What is the problem?
The lack of technical interoperability means that in most instances the on-line availability of public services stops at the national borders, limiting citizen and business mobility within the Digital Single Market. The fragmentation of systems is a major obstacle to the emergence of a Digital Single Market, hampering the growth of cross-border services and imposing needless transaction costs on pan-European companies as well as mobile Europeans. We are not fully reaping the benefits offered by ICT. For instance, eProcurement alone can save EUR 100 billion per year; eGovernment can reduce the costs of administration by 15-20 %; the reuse of public sector data will empower people, drive business development and create € 140 billion in economic value.
Why is EU action required?
The Commission highlighted in its "Annual Growth Survey 2013" that modernisation of public administration is one of the five priorities for the Member States in the next 12-18 months, and, in this context, calls for widespread, interoperable digitisation of public administration. To underpin the digital transition in public services and to ensure they are available to all Europeans regardless of their place of residence, the Commission envisages deploying and rolling out digital services in key areas of public interest. These will be financed through the proposed Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to support cross border interoperable services such as eIDs, e-procurement, or electronic health records. There are no natural owners of European interoperable service infrastructures and neither single Member States, nor private investors would ensure service deployment within interoperable frameworks. The EU added value is thus high.
What has the Commission done so far?
Since 2007 the Commission has launched a series of large scale pilots aimed at ensuring cross-border delivery of online services (see Action 110 for details) under the CIP PSP. Part of the CEF aims at ensuring the roll out and sustainability of these projects.
As part of the next financial framework 2014-2020, the Commission presented its proposal for CEF in October 2011. The proposal envisaged over 9 billion euros for the ICT Chapter, of which 2 billion euros to be allocated to the development of (Digital Services Infrastructures (DSI).
What will the Commission do?
The European Council's decision on the new financial perspectives of February 2013 drastically reduces the budget and allocates only 1 billion € instead of 9.
In view of the budget cut, the Commission will revise its original proposal and will resubmit it to Council and Parliament for a final round of negotiations. The focus will be on the deployment of few key Digital Service Infrastructures.
Once the CEF is adopted, the Commission will start taking the necessary steps in order to prepare the first work programme.