Answer given by President von der Leyen on behalf of the European Commission
The Commission would dispute the claim that the enforcement of EC law has become weaker over time. It does not consider the number of infringement cases as a meaningful measure of its enforcement effort overall.
Its more strategic and focused use of infringement procedures, as set out in its 2016 Communication, has given priority to tackling breaches with the biggest impact on the interests of citizens and businesses.
While the Commission is the Guardian of the Treaties, effective application and enforcement requires a combined effort. It needs other actors to play their part as well, from national courts and judges to administrations, or specialised authorities like consumer authorities, as well as non-governmental organisations, businesses and citizens.
The Commission’s goal is to ensure that the benefits of EC law are enjoyed by citizens and businesses as quickly as possible. Addressing implementation challenges when proposals are being developed and offering guidance to Member States are both ways to prevent the emergence of problems early on.
The Commission has increased its efforts to give practical support to Member States to correctly transpose EC law. When breaches occur, engaging with Member States to remedy the problems swiftly is also desirable.
Nevertheless, infringement procedures remain a key tool to ensure compliance. The Commission has notably incentivised earlier transposition of EC law into national law, with a systematic request for financial penalties if Member States are late.
-  Communication from the Commission — EC law: Better results through better application, OJ C 18, 19.1.2017, p. 10.