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I've found these 2 resources which seems to be very interesting:

I've contacted the first one (i.e. SOLVIT). If I understand properly it's free and it's from the European Commission.

Are they fast?

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Summary: The goal is to reach a resolution (positive or negative) within 10 weeks. Actual performance varies but does not seem too far off from this objective.

The EU website provides a brief explanation of how Solvit works. It also published a scoreboard with more details and a few stats on actual performance. Basically, there are 3 main steps, each with a specific target/performance standard:

  • Response from your “home” Solvit centre (the centre you contacted): 7 days
  • Case preparation by the “home” centre: 30 days
  • Case handling by the “lead” centre (the centre in the country where the problem happened): 70 days

Thus, the goal is to tell you whether your case is accepted within one week and to reach a resolution within 10 weeks. Achieving this target in more than 75% of the cases is considered a good performance by Solvit. An older report mentions an average handling speed of 58 days in 2007 and 69 days in 2008 but that's only an average, meaning that some cases took longer than that.

One problem is that handling a case typically involves getting in touch with the local authorities so whether the problem gets resolved promptly depends a lot on how quick and cooperative the local authorities are and that can vary widely. Case complexity also matters obviously.

Guessing a bit from your past history, if you submitted a case to the Italian centre about a problem in Austria, you should expect some delay for the initial contact (Italy is very bad in this respect), a quick case preparation (Italy is good there) and an average handling time (Austria is not very fast).

The good news is that the resolution rate is 90% for Austria so you should at least get some clarity on your situation (resolution does not necessarily means you get satisfaction, if it turns out that there was no breach of EU law).

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