|Author (Person)||Cordes, Renée|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.4, No.33, 17.9.98, p2, 13 (editorial)|
|Content Type||Journal | Series | Blog|
THE European Commission and the Austrian presidency are stepping up pressure on EU governments to meet tight deadlines for adopting single market laws in time for the euro's birth in January.
They will call on internal market ministers, at their meeting in Brussels next week, to stick to the timetables set out in an action plan agreed at last June's Amsterdam summit and to implement all key outstanding EU directives by the end of 1998.
"The complete, effective and timely implementation of directives in all member states as well as the proper and efficient enforcement of Community rules is a basic precondition for the smooth operation of the single market," states the presidency in a paper to be discussed at next Thursday's (24 September) gathering.
Although member states have made substantial progress in putting EU directives on to national statute books in accordance with the action plan, a diplomat said that many "still need goading and prodding". Another said the internal market was "not functioning properly" because of enforcement problems.
The Commission said earlier this year that it would "remain vigilant" in identifying practices which hampered the free movement of goods, products, services and people.
Vienna will also press the Commission to use "informal procedures" to deal with implementation problems as they arise.
The action plan was originally intended to foster better administrative cooperation and give the EU a benchmark for judging countries' progress in implementing single market rules. Results are published twice a year in the form of a Commission 'scoreboard'.
"The scoreboard is evolving into an excellent management tool for monitoring the functioning of the single market," said Internal Market Commissioner Mario Monti earlier this year. "By putting objective information on the single market performance of the Commission and member states in the public eye, we can help to tackle remaining single market obstacles."
In May, the scoreboard noted a "worrying shortfall" between governments' goals for putting legislation into effect at the national level and their record in doing so. While more than one third of action plan commitments were met, the Comm-ission nevertheless called on member states to accelerate implementation.
Some ministers are also expected to push for the scoreboard to be published four times a year rather than twice to 'name and shame' countries who fail to stick to timetables.
Draft conclusions drawn up by the Austrian presidency ahead of next week's meeting also call on the Commission to speed up its procedures for dealing with violations of single market laws, improving on the reforms introduced in 1996.
Since then, the Commission has revealed a "spectacular increase" of 23% in the number of proceedings for violating EU law and a 135% rise in the number of cases concluded without referral to the European Court of Justice.
Some diplomats suggest that progress could also be speeded up without recourse to the law by using methods such as 'peer review' and 'mutual audit'. Such practices are increasingly popular following the perceived success of informal ministerial contacts in policing 'unfair' taxation of companies in the Union.
|Subject Categories||Internal Markets|