1st August 2014
The European Union (EU) is continuing to move towards an effective single market, according to a new report from the European Commission.
In the last 12 months, countries in the EU have been stepping up their efforts to make it easier to live, work and do business in another EU nation, it was noted in the latest edition of the Single Market Scoreboard.
Public procurement and postal services are now included in the report, which features country-specific information and analyses in detail how governance tools function and policies are applied in each nation.
Estonia was revealed to have made the most progress in the last 12 months, according to a "traffic light" chart that indicates how member states have been performing. The country achieved eight green cards awarded for improved results, just ahead of nearest rival Finland, which was in second place with seven green cards.
Overall, EU countries were shown by the report to have significantly improved their performance since the last edition of the Scoreboard, with 109 green cards given out, compared to 99 in February 2014. As well as this rise, 106 yellow cards have been awarded - up from 94 in the last Scoreboard - along with just 20 red, which was down from 30.
Domestic postal transit times were revealed by the new report to still be faster in the west and south of Europe than in the east of the continent, while it was pointed out by the research that cross-border priority mail can sometimes cost twice as much as the domestic equivalent.
Although progress was made in many areas according to the Scoreboard, the average transposition deficit was revealed to have remained at about 0.7 per cent in the last six months.
Croatia was shown to have scored best in this department with only 0.1 per cent, while Italy recorded its best result ever of 0.7 per cent after halving its previous deficit. Croatia's success is particularly impressive given the nation only joined the EU a year ago, becoming the 28th member state.