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The number of referrals to the Court remains low in comparison with the number of letters of formal notice issued (16.5%), which indicates the efficacy of the pre-litigation procedure.
The increase in the number of referrals to Court reflects the faster handling of infringement proceedings, which continues to improve;- the speed of handling cases continued to rise in 1999: 529 of the 722 letters of formal notice sent to Member States in 1999 related to infringement procedures commenced in the course of the year, i.e. There was also a substantial speed improvement for reasoned opinions, with 26% of the reasoned opinions issued in 1999 relating to procedures commenced in 1999, as against 19% in 1998;- at the same time, the number of termination decisions fell slightly (by 3.2%), from 1 961 in 1998 to 1 900 in 1999.
Such systematic monitoring will be greatly helped by the enhanced role of the letter of formal notice in the infringement procedure, following the various improvements introduced by the Commission into its system for handling infringement procedures since 1996.
The letter of formal notice must be used for its true purpose, i.e.
Introduction Monitoring the application of Community law is a primary task assigned to the Commission by Article 211 of the Treaty establishing the European Community.SEVENTEENTH ANNUAL REPORT ON MONITORING THE APPLICATION OF COMMUNITY LAW (1999)INTRODUCTIONSITUATION SECTOR-BY-SECTORTABLE OF CONTENTS1.