14th May 2021

Czech Republic, Portugal worst in EU law implementation

The European Commission has praised EU member states for improving their implementation of the bloc's internal market laws, with Bulgaria emerging as best pupil and the Czech Republic and Portugal as implementation laggards.

Brussels said that a goal set by EU leaders last year of not having more than one percent of EU laws not implemented has now been reached.

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"I am delighted that member states have reached the new one percent target well ahead of the deadline. This is a remarkable feat and deserves special praise. I hope that this very positive trend will continue," internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy said on Wednesday (9 July).

"I strongly encourage those member states who have not yet reached the one percent target to do so over the course of 2008," he added.

Bulgaria, which joined the EU on 1 January 2007, tops the list of best performers, having transposed all EU directives.

It is followed by Slovakia, Romania, Germany and Latvia with respectively six, seven, nine and ten laws left to implement.

At the other end of the scale, the Czech Republic and Portugal trail the scoreboard, with 42 and 32 directives respectively still to transpose into national law. They are followed by Poland, Luxembourg and Cyprus.

And while Luxembourg, the Czech Republic and Portugal have reduced their deficits in the last months, Cyprus has increased its negative score for the third consecutive time and is currently "the biggest cause for concern," according to Brussels.

But Mr McCreevy noted that transcribing EU laws to the national level is not enough, as the internal market also needs to function well. The commissioner said that in the future he would increasingly focus on how the laws work in practice and working with national capitals to improve their performance.

"I think we are moving in the right direction," said the commissioner, adding: "Of course, perfection is to be hoped for, but is rarely, if ever, achieved in life."

Fewer infringement cases

The main areas where member states are slow to implement EU laws remain the free movement of people and financial services.

The commission's regular six-month scoreboard also includes a report on how many infringement procedures have been engaged against the bloc's members.

It registered almost the same number of infringement cases as six months ago – 48 compared to 49 – but 15 member states have managed to reduce the number of procedures against them.

Romania, Bulgaria and Lithuania have the least infringement cases, while France, Spain and Italy have the most.

The highest number of procedures have been launched in the fields of environmental, taxation and customs rules.

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