EEA-EFTA Comment on the Internal Market Information System ("IMI")

Published 19-03-2012
The Internal Market Information System (IMI) was created to develop administrative cooperation between the Member States, in order to ensure better governance in the Internal Market. The EEA EFTA States have participated successfully in IMI since its beginning. The system was created to support the revised Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive and, since December 2009, Member States have used IMI to fulfil their information exchange obligations under the Services Directive.

On 29 August 2011, the Commission presented a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on administrative cooperation through IMI (COM (2011) 522). The aims of the proposal were to set down rules for the use of IMI for administrative cooperation, to consolidate the existing legislative framework on data protection, and to extend the use of IMI to other fields. The proposal is now going through the regular codecision process and a report is expected to be voted upon by the Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee on 20 March 2012.

The EEA EFTA States submitted an EEA EFTA Comment on the proposal to the EU side on 16 March 2012.

Generally, the EEA EFTA States welcome the Commission’s intention to improve the governance of the Internal Market through greater cross-border exchange of information. They also appreciate that the potential of the Single Market may be realised to a larger extent through better enforcement across the EU/EEA countries.

On the subject of data protection, the EEA EFTA States are satisfied with the way in which rights regarding personal data are ensured by IMI. They do, however, believe that further clarification is needed regarding additional safeguards for the protection of sensitive data.

As to the extension of IMI to new legislative areas, the EEA EFTA States stress that this must meet the tests of necessity and proportionality before any action is taken. The EEA EFTA States support a procedure for extending IMI’s coverage to additional Internal Market areas, rather than setting up separate, independent information exchange systems.

The EEA EFTA States are concerned that the rules on transparency and access to documents as laid out in Article 11 (1) and 11 (2) of the proposal could conflict with national laws, which in some EEA EFTA States make it compulsory to publish certain documents for transparency purposes.

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