BRUSSELS - The European Commission admonished France and Belgium on Jan. 12 for having the worst record among member states for implementing EU laws, while praising the outstanding performance of Denmark.
France, which also has the distinction of being brought before the European Union's top court most often of the 15 member states, and Belgium each have yet to transpose 54 EU directives into national law.
Denmark leads the way with only five EU laws still to be passed, followed by Spain with 14.
"It is disappointing that some member states appear to consider that it is acceptable to regularly implement directives late and to incorrectly apply commonly agreed rules," Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein said.
"This is unfair to those member states that do get laws on to their statute books on time and then apply them properly," he said.
And with the EU due to welcome 10 more member states on May 1, the Dutch commissioner warned that failure by all to comply with the rules would lead to a "fragmentation" of the legal framework in Europe.
Germany, Greece, Italy and Luxembourg were also taken to task for lagging behind on their implementation of EU laws, while among other countries earning praise were Britain, Finland and Ireland.
"It is time ministers took personal responsibility for their member state's performance," Bolkestein said.
France's European Affairs Minister Noelle Lenoir said later in Paris that steps would be taken to rectify the situation. "Next week the French government will announce new measures designed to accelerate the implementation of EU legislative directives," she said.