Since last summer, EU countries have stepped up their efforts to make it easier to live, work or do business in another EU country, according to the latest edition of the Single Market Scoreboard released by the European Commission today.
The Scoreboard indicates to what extent EU Member States and European Free Trade Area (EFTA) countries implement EU rules that are there to help citizens prosper in the single market; how Member States cooperate in a number of policy fields where coordination is essential; and how much information and assistance they provide to citizens and businesses on their opportunities within Europe.
The Scoreboard provides country-specific information and analyses in detail how certain governance tools function and policies are applied in each country. The scope of the Single Market Scoreboard has been extended to two specific policy areas: public procurement and postal services.
A "traffic light” chart shows at a glance how individual Member States have performed in terms of the governance tools and policy areas monitored, including the correct transposition of EU directives, infringement proceedings, administrative cooperation networks and various information and problem-solving services. The Commission has given red, yellow and green 'cards' based on their performance in the given fields.
Of the 11 EU countries that performed better than the EU average in all areas monitored, the most impressive result was achieved by Estonia (8 "green cards") and Finland (7 "green cards"). 31 times Member States' performance was below average which resulted in "red cards".
EU countries have significantly improved their performance since the last edition of the Scoreboard (IP/14/205). The Commission has now given 109 green cards (compared to 99 in February 2014), 106 yellow (up from 94 in February 2014) and 20 red (down from 30 in February 2014). This does not include public procurement figures as they are published for the first time.
During the last six months the average transposition deficit - the percentage of Single Market Directives that have not been transposed into national law in time - has remained unchanged at 0.7%. Despite having joined the EU only recently, Croatia scores best with only 0.1% while Italy reached its best result ever (0.7%) by halving its previous deficit. Greece, Finland and the United Kingdom also reached their best result ever. On the negative side, five Member States remain above the 1% target.
On Single Market related infringement proceedings, the EU average number of pending cases has increased for the first time since November 2008, which shows that, after a constant decrease of this global number (mainly due to the establishment of early problem-solving systems like SOLVIT and EU-Pilot), the situation seems to have stabilised. The major concerns continue to be mainly in the areas of the environment, taxation and transport.
The Commission has compared several aspects of public procurement in European Economic Area (EEA) countries. It examined the participation rate of bidders, which gives an indication of levels of competition and red tape; the accessibility of tenders to bidders; and the efficiency of procurement procedures. The best EU performers in this regard were Sweden, Luxembourg and Finland; the worst were Italy, Greece, and Cyprus. Overall, in the areas analysed, 8 of the 12 EU Member States who joined the EU in 2004 and 2007 tend to underperform. The results also highlight significant differences in the quality of reporting by Member States.
In the field of postal services it can be observed that domestic postal transit times are still faster in the west and south of Europe than in the east. Cross-border priority mail sometimes can cost twice as much as the domestic equivalent.
Prices for domestic and cross-border mail are quite divergent in nearly all Member States. Finland is the only country that does not make any difference between the price of delivery within the country or to another EU Member State.