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Europe’s Next Single Market

The current European Commission has made clear its commitment to reducing bureaucratic red tape by adopting an approach to regulation that keeps the number of laws we propose to an absolute minimum. We are serious about this.

But our commitment to reducing the amount of legislation must be matched by an equal commitment to making what we have really count. This is a shared responsibility, and member states have to play their part. Until laws adopted in Brussels are enacted in national law and properly enforced, they remain paper tigers, entirely without teeth.

Most laws adopted in Brussels allow a grace period – generally about two years – for member states to act. Member states set this deadline themselves, so it should be more than enough time. After that, there should be no excuses.

Ten years ago, the gap between the number of single-market laws adopted in Brussels and those in force in the member states – known as the “transposition deficit” – stood at 6%. Faced with this poor record, in 2001 the European Council committed itself to achieving a target of no more than 1.5% at any given time.