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About the 2020 ISA² action on Innovative Public Services: Future of CEF eDelivery and API guidelines for government

This project is about the following specific activities (major outputs) within the 2020 ISA2 Innovative Public Services (IPS) action:

  • Future of CEF eDelivery: extension of the CEF eDelivery building block with innovative technical approaches leveraging blockchain and REST APIs. This activity has the objective of developing and piloting relevant technical specifications and artefacts through the use by CEF eDelivery of a blockchain-based transactions’ log offered by the CEF EBSI building blocks, on the one hand, and the definition of a REST-based profile as a candidate profile for future inclusion in CEF eDelivery, in order to support new patterns of data access and data sharing, on the other. Should the pilots be successful, the CEF eDelivery building block will be enriched with these novel technologies. Every element will be modular so that it can be used in combination with the existing eDelivery AS4 profile or on its own.

  • API guidelines for government: a set of guidelines and specifications for establishing interoperable REST-based APIs for service invocation and publication of both open and protected data. Sample library implementation for API’s as well as software supporting central/core services such as service catalogues and service discovery could be also in scope.

The work related to the REST-based profile will take as input the Joint Research Centre (JRC) study on Application Programming Interfaces for Digital Government (APIs4DGov) that analysed the API technological landscape and  its standards and technical specifications for general purpose use. This aims to support the definition of stable APIs for digital government services, avoiding the need to develop ad hoc solutions and helping stakeholders in the identification and selection of such solutions.

This work is based on the collaboration with the members of the API4IPS working group and their input

It will also propose some events and produce a series of deliverables.  

Please do not hesitate to contact us at for more information.

Future of CEF eDelivery: Integration with CEF EBSI (blockchain)

This activity will aim to leverage the blockchain services offered by the CEF EBSI building block in order to offer two additional capabilities in CEF eDelivery:

  • Timestamping the WS-Security signature of the AS4 message in order to increase the level of trust of the signature. The ability to validatate the timestamp will be equally addressed.
  • Collecting transaction data from eDelivery Access Points in an eDelivery network in order to enable the generation of statistics regarding various characteristics of the network.

Future of CEF eDelivery: REST API profile

The proposed solution is to develop a specification/profile for a REST API to cater to “light context” use cases. The new profile will be built on top of the REST architecture pattern and will adopt technology to support this pattern. This new profile would aim to bring new technological options to the eDelivery building block while maintaining the eDelivery goals of:

  • Standardized data exchange
  • Business-agnostic data exchange
  • Secure data exchange

The new specification would enable the implementation of eDelivery-compliant data exchange benefiting from:

  • Ease of deployment / installation
  • Economy of resources on the client side

  • Operation on mobile / personal environments
  • Updated options for the data exchange patterns

If successful, the profile could in the future be formally added to the CEF eDelivery building block and eventually included in broader scope initiatives covering new areas for d-GOV.

About the CEF building blocks

The CEF building blocks provide basic services which can be reused to enable more complex digital public services offered to citizens, businesses and public administration. They provide reusable tools and services helping to underpin the Digital Single Market, that aims to remove digital regulatory barriers, contributing as much as EUR 415 billion per year to the European economy. The CEF Digital Portal is the home of the CEF building blocks (e.g., eDeliveryeIDeInvoicingeSignature and eTranslation). It is the one-stop-shop for information about the building blocks. The portal provides access to tools, services and software that can be used in any European project to facilitate the delivery of digital public services across borders.

About the CEF eDelivery building block

In particular, the CEF eDelivery building block helps public administrations and businesses (and indirectly citizens) to participate in eDelivery Messaging Infrastructures which facilitate organisation-to-organisation messaging by enabling their systems to interact with each other in a secure, reliable and trusted way. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Digital Programme, is currently promoting the adoption of common standards in the eDelivery Messaging Infrastructures in different policy domains (Business Registers, eJustice, eProcurement, etc.).

API guidelines for government

This work, strictly linked to the extension of CEF eDelivery building block, investigates API-related essentials that government organisations need to be concerned about when implementing their digital agendas. Specifically, it will explore technical essentials i) that ensure the stability and continuity of digital solutions (management of the life-cycle of the APIs); ii) that foster the use of the API solutions (discoverability); iii) that protect the digital infrastructure of the organisation (security) and; iv) that incorporate privacy and traceability concerns in their processes. Additionally, it will investigate legal and organisational essentials of the provision and use of APIs from government perspectives.

This work takes as an input the European Commission application programming interfaces (APIs) for digital government (APIs4DGov) study that aims to understand the role of APIs in the public sector and, specifically, the motivations for their use and the way governments should implement them. The final report of the study (ongoing publication) concludes that:

  • APIs are essential enablers of the transformation towards digital governments. 
  • APIs are a foundational technological solution that requires attention in digital government agendas. 
  • APIs can assist governments in steering the organisational change management of digitalisation.
  • APIs foster innovation in public administration processes and public service provision. 
  • API solutions facilitate governments’ digital interactions with internal (G2G) and external (G2C and G2B, as well as the reverse: C2G and B2G) actors. 
  • API adoption carries budgetary, organisational costs and important challenges. 
  • Multiple API-related activities are occurring at the European Union institutions level, within Member States and at regional and city government levels

Publications and documents

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