Commission lauds ‘best ever’ internal market score

Latest figures show that Member States have achieved their best result as regards the transposition of EU law into national legislation, with Italy finishing at the bottom of the pack.

The Commission’s Internal Market Scorecard shows that an average of only 1.2% of Internal Market directives have not become national law by implementation deadline. This figure is down from 1.9% in July 2006 and is below a 1.5% target set by the Heads of State in July 2001.

Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy asked for further progress: “I encourage them now to push on to the real target — of zero deficit — and to make sure they apply the rules they have signed up to correctly and fairly.”

Italy performed worst among member states with “three times the ‘average’ amount of infringement proceedings for incorrect transposition or incorrect application of Internal Market rules”, a total which amounted to 161 legal actions open against the country. “Spain, France, Greece, Germany, Portugal and Belgium are also high above the average,” the Commission added.

Meanwhile, an increase in infringement proceedings against Poland last year was described as ‘an alarming development’. It had twice the average number of infringements compared with other new Member States.

Germany Minister for the Economy, Michael Glos said that the German Presidency would strive for tougher targets: “In the context of the German Presidency, we have suggested that the current target of a maximum implementation deficit of 1.5 percent be lowered to 1 percent,” he said.

However, most EU states failed to introduce the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) directive into national law by 31 January 2007, one of the most far-reaching reforms of the EU’s financial markets in over a decade. Only Britain and Bulgaria met the deadline with Ireland set to follow imminently.

Commissioner McCreevy said that he would consider acting in mid-February against those states which fail to introduce the directive on time.

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