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Hello everyone!  2020 was a challenging year; nevertheless, we've seen an increase in the deployment of CEF's Building Blocks. Therefore, we thought it would be appropriate to do a little recap of the most interesting European projects carried out with their help. In no particular order, they are:

eArchiving lends a hand to the preservation of Italy's historical documents

Italy’s Central State Archive (ACS) has been looking after the country's most important documents for the last 150 years.

To make this precious heritage  accessible to future generations, ACS was tasked with building a digital national platform. After looking for solutions both in and outside Italy, ACS found in eArchiving the answers it was looking for.

Italy’s archiving responsibilities are shared among the ACS and a network of provincial State Archives. The ACS has always enjoyed a special role in the preservation of historical documents produced by Central State Administrations. In 2008, however, an internal regulation determined that the ACS would be the main agency in charge of keeping a historical digital archive. In 2019, the ACS was instructed to start building a national platform for the permanent preservation of the Central State Administrations’s digital archives.

The ACS started by creating an internal service dedicated to permanent preservation, called the ‘Digital Archive of the Italian State’. Before that, there was no consolidated concept for permanent preservation, which tackles a whole different set of challenges compared to short and medium-term archiving. 

ISO approves AS4 as an International Standard

The ISO (International Organisation for Standardization) approved ebMS3 (ebXML Messaging version 3.0) and AS4 (Applicability Statement 4) as International Standards. 

AS4 is the message exchange protocol promoted by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) eDelivery Building Block. This approval represents an opportunity to increase confidence in eDelivery and can potentially lead to the scale-up of AS4 adoption by projects across the EU and beyond. This decision was made at Technical Committee level, specifically within TC 154 on "Processes, data elements and documents in commerce, industry and administration". The standards will become the new part 1 and part 2 of the ISO 15000. The ISO standards are recognised in legislation within Europe and internationally, and are known and trusted by public administrations, IT experts and business stakeholders outside the IT domain.

AS4 is a Conformance Profile of the OASIS ebMS 3.0 specification. AS4 is typically used for the secure and reliable exchange of documents, attachments to these documents and data in general, and can be used in Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Administration (B2A) and Administration-to-Administration (A2A) exchange contexts in every sector or business domain. AS4 condenses in a single specification a series of well-known web-services specifications, such as WS-Security and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) with attachments. AS4 both provides evidence relating to the handling of the transmitted data as well as protecting it against the risk of loss, theft, damage or any unauthorised alterations. 

Pre-Release of CEF eIDAS-Node software v2.5

The European Commission is pleased to announce the pre-release of the CEF eIDAS-Node software version 2.5 on 29 September 2020. 

Electronic identification (eID) and electronic Trust Services (eTS) are key enablers for secure cross-border electronic transactions and prerequisites for both online public services and the digital economy. The eIDAS Regulation is a foundation for a predictable regulatory environment for secure and seamless electronic interactions between businesses, citizens and public authorities.

The eIDAS Network consists of a number of interconnected eIDAS nodes, which can either request or provide cross-border authentication. It is the responsibility of each country to implement their eIDAS node.

Pre-release 2.5 of the eIDAS sample implementation for Member States is an all-in-one package for the Java platform. It is based on version 1.2 of the eIDAS technical specifications. The pre-release has been provided in order to validate the implementation of the Technical Specifications 1.2. 

Poland puts eInvoicing plans into action with the help of CEF tools and services

Although Poland was one of the first countries to introduce a legal foundation for the use of e-invoices, their uptake by businesses and public administrations has been slow.

In fact, Poland’s legislation covering the issuing, sending and storing of e-invoices was passed in 2005, five years before the equivalent EU regulation. So, when the time came to give e-invoicing a boost in practice, the Ministry of Economic Development decided to create a single national e-invoicing platform (PEF) – just to make sure that the solution would be available to all Polish public entities and in this way, fulfil the obligations imposed by the European Directive on electronic invoicing (2014/55/EU). PEF was launched in April 2019 and before the end of the year, the platform had more than 12,000 registered contracting authorities and 655 suppliers that had sent 1,600 e-invoices.

Despite PEF’s advanced functionalities in sending structured e-invoices, their automated receiving and processing remained a challenge. In order to achieve the first implementation of a fully automated e-invoicing process from sending to the receiving and processing of a European standards compliant e-invoice, a consortium was formed to undertake the task (CEF Action No 2016-PL-IA-0106). The objective was to fulfil the European Directive in a way that would create a national reference model for an advanced automated e-invoicing implementation between public purchasing authorities and their suppliers.

eSignature service used to sign World Bank agreement

On July 8 2020, the European Commission and the World Bank signed electronically a Financial Framework Partnership Agreement, which guides the terms under which the Bank Group will use EU funding for development projects across the world. 

This is the first international document the Commission signs using its own Qualified Electronic Signature service, EU Signan implementation of the eSignature Building Block.  It was also the first time the Commission made use of EUSign's newly introduced cloud-based qualified digital certificates.

In a Twitter post on the same day, the Commissioner for Budget and Administration, Johannes Hahn, described the e-signing of the agreement "a huge leap forward" in the Commission's target to become fully digital by 2024. 

EU Sign was launched four years ago as an additional effort to further digitise Europe and decrease its dependence on paper. 

Available to a number of European Institutions, bodies and agencies (EUIBAs), the service provides the possibility to electronically sign, validate and seal documents.

CEF eTranslation now includes Simplified Chinese Mandarin (Chinese)

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) eTranslation Building Block can now process requests in Simplified Chinese Mandarin (Chinese).

You can access this service on the eTranslation web-browser page (first time users can register here). Select the “General Text” domain in “Advanced options”. Please note that for whole-document translations, PDF is not supported.

During 2020, collaborative language resources and tools projects will also cover the take-up of language tools and resources for the following economically, scientifically and socially relevant non-EU languages: Arabic, Japanese, and Turkish. Russian became the first such language to go-live in December last year.

This notable upgrade comes as Europe’s SMEs and startups can join public administrations in benefiting from this state-of-the-art online machine translation service, which guarantees the confidentiality and security of all your translated data.

Piloting with EBSI explained, how to benefit from Europe's blockchain infrastructure

The European Commission is excited to announce the launch of the “Piloting with EBSI, explained” learning package and the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) user community.

The “Piloting with EBSI, explained” learning package aims to further facilitate and accelerate the implementation of EBSI. It features a set of five, friendly, funny and unmissable video tutorials, a toolkit, and a series of webinars (registration form is available on the website) designed for EBP members and EBP-endorsed public administrations. The materials will guide you through the piloting journey with a carefully structured framework.

How Context Broker is helping Europe in its quest for smarter energy solutions

Digital innovations are redefining the energy sector, encouraging a move away from large-scale and centralised power plants to more local and personalised sources of energy.

All around the world, governments are building more solar parks, wind farms, and hydroelectric plants to generate power. In Europe, the EU is aiming to become the first climate-neutral economy by 2050, one of the cornerstones of the European Green Deal.

Over the last few years, Member States have been striving to integrate Renewable Energy Sources (RES) into their national energy grid. But doing so is no simple task. Before solutions can be rolled out onto the mass market, many challenges, both at the commercial and scientific level, need to be overcome.

Because renewable energy is one hundred percent dependent on the elements (sun, wind, rain, biomass), supply fluctuation is a common problem. Imagine a drought rendering a dam useless and taking away a whole country's energy supply? Or intermittent energy from wind or solar sources. What then? That's where innovation and new technologies kick in.

Solar panels and wind turbines are the most obvious signs a major change is afoot in the energy sector. But behind the scenes there is a whole digital architecture in place, making renewable energy sources work more effectively for both consumers and producers. CEF's Context Broker Building Block is at the heart of that digital architecture.

Norwegian Digitalisation Agency uses Commission's Big Data tool to optimise public procurement

Digdir, the Norwegian Digitalisation Agency, is using the Connecting Europe Facility's (CEF) big data tool, the Big Data Test Infrastructure (BDTI), to help optimise public procurement in Norway.

Digdir has been helping Norwegian public administrations in their digital transformation for six years. They have already implemented a PEPPOL network, based on the eDelivery and eInvoicing building blocks, to digitalise invoicing in public procurement. This network allows public and private organisations to seamlessly exchange and automatically process digital invoices.  

Now, Digdir is looking to help improve digital public procurement, or eProcurement, even further by gathering and analysing big datasets on transactions in this area.

The Once Only initiative – a stepping stone to Europe’s recovery

The strains and difficulties of the novel Coronavirus pandemic are challenging every person, business and administration in Europe like never before. From this however, Europe is already emerging stronger.

The current pandemic has shown the importance of having administrative procedures online, which allow citizens to request a proof of residence, apply for a study grant or submit a corporate tax declaration without needing to leave their homes.

The Once Only Principle (OOP), means that citizens and businesses provide their data only once to public administrations. Those public administrations will then share and reuse data the data among themselves, even across borders, according to data privacy regulations.

The Once Only Technical System, hereafter referred to as ‘the OOP system’, is the technical system currently being built by the European Commission and the Member States to make the OOP a reality at European level. The OOP technical system is an EU-wide initiative stemming from the Single Digital Gateway Regulation (SDGR) (Article 14 thereof) that will make the principle of once only a reality for key public services, businesses, and citizens across the EU.

By December 2023 the OOP system will be able to simplify access to cross-border administrative procedures initiated online by citizens or companies based in another EU country. In other words, the OOP system will enable competent authorities in a Member State to share data with their counterparts in other Member States in real-time.

And voilà, these are  just some of the projects that made a splash in 2020 with the help of our Building Blocks. If you would like to share your views, please don't hesited to leave a comment on our Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook pages. We wish you all a great 2021.

Last updated on  Feb 17, 2021 17:06

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