SINGLE MARKET SCOREBOARD
Commission Working Document Single Market Scoreboard.
|Document originated:||29 November 2001
|Forwarded to the Council:
||30 November 2001|
|Deposited in Parliament:
||31 January 2002 |
|Department:||Trade and Industry
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 13 February 2002|
|Previous Committee Report:
|Committee's assessment:||Politically important
|Committee's decision:||Cleared, but further information requested
12.1 As part of the Single Market Action Plan agreed
in June 1997, the Commission undertook to produce a "Single
Market Scoreboard" during each Presidency of the European
Union. This is the eighth edition.
12.2 The purpose of the Scoreboard is to monitor the
functioning of the single market and allow Member States to compare
their performance in certain key areas.
12.3 This edition is divided into three parts: part one
deals with "Implementing the Internal Market's Legal Framework";
part two deals with "Completing the Internal Market";
and part three discusses a survey of the "Regulatory Environment"
that was commissioned by the European Commission. The main findings
of each part are summarised by the Commission as follows.
Implementing the Internal Market's Legal Framework
" The average transposition deficit has been
reduced to 2% since the May Scoreboard. However, 10% of directives
have not yet been transposed in all Member States.
- Finland, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Spain currently
meet the 1.5% deficit target set by the European Council for Spring
- Finland and Greece have made most progress since May.
However, the UK, France and Germany have not made as much headway
as could have been expected.
- The average deficit in the social policy field is 5.4%. Austria
and Belgium have deficits in double digits. The average deficit
for the environment is 6.2% where France, Germany, Spain and the
UK have the worst record.
- The number of Internal Market infringement proceedings is
about 1,500. France and Italy are responsible for nearly 30% of
- Only about one third of infringement cases are settled early.
None of the Member States have a good record here. When infringements
go to Court, it usually takes several years before they are settled.
Belgium is the Member State that has failed to execute Court rulings
- Problems remain with European standards, particularly for
construction products and the machinery sector. Adopting standards
can take up to 8 years."
Completing the Internal Market
" 63% of the Internal Market Strategy's target
actions due by the
end of 2001 are expected to be completed on time. This is better
than last year, but still disappointing.
- The new Internal Market Index shows that there has been gradual,
but slow, improvement in the functioning of the Internal Market
(from 100 in 1996 to 105.1 in 2000).
- Progress on the Financial Services Action Plan is on track,
but much work remains to be done."
Survey of the Quality of the Union's Regulatory Environment
" Dutch companies are most satisfied with
the quality of regulation that applies to them; German and French
companies are the least satisfied. Product conformity is the number
one regulatory concern for companies in Europe.
- The Commission estimates that euro50 billion could be saved
with better quality legislation.
- Most companies have not yet felt any impact from governments'
attempts to simplify legislation, particularly companies in France,
Germany and Denmark.
- Finland is perceived to be the easiest Member State to trade
with; the UK and Italy the most difficult."
The Government's view
12.4 In her Explanatory Memorandum of 13 February 2002,
the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Competition, Consumers
and Markets (Miss Melanie Johnson) told us:
"The primary aim of the Scoreboard is to monitor a range
of indicators which reflect the health of the Single Market. 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. For
example, the Commission's Internal Market Strategy lists the four
strategic objectives of the Lisbon Summit and developments in
this. It is one way of monitoring how work is progressing and
picking up on areas of difficulty. The Scoreboard helps to maintain
the pressure on Member States to implement European legislation
on time and enables both the Commission and Member States to identify
problems. This in turn provides a basis for improving the regulatory
"The section focussing on attitudes to the Union's Regulatory
Environment provides valuable data on companies perception and
indicates where companies would like improvements to be made.
Similarly, Financial Services Action Plan highlights the case
for European financial integration as a motor for growth and employment.
For these reasons, the Government supports the continued use and
development of the Single Market Scoreboard"
12.5 The Scoreboard provides a useful source of information
on, amongst other things, the relative performance of Member States
in transposing Directives. The document states that all countries
moved towards the target, except Luxembourg. Greece, France and
Austria have the largest deficit in transposing Directives whereas
Finland, Denmark and Sweden are identified as the best Member
States in dealing with transposition. We were pleased to note
that, of the major Member States, the UK has the lowest number
of infringement cases before the European Court of Justice. However,
on a number of other indicators, the UK's relative performance
is poor. For example, overall, the UK is ranked twelfth, with
2.8% of national implementing measures overdue compared with a
target of 1.5% and an EU average of 2%. We were surprised that
the Minister did not provide any explanation for this relatively
poor performance nor any indication of what the Government is
proposing to do to improve it. We were also concerned that the
Minister has not provided any explanation of the document's observation
that the UK is one of the most difficult countries to trade with.
12.6 We ask the Minister to provide this further information.
Meanwhile, we are content to clear the document.
of priority targets missed include the Take-over Bids Directive
and the Directive on protection of Biotechnological Inventions. Back