deterioration)||16.6%||11.3%|
|Time to get paid by businesses (2022 survey)||53.9 days||52.5 days|
|Venture capital investments (% of GDP)||0.60%||0.48%|