Application of EU law in 2022

The European Commission adopted its Annual Report on Monitoring the Application of EU Law. The report outlines the enforcement actions that the Commission took in 2022 to guarantee the protection of the rights and freedoms of people and businesses across the EU. The Commission also published its Single Market Scoreboard for 2022 enforcement data, outlining how well the Single Market is functioning and measuring performance per policy area and Member State.

The Commission also concluded a stocktaking exercise, identifying ways to further improve its working methods when it comes to the enforcement of EU law. Launched in 2022, the aim of the stocktaking exercise was to ensure that the best possible enforcement tools are available to make it work in practice. The Commission is now reporting on its outcome.

Finally, the Commission has adopted today its regular package of decisions on infringements.

Infringements package

Today’s package of infringement cases has a particular focus on safeguarding the single market and upholding the EU’s fundamental rights and values for the benefit of people and businesses. The Commission acted to strengthen the protection of consumers, to improve the accessibility of products and services for persons with disabilities and to ensure justice cooperation between Member States and individual guarantees in criminal law. The Commission also took decisive action to ensure the functioning of the single market, for example to facilitate professional mobility, protect the freedom of establishment and to remove export restrictions related to energy products. It also called on Member States to comply with rules related to rail, maritime and air transport. To strengthen the EU’s fight against money laundering, the Commission called on several Member States to fully and correctly transpose the EU’s rules in this field.

As part of the July infringement package, the Commission is closing 135 cases in which the issues could be resolved with the Member States without the need for the Commission to take further legal steps.

Application of EU law in 2022

This report sets out the action that the Commission took in 2022 to ensure that EU rules across all policy fields work in practice. Where problems arise, the Commission first works closely with the Member States to try and resolve them as soon as possible. Most often with success – in 2022 96% of cases were resolved before going to Court.

However, as the report shows, the Commission does not hesitate to take enforcement action where necessary – in 2022, it opened 551 new infringement cases. In 2022, all Member States were concerned by the opening of new infringement cases.

Last year, the Commission took the decision of referring a total of 35 cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union, which constitutes an increase from the previous year (31). In 17 cases, which were launched due to the late transposition of directives, the Commission decided to request the Court to impose financial sanctions against the Member State concerned. The imposition of financial penalties aims to ensure speedy compliance and serves as a deterrent against future delays.

The enforcement action of the Commission has also helped bring back Member States into compliance: 489 infringement cases were closed over the year.

Efforts to prevent violations from happening in the first place

For people and businesses to reap all the benefits of EU law, the Commission’s early support to Member States is crucial to ensure a correct application of EU law and the timely transposition of directives. The Commission’s Communication from October 2022 set out the objective to enforce EU law by strengthening measures preventing breaches from happening in the first place.

In 2022, the European Commission continued to step up its efforts to prevent breaches from happening in the first place, for example by providing early support to Member States on the implementation of EU law through practical guidance, meetings, trainings and technical assistance instance. It has been working together with Member States in over 100 different committees, expert groups or workshops to promote the good implementation of EU law. The Commission also provided over 40 written guidelines on the interpretation and implementation of EU law.

The correct application and enforcement of EU law remains a shared responsibility of Member States and EU institutions. To achieve swift compliance, or in some instances to collect information to perform its assessment, the Commission continued to make use of the EU Pilot procedure, a pre-infringement dialogue with Member States. The Commission opened 279 new EU Pilot files in 2022 compared to 2021 (246)74% of such cases handled last year led to a solution with the Member States concerned, avoiding the need to resort to an infringement procedure.

Finally, in the stocktaking exercise published today, the Commission identified areas for improvement in the way the Commission and Member States ensure enforcement and implementation of EU law. It recommended, for example, an increased support to Member States for the implementation of EU law, reinforced transparency of the Commission’s enforcement actions and a more systematic monitoring of the implementation of regulations. The Commission will now start its work to put the recommendations in practice.

Ensuring the functioning of the Single Market

The Single Market Scoreboard shows that Member States have made some progress in implementing and enforcing the Single Market rules in 2022: the percentage of Single Market directives not yet completely notified to the Commission (‘transposition deficit’) decreased to 1.1% (from 1.6% in 2021). The percentage of Single Market directives transposed incorrectly (‘conformity deficit’) remained stable, at 1.3%.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine put the functioning of the Single Market to the test. The Commission has been steadfast in its role as a guardian of the Treaties, taking decisive action against national protectionist measures such as export bans in several economic sectors, for example on cereals and construction materials, or discriminatory pricing of fuel towards vehicles with foreign licence plates. Swift and firm enforcement action by the Commission meant that the Single Market kept functioning.

The Commission also acted decisively to protect the free movement of workers, for example by fighting discrimination based on residence in the area of employment benefits or family allowances, or by enforcing residence rights of first-time EU jobseekers in another Member State.

Protecting the EU’s common values, fundamental rights and the rule of law

The Commission continued to enforce EU rules across all policy fields, while prioritising the areas with the highest impact on the everyday lives of people and businesses. Over half of the procedures launched by the Commission for wrongful application of EU law or non-conformity of national rules with EU law concerned the environment, justice and fundamental rights or the Single Market.

The Commission acted decisively to protect the EU’s common values, fundamental rights and the rule of law. It opened or continued cases to promote gender equality, fight discrimination, ensure the protection of whistleblowers and of personal data, as well as to protect judicial independence.

The Commission’s enforcement actions in 2022 brought concrete benefits for people and businesses as it improved protection for consumers when purchasing goods or digital content from any Member State. It ensured updated rules on health and safety at work and promoted a safer, fairer and more diverse audio-visual landscape. It also ensured transparency on the ownership and control structures of businesses and made it easier for professionals to provide services around Europe.


Since 1984, following a request made by the European Parliament, the Commission presents an annual report on monitoring the application of EU law during the preceding year. The European Parliament then adopts a resolution on the Commission’s report.

The Single Market Scoreboard provides a detailed overview of how EU Single Market rules were applied across the European Economic Area, with the objective of identifying improvements for the Single Market. It includes EU law falling under the responsibility of different Commission departments. The Scoreboard focuses on the progress made in implementing EU law, overall business conditions, integration of the Single Market and other major policy goals like growth and jobs, resilience, digital and green economy. The present publication of the Scoreboard provides updated information on the enforcement of EU Single Market rules.

In the division of responsibilities between the European institutions, the Commission has the general responsibility of initiating the legislative process.

The Council and the European Parliament decide on the Commission’s proposals. Member States are responsible for timely and correct application, implementation and enforcement of EU law in the national legal order.

The Commission closes this circle: once proposals are adopted and become EU law, it monitors whether the Member States are applying this law correctly and may take action otherwise.

For more information

The Commission’s annual report on monitoring the application of EU law

Website on the annual report on monitoring the application of EU law

The Single Market Scoreboard

Stocktaking report on the Commission working methods for monitoring the application of EU law