Commission slams slow legislators

France, Germany and Belgium are worse than other member countries at putting the EU’s internal market laws into effect, and have lagged even further behind since May 2003, the European Commission has announced.

Italy is another offender. Brussels says at 30 November 2003 there were 54 directives overdue in France and Bel-gium and 53 in Germany, reflecting missed deadlines for implementation into national law of decisions agreed by EU ministers. All three showed an “implementation deficit” of 3.5 per cent, more than double the 1.5 per cent target set at 2001’s Gothenberg summit.

The UK, Ireland, Finland (all 1.4 per cent), Spain (0.9 per cent) and Denmark (0.3 per cent) all beat the target.

At 31 October 2003, there were 146 infringement cases outstanding against Italy, 135 against France and 90 against Germany, compared with 58 against the UK.