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Procedure : 2008/2056(INI)
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Document selected : A6-0272/2008

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PV 22/09/2008 - 25
CRE 22/09/2008 - 25

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Tuesday, 23 September 2008 - Brussels
Internal Market Scoreboard

European Parliament resolution of 23 September 2008 on the Internal Market Scoreboard (2008/2056(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Internal Market Scoreboard no 16 bis of 14 February 2008 (SEC(2008)0076),

–   having regard to its resolution of 4 September 2007 on the Single Market Review: tackling barriers and inefficiencies through better implementation and enforcement(1),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 20 November 2007 entitled "A single market for 21st century Europe" (COM(2007)0724),

–   having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement on better law-making(2),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 30 January 2008 entitled "Second strategic review of Better Regulation in the European Union" (COM(2008)0032),

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 8 and 9 March 2007, which endorsed the Action Programme for Reducing Administrative Burdens in the EU, established an EU target of a 25% reduction in administrative burdens, and called on Member States to set equivalent targets at national level,

–   having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 20 November 2007 entitled "Implementing the new methodology for product market and sector monitoring: Results of a first sector screening - Accompanying document to the Communication from the Commission - A single market for 21st century Europe" (SEC(2007)1517),

–   having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 20 November 2007 entitled "Instruments for a modernised single market policy - Accompanying document to the Communication from the Commission - A single market for 21st century Europe" (SEC(2007)1518),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 29 January 2008 entitled "Monitoring consumer outcomes in the single market: the Consumer Markets Scoreboard" (COM(2008)0031),

–   having regard to the Conclusions of the Council (Competitiveness - Internal Market, Industry and Research) of 25 February 2008 on a single market for 21st century Europe,

–   having regard to rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A6-0272/2008),

A.   whereas it welcomes the publication of the Internal Market Scoreboard, which helps to reduce the transposition deficit,

B.   whereas all Member States are legally obliged to transpose all Internal Market directives within the prescribed deadlines,

C.   whereas the Scoreboard primarily aims at stimulating Member States to ensure timely transposition,

D.   whereas the current deficit of 1,2% is below the future target of 1,0% agreed by the Heads of State and Government in 2007,

E.   whereas the fragmentation factor is 8%, meaning that 124 directives have not been transposed in at least one Member State,

F.   whereas there are disparities between the transposition levels registered in the various Member States,

G.   whereas a directive may not be fully effective, even though it has been quickly and properly transposed, in particular when its implementation generates situations of legal uncertainty which lead to proceedings before the European Court of Justice and hamper the effective functioning of the Internal Market,

H.   whereas the number of open infringement proceedings is still very high and a large number of these infringements relates to absent or incorrect transposition,

I.   whereas unfair advantage can be attained by the evasion of certain directives and a lack of transposition or incorrect transposition,

J.   whereas the implementation of Internal Market directives is crucial for the achievement of the Lisbon and Göteborg Sustainable Development Agenda,

K.   whereas the average time for an infringement proceeding to be brought to the European Court of Justice exceeds 20 months,

L.   whereas some Member States do not respect the rulings of the European Court of Justice in infringement cases, which is of further detriment of the functioning of the Internal Market,

M.   whereas the administrative burden is too onerous in the Member States, which is a result of both national and Community legislation;

Implementation - the basis of the Internal Market

1.  Stresses that timely implementation, correct transposition and correct application of Internal Market directives is a prerequisite for the effective functioning of the Internal Market, and has implications also for competitiveness and the economic and social balance within the EU;

2.  Underlines the importance of ownership of the Internal Market at national, regional and local levels; underlines the Commission's role to create partnerships in the related policy-making process to this end;

3.  Recalls that from 2009 the transposition deficit target is set at 1,0%; urges Member States to take action to attain this objective;

4.  Urges those Member States with a particularly high deficit to take immediate action and the Commission to work closely with them with a view to improving the situation; notes that some Member Sates have proven that it is possible to significantly and rapidly reduce the deficit;

5.  Recalls that the high fragmentation factor must urgently be dealt with by the Member States as well as the Commission;

6.  Regrets that Member States sometimes add additional requirements when transposing directives into national law; holds the view that this so-called 'gold plating' hampers the effective functioning of the Internal Market;

7.  Holds the view that a strong, open and competitive Internal Market acts as an essential part of Europe's response to the challenges of globalisation by promoting the competitiveness of European industry, reinforces incentives for foreign investments, and ensures consumers' rights in Europe; the external dimension should be taken into consideration by the Commission when adopting new Internal Market initiatives;

8.  Recalls that in an open and competitive Internal Market, better targeted and more stringent tools are needed to improve the fight against counterfeiting and piracy;

9.  Calls on the Member States to urgently address correct transposition and application of Internal Market directives through the use of existing guidelines and best practices; urges the development of more accurate tools to address the deficiency;

10.  Calls on the Commission to speed up the process of solving disputes at an early stage and to highlight those infringements with the most serious consequences for European citizens; also encourages the Commission to produce a compilation of infringement proceedings brought before the European Court of Justice in order to provide detailed information on the offence in question;

11.  Calls on the Member States to fulfil their obligations in accordance with the rulings of the European Court of Justice;

Developing the Scoreboard as a tool for policy-making

12.  Takes the view that while the Scoreboard should primarily serve to encourage timely and correct transposition, it could be further developed as a tool assisting policy makers in identifying obstacles and barriers and in pinpointing where new initiatives are called for; calls on the Commission to widen and deepen the range of information and indicators included in the Scoreboard, inter alia quality, social conditions of workers and the impact on the environment and climate change;

13.  Calls on the Commission to include an easily comprehensible summary in future Scoreboards to increase accessibility for citizens and other stakeholders; encourages relevant EU and national bodies to publish the Scoreboard on their websites and to step up efforts to promote the Scoreboard to the media;

14.  Regrets that the Scoreboard does not provide information concerning directives which have not been transposed; takes the view that certain directives, for example Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market(3), are more important for the effective functioning of the Internal Market than others; calls on the Commission to consider indicators that better reflect the relative importance of directives for industry and citizens within various sectors; holds the view that impact assessments carried out by the Commission may be of relevance for this purpose;

15.  Recalls that the quality of Community legislation and its implementation is of major importance to the proper functioning of the Internal Market, and that the number of cases before the European Court of Justice related to unclear provisions and incorrect implementation of secondary legislation demonstrates the need to draft Community legislation more precisely; therefore calls on the Commission to introduce indicators in the Scoreboard regarding the number of proceedings before the European Court of Justice concerning quality of secondary legislation, as well as its incorrect implementation;

16.  Welcomes the Commission's intention to introduce a more systematic approach to monitoring the functioning of key goods and services markets in order to uncover market failures and promote more effective policy instruments; hence calls for the inclusion of more sector-specific and Member State-specific information in the Scoreboard and for the inclusion of accurate information; calls for the inclusion also of indicators relating to cross-border aspects of public procurement;

17.  Calls on the Commission to ensure, in accordance with point 34 of the Interinstitutional Agreement on better law-making, that all of its proposals for directives contain a specific provision requiring Member States to draw up tables illustrating the correlation between the act in question and the transposition measures, and to communicate those tables to the Commission; regrets in this respect that Member States are watering down the efforts of the Commission and Parliament as regards transparency by opposing the clause or making the clause a non-binding recital;

18.  Considers the achievement of the Lisbon and Göteborg Sustainable Development Agenda to be a political priority, and emphasises in particular the importance of implementing those directives which are necessary for its achievement; calls on the Council to give Internal Market issues a leading role within the revised strategy post-2010;

19.  Welcomes the Commission's intention to develop instruments improving Single Market policy and tools by making Single Market policy more evidence-based, targeted, decentralised and accessible, as well as better communicated;

20.  Calls on the Commission, through sector inquiries, business surveys, consumer surveys or other means, to evaluate the quality and coherence of implementation in the Member States in order to guarantee the effective functioning of legislation;

21.  Underlines the fact that late and incorrect implementation deprives consumers and undertakings of their rights, causes harm to the European economy and undermines confidence in the Internal Market; calls on the Commission to develop indicators measuring the costs incurred by citizens and industry as a result of late and incorrect transposition, and calls on the Commission also to develop indicators reflecting the relationship between transposition performance and infringement proceedings brought against Member States;

22.  Welcomes the Commission's intention to table further better regulation initiatives, in particular to improve impact assessments and to reduce administrative burdens, as this will contribute to the more effective functioning of the Internal Market; holds the view that work on these issues is interlinked and needs to be approached in a consistent way;

23.  Welcomes the target of reducing administrative burdens within the EU by 25% by 2012; calls on the Member States to take action to achieve this aim; holds the view that the Scoreboard should measure efforts and progress at national and Community level related to this; therefore calls on the Commission to reflect on including a chapter in the Scoreboard on this issue;

24.  Regrets that citizens still face many obstacles in relation to free movement within the Internal Market; notes in this context that 15% of SOLVIT cases handled in 2007 were related to free movement of persons and EU citizenship; calls therefore on Member States and the Commission to step up efforts to ensure the free movement of persons; calls in particular on Member States to establish one-stop shops to assist people on all legal and practical matters when moving within the Internal Market; also calls on the Commission to develop indicators to be included in the Scoreboard which measure obstacles to the free movement of persons;

25.  Reiterates the aim of making Internal Market legislation work better; takes the view that improved implementation also depends on the development of practical co-operation and partnership between administrations; calls on the Member States and the Commission to further develop systems of exchange of best practices; stresses that, due to the number of authorities at local, regional and national level, there is a need to actively promote and support administrative cooperation and simplification; points out that the Internal Market Information system has the potential to play a major role to this end;

26.  Calls on Member States to establish national Internal Market centres to promote the coordination, simplification and political visibility of their efforts to make the Internal Market work; underlines that such centres should be placed within existing entities, for example with the national Single Contact Points; urges Member States to ensure improved practical knowledge of EU law at all levels of national administrations to ensure that citizens and businesses do not face unnecessary burdens and obstacles resulting from a lack of understanding of the rules;

27.  Welcomes the Commission's work to establish partnerships with the Member States in the implementation process through working groups, networks in specific sectors, meetings with national experts and implementation guidelines; believes that the Commission's work with the implementation of Directive 2006/123/EC will prove to be a success to be repeated in the future; stresses that Parliament should be continuously informed about implementation processes;

28.  Highlights that implementation problems are often detected through the SOLVIT network; notes with concern that SOLVIT centres are often understaffed, and that the average handling time of a case is more than 10 weeks; calls on the Member States to ensure that SOLVIT centres are properly staffed, and calls on the Member States and the Commission to improve administrative efficiency in order to shorten the handling time considerably; calls furthermore on Member States to make a bigger effort in promoting the services of the SOLVIT network through the appropriate information channels in order to increase citizens' and businesses' awareness of SOLVIT;

29.  Welcomes the Commission's intention to improve the filtering of enquiries and complaints by businesses and citizens through SOLVIT and other Single Market Assistance Services to ensure that they are directed immediately to the right administrative body regardless of which network they are tabled through; emphasises that experiences from SOLVIT should be fed into national and EU policy-making, resulting in structural or regulatory changes where necessary;

30.  Calls on the Commission, in cooperation with Parliament and the Presidency of the Council, to hold a yearly Internal Market Forum with participation of the Member States and other stakeholders in order to establish a clearer commitment to proper implementation in due time and to provide an arena for benchmarking and exchange of best practices;

31.  Calls on the Council to give a higher priority to Internal Market issues either by establishing a new Council formation addressing these questions or by giving them top priority on the agenda in the existing Competitiveness Council;

32.  Recalls its above-mentioned resolution on the Single Market Review, where it called for the Commission to establish an Internal Market Test; calls on the Commission to take action to introduce such a test;

The Internal Market and Consumer Markets Scoreboards

33.  Holds the view that the Internal Market Scoreboard and the Consumer Markets Scoreboard both serve to promote an improved Internal Market to the benefit of citizens and consumers;

34.  Welcomes the Commission's intention to ensure a better communicated Internal Market, and holds the view that the two Scoreboards are important steps in that direction;

35.  Emphasises that while the two Scoreboards are interlinked and that it is important to promote their coherent development, they have however different target addressees and hence should be kept separate with different sets of indicators;

36.  Holds the view that a review of the indicators used as well as the relationship between the two Scoreboards should be carried out on a regular basis in order to adapt them to development in the Internal Market;

o   o

37.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ C 187 E, 24.7.2008, p. 80.
(2) OJ C 321, 31.12.2003, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 36.

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