Connecting Europe success story: Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line (PEPPOL) project
What is OpenPEPPOL?
OpenPEPPOL is an non-profit association of both public sector and private members. It's purpose is to enable European businesses to easily communicate electronically with any European public sector buyers in their procurement processes, thereby increasing opportunities for greater competition for government contracts and providing better value for tax payers’ moneys.
Why was the project setup?
The Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line (PEPPOL) project was initiated in 2008 with the aim of simplifying electronic procurement across borders by developing technology standards that could be implemented by all governments across Europe. The OpenPEPPOL Association was established on 1st September 2012 after successful completion of the project which saw PEPPOL specifications being implemented in several European countries solving interoperability issues for electronic procurement. The project was a pilot project funded jointly by the European Commission and the 18 PEPPOL Consortium members from 11 countries.
What are the benefits of the project?
- For public administrations it simplifies electronic procurement and invoicing, also across borders
- It enables businesses to communicate electronically with any European government institution in the procurement and invoicing process, increasing efficiencies and reducing costs. The same benefits are accrued in business to business transactions.
- For citizens, increased competition for government contracts and efficiency gains through improved processes results in better value for their tax payer's money
How are OpenPEPPOL and the CEF eDelivery building block working together?
PEPPOL uses the eDelivery Network to connect different eProcurement and eInvoicing systems by establishing a set of common business processes and technical standards. This provides an interoperable and secure network connecting all Access Points using the same electronic messaging protocol and dynamic addressing, supported by a joint PEPPOL agreement. The PEPPOL profile of CEF eDelivery currently uses the AS2 message exchange protocol, whereas the e-SENS profile of CEF eDelivery uses the AS4 messaging protocol. However, the European Commission and OpenPEPPOL have joined forces to support the uptake of secure electronic data exchange across borders in the procurement domain. In a Letter of Understanding (LoU) signed between the Commission and OpenPEPPOL, the parties agree a plan for the transition of the PEPPOL network from AS2 to the CEF eDelivery AS4 messaging protocol.
The use of AS4 within the PEPPOL eDelivery network will become mandatory, and AS2 be made optional, the timeline agreed in the LoU sets Q2 2019 as the target date for this transition. The European Commission is providing Grant funding, under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), to support the transition from AS2 to AS4, see the Innovation & Networks Executive Agency (INEA) for details.
"The agreement is an important milestone towards integration of PEPPOL results into CEF eDelivery DSI''
OpenPEPPOL Secretary General, André Hoddevik
The LoU is a follow up of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2015, stating that the Commission will host a central service of the eDelivery network, while OpenPEPPOL will continue to manage the business-related governance of the network in the eProcurement and e-invoicing domain. The Commission now hosts the Service Metadata Locator (SML) – which allows participants in the network to dynamically locate each other across Europe. The SML service is a central component of the PEPPOL eDelivery Network, managed by OpenPEPPOL until 2016. It is a testament to the maturity of the service, which is currently used for millions of real business transactions, and paves the way for other services and building blocks from the eProcurement domain or other communities to be run as part of the CEF eDelivery digital service infrastructure (DSI).
What are the results?
Today more than 110.000 public and private sector entities are part of the PEPPOL eDelivery network through 160 certified Access Points in 19 Member States. More than six million electronic invoices and other eProcurement documents are exchanged every month, using the PEPPOL eDelivery network. OpenPEPPOL has more than 260 members from 27 countries. Several European Member States, including Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, UK and Norway (EEA) have established PEPPOL Authorities to support implementation of PEPPOL based eProcurement and/or e-invoicing at national and Pan-European level. Closer cooperation on other building blocks and services with the Commission is under discussion.
With the agreements between the Commission and OpenPeppol, and by hosting a central component of the PEPPOL eDelivery network, the Commission took a big step forward in making the CEF eDelivery solution reusable in different policy areas and thus contributing to the realisation of the digital single market.
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