Open Europe Blog

There has been a lot of Romania-bashing going on lately – from immigration to horsemeat. But in Europe there’s always more to a story than meets the eye. Looking at the latest Internal Market Scoreboard, released by the European Commission today, it turns out that Romania – along with some of the other new EU member states – are actually the best Europeans around. At least by this measure.

It reveals that,

When all enforcement indicators are taken into account…Romania, Estonia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic and Lithuania are the best overall performers.

By the same measure, countries that tend to call for more EU integration and more EU laws, are actually the worst at implementing them. Belgium, Spain and Italy are consistently bad at abiding by their commitments. The UK tends to float around the average, but this time it is slightly worse on three of the indicators.

Below is the “Internal Market Enforcement Table” (click to enlarge), which includes the “enforcement indicators” that the Commission takes into account in its assessment (red = bad, yellow = average and green = good):

In 2012, we looked at who had been the “naughtiest Europeans”, using the number of ECJ judgments as a measure, in which Romania also did well. However, this might also have had something to do with the fact that, along with Bulgaria, it is a relative latecomer and cases tend to take a while to get to the ECJ. And, of course, complying with EU laws in the eyes of the Commission is not necessarily the same experience that individuals and businesses enjoy in practice. Nevertheless, today’s Scoreboard might challenge some stereotypes.

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