Answer given by President von der Leyen on behalf of the European Commission
The correct implementation of EC law requires a number of measures to be taken by Member States to transpose Union law into national law and to apply it correctly. Successive Commissions have been giving priority to preventing infringements from occurring in the first place.
The Commission works with Member States through guidance, technical assistance and other forms of follow-up and support to ensure the correct transposition and application of EC law as early as possible in the process.
The increased focus on prevention has made it possible to settle 90% of cases through structured dialogue before reaching the Court of Justice of the EU, saving time and taxpayers’ money as well as accelerating the date when citizens see the benefits of EC law in practice.
Where, notwithstanding these efforts, there are still breaches of EC law, the Commission has a clear enforcement policy to start infringement procedures and to take them forward to ensure that the breach is remedied or that the matter is taken to the Court of Justice of the EU.
A particular focus has been the timely transposition of directives. The drop in numbers referred to in the study is largely linked to reducing the cases where Member States miss the deadline to transpose directives.
This has halved since 2012, from around 1 000 to around 500 cases a year. These cases are triggered automatically and the Commission systematically recurs to financial sanctions, which act as a deterrent.
-  See for example ‘A Europe of Results — Applying Community Law’, COM(2007) 502 of 5 September 2007, and ‘EC law: Better results through better application’, C/2016/8600 of 23 December 2016.
-  https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/annual-reports-monitoring-application-eu-law_en
-  https://ec.europa.eu/atwork/applying-eu-law/infringements-proceedings/infringement_decisions/?lang_code=en