SINGLE MARKET SCOREBOARD
Commission Working Document Single Market Scoreboard.
||23 November 2000
|Forwarded to the Council:
||27 November 2000
|Deposited in Parliament:
||11 January 2001|
||Trade and Industry|
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 15 January 2001
The Commission document
14.1 As part of the Single Market Action
Plan (SMAP), agreed in June 1997, the Commission undertook to
produce a "Single Market Scoreboard" during each Presidency
of the European Union. This is the seventh edition.
14.2 The aim of the Scoreboard is to monitor
the functioning of the single market and allow Member States to
compare their performances in certain key areas. This edition
is divided into four parts.
14.3 Part A focuses on progress towards
implementing the target actions that comprise the Internal Market
Strategy. The Commission notes that only 44 of the target actions
due for completion by the end of 2000 would meet this deadline,
although a further 28 are likely to be completed early in 2001.
The Commission then substituted 10 priority target actions to
be completed by December 2000, of which 8 have been completed,
adoption of a directive on copyright
and related rights information society;
adoption of directive on rail safety;
full implementation of the directive
on common rules for the internal market in electricity; and
proposals for removing barriers to trade
14.4 The Commission also notes that reasonable
progress has been made on the Financial Services Action Plan.
14.5 Part B, which usually attracts
most attention, gives an overview of the regulatory environment
in the single market, particularly with regard to the transposition
of EU directives into national law. According to this edition
of the Scoreboard, the percentage of directives not yet implemented
in at least one Member State is 12.8%, compared with 13% reported
in the previous Scoreboard. The UK is in sixth position, with
the percentage of Directives that remain to be transposed having
fallen to 2.7% from 3.3% at the time of the last Scoreboard. Greece,
France and Portugal have the highest deficit on transposing Directives
whereas Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Spain are identified as the
best Members States in dealing with their transposition process.
The variation between the best and the worse performing Member
States has narrowed. In terms of delays, France continues to show
the longest delay in notifying overdue legislation (18 months
compared to 6 months for Spain and 10.6 months for the UK).
14.6 As for infringements, during the period
from January 1998 to December 1999 the UK received 34 letters
of formal notice and 14 reasoned opinions. The UK has the highest
percentage of cases closed (59%), suggesting that the UK is more
prepared to engage in constructive dialogue. The Scoreboard notes
that significant progress has been made in establishing a regulatory
framework for Information Society services.
14.7 Part C reports on the Business
Survey Headline Results. This shows that business satisfaction
with the single market is measured at 64%, up from 62% in the
previous Scoreboard. However, at 59% the UK shows the lowest levels
of business satisfaction whereas the Danes show that they are
the most satisfied (70%). The Explanatory Memorandum states:
"The problem most often cited by businesses
is the cost of making goods and services compatible with differing
national standards or the need to conduct unusual testing and
certification procedures. Other obstacles include distortions
due to state aids, VAT obligations, inadequate mechanisms for
dealing with cross border breaches of contract and discriminatory
tax regimes. Asked what should be done to improve the Internal
Market, nine out of ten businesses said they would like administrative
procedures to be simplified and for rules to be standardised."
14.8 Part D reports on the findings
from the Dialogue with Citizens and Business, specifically the
results of the Business Feedback Mechanism. The report shows that
over a six month period 5,761 responses were registered on a range
of subjects. Overall, an analysis of the findings shows that the
majority of responses from business relate to adapting to new
legislation, especially concerning the euro and standardisation.
The Government's view
14.9 The Minister for Energy and Competitiveness
in Europe (the Rt. Hon. Helen Liddell) comments that the primary
aim of the Scoreboard is to monitor a range of indicators which
reflect the health of the single market. She adds:
"It has no direct policy implications, but nonetheless
has proved extremely useful both as a means of evaluating developments
in the Single Market and as a spur towards greater achievement."
14.10 The Scoreboard provides a useful
source of information on, amongst other things, the relative performance
of Member States in transposing Directives. We duly note the progress
made by the United Kingdom over the six- month period and are
content to clear this document.