Points of Single Contact
The Points of Single Contact (PSCs) are certainly the most visible benefit of the Services Directive for businesses. They are meant to become fully fledged e-government portals allowing future entrepreneurs and existing businesses to easily obtain online all relevant information relating to their activities (applicable regulations, procedures to be completed, deadlines, etc.) and to complete electronically the relevant administrative procedures. The services offered by the PSCs need to be available not only in the country of the administration but they must also be accessible for businesses from other countries, across borders.
All PSCs in the EU can be accessed through the EUGO -Points of Single Contact Portal set up by the Commission.
Updates and studies
|Apr. 2012||Study on the functioning and usability of the Points of Single Contacts|
|Sept. 2011||Conference "Doing business made easier? Making the most of the ’Points of Single Contact’" a great success|
|Apr. 2011||"Points of Single Contact - Research Study " EU project SPOCS publishes study on the set up of the on the set-up of the "points of single contact" in the EU|
|Oct. 2010||Germany: German Ministry of Economy and Technology commissions study on the set-up of the "points of single contact" in the EU|
Article in the 57th edition of the Single Market News providing information on the benefits of Points of Single Contact and first experiences regarding their practical functioning.
“Points of Single Contact: Doing business made easier”
Presentations and promotional material
|Oct. 2010||Commission publishes video on "Points of Single Contact"|
|Sept. 2010||The Netherlands: the province of Noord-Brabant publisheson the benefits of the points of single contact|
|Sept. 2010||Germany: Landkreis Soltau-Fallingbostel publishes about the services of its "point of single contact"|
|Feb. 2010||Seminar on “Points of single contact for entrepreneurs and their functioning in the framework of the Services Directive” organised by Czech Permanent Representation|
|June 2009||2nd Jamboree on points of single contact
Forum for national authorities to exchange ideas on setting up points of single contact
The setting up of electronic procedures has been an integral part of the EU’s eGovernment objectives for many years. In the Services Directive, Member States have entered for the first time into a legal commitment to put in place such eGovernment services for businesses that can be used not only within a Member State but also across borders (Article 8 of the Directive). These services must be accessible at a distance and by electronic means through the PSC.
One of the core issues to be tackled in order to put in place functioning electronic procedures across the EU, is the interoperability of national solutions. These solutions should ensure the identification and authentication of service providers (including their eSignatures) and the electronic exchange of supporting documents through the PSC.
The Commission has worked in close cooperation with Member States throughout the implementation period in order to work towards interoperable solutions, bearing in mind the overarching objective of the facilitation of cross-border service provision and of administrative simplification.
|14.05.2009||Study on electronic documents and electronic delivery in connection with implementing Services Directive|
|10.06.2008||Study on implementation of electronic procedures (Article 8 of the Directive)|
|17.03.2014||Commission Implementing Decision (2014/148/EU) extending the e-signature formats that Member States need to be able to process technically to longer term e-signatures
The objective of the Decision is to further improve the validation of documents that are signed electronically by authorities from other Member States and to increase interoperability by referencing simplified standards (profiles).
|14.10.2013||Commission Decision improving the functioning of so-called trusted lists containing the minimum information related to supervised/accredited certification service providers issuing qualified certificates to the public
The trusted lists were established under Decision 2009/767/EC and allow easier validation of signatures across borders. The Commission has set up a “compiled list of Member States’ trusted lists” with the aim of facilitating access to national trusted lists. The compiled list is available in both forms, human readable and machine processable form (xml format) and more information on certification providers can be found here.
|25.02.2011||Commission Decision establishing minimum requirements for the cross-border processing of documents signed electronically by competent authorities
When completing procedures and formalities electronically via the "Points of Single Contact", service providers may in certain cases be asked to submit original documents, if justified. These documents may be issued by public authorities who can use different e-signature formats to sign their documents. In order to improve the coss-border validation of electronically signed documents in practice, the Decision defines some most common e-signature formats that all Member States should be able to process technically at the receiving side. In cases where Member States use other formats than the "reference" ones to sign their documents, they have to notify to the Commission their validation possibilities, or to include that information in the signed documents themselves which can then be relied upon by the receving side.
|16.10.2009||Commission Decision 2009/767/EC: Facilitating the cross-border use of e-procedures through the “Points of Single Contact”
On 16 October 2009 the European Commission adopted a Decision in the context of the Services Directive facilitating the cross-border use of Points of Single Contact by businesses. It requires Member States to carry out an appropriate risk assessment before imposing on service providers the use of e-signatures with a high level of security. When this is nevertheless justified, the Decision establishes concrete obligations on the acceptance of e-signatures and enhances trust in e-signatures from other Member States. This Decision will have a positive impact not only for businesses that fall under the Services Directive but also more widely for the cross-border use of e-signatures and access to public e-services.
|Oct. 2009||Compiled list of Member States’ trusted lists
The Decision requires each Member States to establish, maintain and publish a trusted list containing the minimum information related to supervised/accredited certification service providers issuing qualified certificates to the public. The Commission set up a “compiled list of Member States’ trusted lists” with the objective to facilitate access to national trusted lists. The compiled list is available in both forms, human readible and machine processable (xml format)
In its June 2012 Communication on the implementation of the Services Directive "A partnership for new growth in services 2012-2015", the Commission has proposed that: "By the end of 2014 Member States, assisted by the Commission are encouraged to develop the second generation PSCs which should (1) cover all procedures during the business life cycle, (2) be multilingual, and (3) be more user-friendly. The Commission will agree with Member States criteria for the second generation PSCs in the form of a 'PSC Charter."
The proposal for the PSC Charter was endorsed by the High Level Group of the Competitiveness Council on 3 June 2013 and recalled by Competitiveness Council Conclusions on Single Market Policy adopted on 2 December 2013.
The PSC Charter aims to encourage the Member States to develop ambitious Points of Single Contact that not only meet the requirements set under the Services Directive but which also offer services and functionalities, which are seen as important instruments for making the PSCs more business-friendly and by which PSCs can be gradually transformed into truly business-friendly e-government tools.
The PSC Charter sets key features for successful and business-friendly Points of Single Contact. These key features are the basis for a regular assessment of progress made by the PSCs and they include: quality and availability of information provided, completion of electronic procedures, accessibility for cross-border users and usability.