European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services
Internal Market Scoreboard
Brussels, 14 February 2008
When the last Scoreboard was published, I was concerned to see that the efforts of Member States had slipped. But I expressed my confidence that Member States would rise to the challenge. I am delighted to see that my optimism was not unfounded. The current Scoreboard is the first to measure the performance of 27 Member States and I am pleased to see that today's "transposition deficit" of 1.2% equals the best-ever result of December 2006.
The two newcomers, Bulgaria and Romania, have an impressively low deficit of 0.8% and therefore deserve specific mention. Their good performance reflects the important efforts made by these countries to take over the acquis prior to their accession.
Turning to the other Member States for a minute: I often hear arguments for or against a multi-speed Europe. But looking at the transposition record of the Member States I feel tempted to say that we already have a multi-speed Europe.
In the fast lane you will find countries such as Slovakia which occupies the pole position with only 9 directives away from a perfect score. Closely followed by Denmark, Latvia and Lithuania with 10 directives overdue. Remarkable progress has also been made by other Member States, in particular Italy and Portugal. For the first time Italy managed to beat the transposition target of 1.5%, by reducing their deficit to 1.3%. Portugal also has made very good progress in the last half year even if it failed to reach the 1.5% deficit target.
In the slow lane you will find countries like the Czech Republic and Luxembourg. They still have a way to go before they are home dry. They need to redouble their efforts. Czech Republic has a deficit three times as high as the average EU deficit. Luxembourg's deficit is double the EU average. No doubt they will feel encouraged by the overall positive results to do their utmost to move closer to the agreed target of 1.0% by 2009.
But let me finish on a positive note: Today's overall result is very good and Member States deserve congratulations on this achievement. What is required now from all Member States is a sustainable effort to improve even further the situation. We need to achieve a transposition deficit below 1.0% by 2009 at the latest. This will require that political priority is given to this work, that procedures are in place to deliver and that the human resources are set aside to make it happen.
The ultimate goal obviously remains that all Member States transpose Internal Market rules within the deadline they have imposed on themselves. But I would be very satisfied if by 2009 Member States have achieved the 1% deficit target