Coordination of the transposition of European legislation into Belgian legislation, including the informal European tools: EU Pilot and the Belgian SOLVIT centre.
After EU directives are adopted, all EU Member States must transpose them into their national legislation within the foreseen timeframe. In Belgium, each governmental body is responsible for the transposition of European directives within its spheres of competence. At a political level, general follow-up and coordination of the transposition process of the different governmental bodies is the responsibility of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, at an administrative level of the FPS Foreign Affairs (DGE/E3).
Objectives for Belgium
As the “guardian of the Treaties”, the European Commission is responsible for the follow-up of the transposition process of all directives in the Member States. Each delay in the transposition of a directive can initiate infringement proceedings against the Member State, which may culminate in an order to pay severe financial penalties by the Court of Justice of the European Union. In the context of this audit, the European Commission publishes a semi-annual Single Market Scoreboard, in which the Member States are ranked on the basis of their transposition results. For the timely transposition of directives, the European Commission tolerates a maximum deficit of 1% (between the number of “internal market” directives adopted at the European level and the number of “internal market” directives transposed by the Member States). For directives with a transposition delay of 2 years or more, a zero tolerance standard is applied.
After having approached the 3% transposition deficit in 2015 (2.8%), Belgium was able to return, thanks to the constant efforts of all actors who work on transposition, to an estimated score of 1.3% on the scoreboard of December 2018. In spite of a marked improvement, this transposition work must continue in order to reach a deficit inferior to 1%, as accepted by the European Commission.
An incorrect transposition or implementation of EU law in general can have various consequences: if the European Commission considers EU law has either been transposed or is currently executed incorrectly, the Member State will be informally asked to correct this. This is done through the EU Pilot system. EU Pilot is an informal and confidential online system of information exchange between the European Commission and the 28 Member States. It serves to determine the conformity of transposition and implementation into national legislation with EU law, based on either complaints and information requests by civilians and companies or on investigations initiated by the European Commission itself. If no solution or consensus is found using the EU Pilot system, infringement proceedings can be initiated by the European Commission. However, since the publication of the Communication from the Commission entitled ‘EU law: Better results through better application’ on 19 January 2017, the use of this tool is systematically reduced. Hence, in the case of questions the Commission will rather contact directly (and informally) the administration concerned.
Citizens and companies confronted with a misapplication of EU law by a Member State can contact SOLVIT. SOLVIT is a European mediation service, created by the European Commission ( DG GROW), which, in an informal manner, solves complaints of European citizens and companies confronted with cross-border issues caused by wrongful implementation of European legislation by an authority in another Member State. There are SOLVIT centres in each European Member State and in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. SOLVIT services are provided for free. More information on SOLVIT can be found on the website of the European Commission. Within 70 days, SOLVIT aims to achieve a rapid, practical solution, together with the authority of the Member State where your problem occurs.
Within the FPS Foreign Affairs, the DGE/E3 is responsible for the coordination of the transposition process of European directives and EU Pilot cases. The DGE adds value by gathering negotiator and transposer in an early stage. During the DGE coordination meetings, the feasibility of the transposition deadline must be discussed and awareness must be raised among the different transposition actors.
Transposition of European directives
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