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Summaries of EU Legislation

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EU single market directives — incorporation in national law

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EU single market directives — incorporation in national law



Commission recommendation 2005/309/EC — transposition of internal market directives into national law


It sets out how European Union (EU) countries can better incorporate EU single market directives into national law.


  • Directives are measures that bind EU countries in terms of the results to be achieved. EU countries can:
    • choose the form and means of achieving this result, but
    • must transpose the directive within a fixed deadline.
  • In the case of the Single Market, the correct and timely transposition* of directives in that field is essential for its smooth operation. Late or incorrect transposition of directives can cause obstacles and make the European economy less competitive.

Late or incorrect transposition

EU countries are monitored and may be penalised for late or incorrect transposition by means of:

Better practice

  • To ensure correct and timely transposition the Commission recommends that EU countries adopt better practices based on examples set by certain countries. It recommends focusing on their procedures and national practices, particularly:
    • dealing with the underlying causes of incorrect or late transposition;
    • choosing the best designed and most effective procedures and practices for each EU country;
    • drawing up tables showing the correlation between directives and transposition measures;
    • refraining from adding to national implementing legislation conditions or requirements that are not necessary and which may make it more difficult to meet the objectives of the directive.
  • The Annex to the recommendation provides details on the good practices which could be followed, including:
    • making correct and timely transposition a permanent political and operational priority;
    • ensuring that preparations for transposition are made at an early stage so that EU directives are incorporated correctly into national law by the agreed deadlines;
    • working closely with national, regional and devolved (i.e. lower level than national) Parliaments involved in transposition of internal market directives;
    • taking action quickly, visibly and effectively to transpose directives where transposition is late (e.g. setting aside more parliamentary time to allow for the debate and timely adoption of the required national laws — or amendments to laws).
  • In addition, as part of the transposition procedure, when EU countries submit draft implementing laws to their national parliaments, and when these are notified to the Commission, they should be accompanied by:
    • a declaration concerning their compliance with EU law;
    • information as to which parts of the directive have been effectively transposed.


For more information, see:


Transposition: the incorporation of EU directives into an EU country’s national legislation.


Commission Recommendation of 12 July 2004 on the transposition into national law of Directives affecting the internal market (OJ L 98, 16.4.2005, pp. 47–52)

last update 08.03.2017