Rapid Intervention Mechanism
Regulation (EC) No 2679/98 on the functioning of the free movement of goods among EU countries
It establishes rules that help to ensure the free movement of goods and prevent physical obstacles to trade (e.g. border blockades, demonstrations/strikes, or attacks on trucks) through enabling the sharing of information on these obstacles between all European Union (EU) countries.
This regulation is not intended to be interpreted in any way that restricts fundamental rights in the EU countries (e.g. the right to strike).
When a physical obstacle to trade occurs or is threatening to occur, any EU country with relevant information must immediately transfer it to the European Commission. The Commission then immediately transmits that information to all EU countries along with other information it considers relevant.
The EU country where the obstacle is taking place must promptly respond to information requests from the Commission and from other EU countries concerning the nature of the obstacle and the action that it has taken or proposes to take. All information exchanged between EU countries must also be transmitted to the Commission.
When an obstacle occurs, the relevant EU country must take all necessary and proportionate measures so that the free movement of goods is resumed, and then inform the Commission of its actions.
When the Commission determines that an obstacle is occurring, it notifies the relevant EU country of the reasons that led it to that conclusion and requests the EU country to take all necessary and proportionate measures to remove the said obstacle. The EU country then has 5 days to inform the Commission of the steps it has taken or plans to take, or to give a reasoned answer as to why measures are not needed.
EU countries that do not respond by the deadline given by the Commission can be referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Application & Background
It has applied since 1 January 1999.
The quick and efficient free movement of goods is a key principle of the EU. When obstacles get in the way of this free movement of goods, it can cause serious economic losses, which is what the Rapid Intervention Mechanism aims to prevent.
This regulation is based on Article 268 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU and applies to clear, unmistakable and unjustified obstacles to the free movement of goods originating in action or inaction on the part of an EU country.
For more information, see:
‘Physical barriers to trade’ on the European Commission’s website.
Council Regulation (EC) No 2679/98 of 7 December 1998 on the functioning of the internal market in relation to the free movement of goods among the Member States (OJ L 337, 12.12.1998, pp. 8-9)
The EU’s Internal Market Information System (IMI)
Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information System
It lays down rules on the use of the Internal Market Information (IMI) system for administrative cooperation between EU countries’ competent authorities in Single Market related policy areas.
The IMI system is a secure Internet application that allows national, regional and local authorities to communicate quickly and easily with their counterparts in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway about EU internal market law (i.e. the laws relating to the single market that exists between the EU countries and in which the free movement of goods, services, capital and persons is assured, and where citizens are free to live, work, study and do business).
It helps these authorities to overcome practical difficulties related in particular to differences in administrative culture, the use of different languages and the identification of partners in other EU countries.
It is a free public service, developed by the Commission available in all EU languages and running since 2008.
Major benefits for the public
By speeding up procedures and improving the communication between public authorities, IMI reduces costs caused by delays and enables authorities to provide a better service to individuals and businesses. As such, IMI is a tool that indirectly helps individuals and businesses to make the most of the opportunities offered by the EU’s internal market.
Areas where the IMI is used
Two examples of directives for which the IMI is used are Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications and Directive 2006/123/EC on services in the internal market.
Under professional qualifications, the IMI system can be used by an EU country to check the validity of qualifications for professionals wanting to practise in that country.
In addition to professional qualifications and services, the following are examples of other areas covered by the IMI:
posting of workers: IMI supports the cooperation under the Posting of Workers and the Enforcement directives allowing EU countries to exchange information in the field of labour mobility,
Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Network: IMI supports 11 administrative procedures under the new CPC Regulation, helping consumer protection authorities and other stakeholders to cooperate in an efficient and user-friendly way (see summary),
Solvit (to which individuals and businesses can submit complaints about national authorities).
Thanks to its flexibility, the system can easily be expanded to new areas.
A list of areas in which IMI is used is available online.
IMI offers the following main functions:
bilateral information exchanges (one-to-one workflow) secure exchanges of information between two competent authorities;
multilateral information exchanges (one-to-many workflows) allowing authorities to send out information to multiple recipients;
repositories searchable multilingual databases to share information among IMI actors;
SOLVIT case handling workflow to support the resolution of complaints from citizens and businesses concerning the application of EU law by public authorities;
a public interface, allowing external actors to interact with IMI.
Amendments to Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012
Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 has been amended to enable IMI to be used in the context of:
processing applications for a European professional card (Directive 2013/55/EU amending Directive 2005/36/EC — see summary);
the posting of workers providing services (Directive 2014/67/EU — see summary);
the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of an EU country (Directive 2014/60/EU — see summary);
the requirements for presenting certain public documents (Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 — see summary);
EU type-approvals for non-road mobile machinery (Regulation (EU) 2016/1628 — see summary);
the single digital gateway which allows online access to procedures and assistance for individuals and businesses (Regulation (EU) 2018/1724 — see summary); and
the posting of drivers in the road transport sector (Directive (EU) 2020/1057).
Regulation (EU) 2020/1055 amends the annex to Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012, adding Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009 on operating rules for road haulage and passenger transport companies (see summary) to the list of EU acts implemented by means of IMI.
The Commission has adopted the following implementing acts:
Implementing Decision 2014/89/EU on a pilot project concerning train driving licences (implementing Directive 2007/59/EC — see summary)
Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/743 on a pilot project to implement the administrative cooperation rules relating to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 on the protection of personal data — see summary;
Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/1253 on a pilot project to implement the administrative cooperation rules set out in Decision 2001/470/EC setting up a European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters — see summary;
Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/2212 on a pilot project to implement the administrative cooperation rules set out in Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 — see summary.
Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 has applied since 4 December 2012.
For more information, see:
Internal Market Information System (European Commission).
Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information System and repealing Commission Decision 2008/49/EC (‘the IMI Regulation’) (OJ L 316, 14.11.2012, pp. 1-11)
Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Regulation (EU) 2020/1055 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 July 2020 amending Regulations (EC) No 1071/2009, (EC) No 1072/2009 and (EU) No 1024/2012 with a view to adapting them to developments in the road transport sector (OJ L 249, 31.7.2020, pp. 17-32)
Directive (EU) 2020/1057 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 July 2020 laying down specific rules with respect to Directive 96/71/EC and Directive 2014/67/EU for posting drivers in the road transport sector and amending Directive 2006/22/EC as regards enforcement requirements and Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 (OJ L 249, 31.7.2020, pp. 49-65)
Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/2212 of 20 December 2019 on a pilot project to implement certain administrative cooperation provisions set out in Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 of the European Parliament and of the Council on cooperation between authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws by means of the Internal Market Information System (OJ L 332, 23.12.2019, pp. 159-162)
Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/1253 of 22 July 2019 on a pilot project to implement the administrative cooperation provisions set out in Council Decision 2001/470/EC establishing a European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters by means of the Internal Market Information System (OJ L 195, 23.7.2019, pp. 40-42)
Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/743 of 16 May 2018 on a pilot project to implement the administrative cooperation provisions set out in Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council by means of the Internal Market Information System (OJ L 123, 18.5.2018, pp. 115-118)
Commission Implementing Decision 2014/89/EU of 14 February 2014 on a pilot project to implement the administrative cooperation obligations set out in Directive 2007/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council by means of the Internal Market Information System (OJ L 45, 15.2.2014, pp. 36-39)
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