The CEF teams visits Greece to discuss eIDAS and the CEF building blocks

This week the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Digital team visited Athens to deliver an information session on the eIDAS regulation and showed how - in conjunction with the CEF building blocks - public administrations can build user centric digital public services for citizens and businesses.



The CEF team was met by Nectarios Koziris, Dean of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, who had organised the session and assembled participants from across academia, industry, startups and different levels of the Greek public administration. Mr Koziris opening remarks highlighted the importance of building communities of people interested in working together for the public good.

Athens, an inclusive Smart City

The session began with an opening speech from Konstantinos Champidis, Chief Digital Officer for the city of Athens who explained that Athens was determined to ensure the city would leave no one behind in their journey to become an inclusive smart city. There are many projects on-going ranging from large scale infrastructure projects to ensure everyone has access to fast broadband to digital skills training with a focus on the elderly, the unemployed and refugees. 

Mr Champidis insisted that collaboration between all relevant stakeholders was key to delivering digital transformation the public sector. In 2017 Athens formed the Digital Council and invited professors and top ten IT companies to discuss how they can work together to move things forward.

How can eIDAS help government's digital transformation?

At the heart of the digital transformation of public administrations is the shift from paper based public services to digital public services.

The transition to digital services brings with it new challenges. How can we ensure that citizens, businesses and public administrations can securely identify themselves and complete transactions online?

The eIDAS Regulation defines a legal framework that ensures a digital version of a service has the same legal validity as as traditional paper based process.

How do the CEF building blocks speed up government digital transformation?

Public administrations use the CEF building blocks to ensure they can implement the legal framework into their digital services as the building blocks are based on open European standards that ensure trust, security and cross-border capabilities can are built into your digital services.

This means that citizens, businesses and public administrations can benefit from the convenience of a digital service and make the most of the opportunities the digital single market has to offer.

What are some of the most obvious services the CEF building blocks can help deliver?

  • Submitting tax declarations

  • Enrolling in a foreign university

  • Remotely opening a bank account

  • Setting up a business in another Member State

  • Authenticating an online payment

  • Bidding to online call for tender

These are examples of digital public services that public administrations can design and deliver to meet the vision laid out in the Tallinn declaration.

What is the Tallinn declaration?

In 2017, Member States signed the Tallinn declaration where they committed to working together to deliver high quality, user-centric digital public services for citizens and seamless cross-border public services for businesses.

What’s next for Greece?

The session generated lots of ideas, including how eTranslation could be used to translate digital public services for the many tourists that visit Greece. One of the start-ups in attendance suggested that they had already been analysing how the the context broker could support a smart agriculture project they are working on in partnership with the public authorities.

Are you interested in a CEF building blocks workshop?

The energy, pragmatism and emphasis on collaboration between public and private sector to improve public services for all citizens of Greece was clear for everyone in attendance. The presentations on eIDAS, the CEF building blocks and how projects can apply for grants via INEA was welcome on the day. This is just the first step, we hope that in the near future, we’ll see lots of Connecting Europe success stories coming from Greece.

If you are interested in setting up a Member State workshop, please contact us.



The power of sharing knowledge in digital archiving

Learn how eArchiving helped the National Archives of Estonia gain years' worth of technical work, and how you can achieve the same.


@ Photo by NAE

Noora, the main building of the National Archives of Estonia, stores and preserves millions of records, digital images, film recordings, photos, maps, seals and much more.


Quick facts:

  • Country: Estonia
  • Organisation: The National Archives of Estonia
  • Location: Seven locations in four cities
  • Size: 210 employees
  • Website: http://www.ra.ee/en/
  • Challenge: Ensure preservation and usability of society's memory for current and future generations
  • Solution: Collaborating for digital archiving knowledge and resources as part of the E-ARK project, now taken up by eArchiving
  • CEF funded: yes


Meet the NAE

The National Archives of Estonia (NAE) is the government agency responsible for archival administration, active since 1999. The NAE preserves records documenting the history, culture, nationhood and social conditions in Estonia independent of the time or place of creation, or data medium1. NAE holds about nine million records provided by hundreds of public and private sector organisations, non-profit NGOs and even nationally important individual persons. All content held by NAE is accessible to the general public at NAE reading rooms, including an online reading room for both born-digital and digitised content.


A need for knowledge sharing

Archives exist to store all kinds of data in different formats. We think of them as dark and stuffy rooms, but in reality, archives store legally, culturally and historically important artefacts and national treasures of both the past and present. Estonia started digital archiving in the mid-1990s, and by 2010, the NAE was well on its way to digitally preserving national data. Archiving, however, is a complex process needing to reconcile the compatibility of past and current technologies with future solutions. It needs constant maintenance, integrations and migrations to keep data safe and accessible for generations to come. What makes digital archiving even more challenging, is that while it is legally obligatory, funding for digital archiving is often limited. This is caused by digital archiving often being perceived as a back-office task that isn’t profit generating, even though the importance of archiving goes far deeper than money. 

Since digital archiving is relatively new and expertise and experience is scarce, NAE realised that it would greatly benefit everyone if knowledge and best practices could be shared between the different EU Member States’ archiving initiatives. In 2013, the NAE formed an unofficial consortium for knowledge sharing, and in 2014, the consortium received funding from the European Commission. The consortium, called E-ARK, was a multinational big data research project that ran until 2017, and ended up paving the path to what the eArchiving Building Block is today.


Cross-border collaboration

The key concept behind the European level collaboration in archiving was based on the fact that every country has important digital data that needs to be kept for decades or even centuries. The information that needs archiving wildly varies from birth and death certificates to property ownership records. Legislation and requirements vary from country to country, but the file formats are still the same everywhere. So why not work together to find the best way to preserve these digital bits?

With the funding received from the European Commission, the consortium organised events to reach archiving experts from all corners of Europe. They shared information, lessons learned, discussed newest technologies and started building a virtual knowledge base. They also produced technical specifications and software components that are publicly available to any European organisation, public or private. These technical specifications form the European standards in digital archiving, ensuring that the solutions are compatible with each other now, and in the future. For the sake of efficiency, some Member States’ national archives have now specialised in certain areas in digital archiving, such as the preservation of geodata or relational databases. Knowledge is shared with other members of the community and everyone knows who to contact for which types of archiving questions. NAE, as the founding member, was an integral part of making this collaboration come to life.


Results and benefits 

As a result of this collaboration, NAE went from having five local digital archiving experts to a community of 50 digital archiving experts to talk with and learn from. The international archiving community consisted of a wide range of expertise from national archives, but also universities, software developers, individual experts and so on. “It has been impressive how practical and pragmatic the technical solutions discussed and shared have been. There’s something to learn from everyone,” says Mr. Kuldar Aas, Deputy Director of the National Archives of Estonia. He continues, However, what’s even more remarkable than the tangible outputs of any technical specifications and tools produced, is the collective wisdom generated and shared among participants.” eArchiving allows archivists to tackle future challenges together.

Collaboration has allowed NAE to move away from in-house custom development and raised the technical readiness for reusing common specifications and tools developed by others. This will bring down the costs of running NAE. By now, NAE has already implemented the Portuguese Database Preservation Toolkit into their workflows, and is also gradually moving towards eArchiving solutions in other areas.

According to an estimate performed at the end of 2017, the E-ARK collaboration allowed NAE to gain around 2-3 years’ worth of technical work. In other words, it would have taken the NAE years to rise to the same level of technical excellence and maturity to achieve the same on their own.

What's next 

Digital archiving never stops. It evolves continuously and NAE will continue developing and optimising its systems. While most public entities are aware of eArchiving needs, private companies are often still unaware of their implications. This could soon bring about an 'e-archiving awakening' in the private sector. NAE is already helping private entities in Estonia archive digitally, and will continue doing so in the future.

Mr. Kuldas Aas hopes that the support provided by eArchiving will also encourage and help private sector service providers develop solutions in digital archiving. At the moment there are too few solutions available in the market. “In the future, all digital archiving platforms and services will be interoperable by default. This means that they will be technically so similar that users can without any problems send files to or between any archiving systems. This is what eArchiving is helping to achieve”.


Quick tips for making a killer archiving plan

  • Get to know your data, your systems and the laws regulating archiving
  • Legal archiving requirements greatly depend on industry and policy area
  • Understand archiving needs. In business, archiving is driven by legislation, but don't forget that motivators can also be sentimental or cultural in nature.
  • Define the retention time for your data, the time span you have to keep data safe, preserved and accessible
  • Save costs by archiving only what you really need, too many organisations keep too much unnecessary information
  • Use the eArchiving Building Block and get involved in the Community


The eArchiving Building Block was established in 2018 to ensure future collaboration and availability of E-ARK's outputs. The specifications and tools produced so far are described on our website and available to all. We would be happy to help you reap the same benefits as the NAE. Visit us at eArchiving to learn more.

eArchiving on CEF Digital


Source:

  1. http://www.ra.ee/en/


CEF Digital Site Revamped!


The CEF Digital site has been revamped and relaunched!

The site includes restructured pages, helping you get to the information you need on the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Building Blocks.

The revamped CEF Digital site provides new users with clear home pages. These pages describe the Building Blocks in a comprehensible and digestible way, helping first-time visitors quickly understand if and how a Building Block will help their project. Our "Get Started" pages help users pick up the Building Blocks in an easier way through step by step guidance.

Finally, we put your stories front and centre! Over the years, project managers, I.T. service providers and policy officers have shared their stories of how the Building Blocks are Connecting Europe, weather cleaner air in urban areas, secure and accessible national archives or combatting terrorism.

From its outset, CEF Digital has been more than just a website. It is the central online hub for information and tools related to the CEF Building Blocks. Building Block-specific user communities for enhanced collaboration between users and user groups. This could be to discuss policy, software development or pan-European collaboration. The latest release builds on all this, helping more people discover the benefits of using the Building Blocks.

The CEF Building Blocks (eArchiving, Big Data Test Infrastructure, Context Broker, eDelivery, eID, eInvoicing, eSignature and eTranslation) are common standards and technical specifications, supported by services, helping project managers use the Building Blocks to create pan-European (digital) public services. All of this is built in full-compliance with European legislation, ensuring trust and security.

We very much hope you enjoy the new site. And if you’re working on a project that is #ConnectingEurope, let us know!




eInvoicing Code Lists: VATEX Published, EAS Updated

©Pixabay

Electronic invoices can contain a variety of information in various data types. To allow for cross-border interoperability, information in code form can only contain values which are chosen from specific code lists that are identified in the European standard on eInvoicing.

The European standard on eInvoicing makes it possible for sellers to send invoices to many customers by using a single eInvoicing format. This means they do not have to adjust their sending and/or receiving to connect with individual trading parties.

The publication of these code lists comes ahead of the 18 April 2019 legal deadline for compliance with the European standard, as set out in Directive 2014/55/EU (on electronic invoicing in public procurement).

Publication of the VAT Exemption reason (VATEX) code list

The European Commission is happy to announce the publication of the VAT exemption reason code list.

The European standard on eInvoicing defines the business term "VAT exemption reason code list". This optional code allows sellers to state in a coded way the VAT exemption reason, in order to support automation of VAT processing and reporting. This code complements the textual description of VAT exemption reasons, which is itself mandatory in the case of exemptions.

EAS Code List Updated

The Commission is also happy to announce an update to the Electronic Address Scheme (EAS) code list (v2.0). The EAS code list was first published in November 2018.

You can access all code lists outlined in the European standard via the CEF Digital site. This includes an explanation of how to register or request changes. The next update will take place on 15 June 2019.

On CEF Digital you will find a reference to all other code lists defined in the European standard, as well as the EAS and VATEX code lists (administrated by the European Commission's CEF eInvoicing team).


CEF Invoicing

€6.2 million in grant funding is available to support the implementation of the European standard. Funding also encourages the use of innovative eInvoicing solutions (end-to-end automation etc.). The deadline for proposals is 14 May 2019.

The Commission further supports the adoption of  eInvoicing with the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) eInvoicing building block. The services of this Building Block help European administrations comply with the aforementioned eInvoicing Directive, and helps solution providers adapt their services accordingly. CEF eInvoicing provides:




The potential of electronic identification under eIDAS in the banking sector

©Pixabay

Over the past year, the European Commission has been exploring how electronic identification under eIDAS could be leveraged by the banking sector to comply with Know-Your-Customers' (KYC) requirements under the fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4th AMLD); and to guarantee strong authentication requirements of parties in the context of the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2). In parallel, banks are playing an increasing role as providers of electronic identity. The regulatory obligations and security needs to which they are subject in terms of identity verification have placed banks and financial institutions in a strategic position. More and more institutions are exploring how they could leverage the procedures that they have put in place to verify customers’ identity for other parties by acting as identity providers. eIDAS-based eIDs offer the possibility to provide a strong authentication of users (natural and legal persons), based on ID information endorsed by governmental authorities across Europe.

The European Union (EU) is a key promoter of initiatives for digitalising the identity verification process of individuals and companies in their relationships with public and private services. The eIDAS Regulation (EU) 910/2014, on electronic identification, authentication and trust services, aims at making national eID schemes interoperable accross Europe in order to facilitate access to online services. eIDAS is primarily designed to tackle identification challenges experienced by digital public services. Yet, Member States are also encouraged to support the voluntary reuse of eIDAS-based eIDs by the private sector.

The European Commission has therefore decided to explore how the banking sector can leverage eIDAS-based eIDs, as service providers and as identity providers in a short paper. The following sections shows the potential and the limitations of eIDAS-based eID schemes for tackling the identity verification challenges experienced in the banking sector.

Banks as service providers

Banks and financial institutions are subject to important regulatory requirements to secure transactions and guarantee market transparency. At the EU level, the Anti-Money Laundering and Payment Service Directives request banks to verify the identity of their customers (KYC procedure, strong procedure), including those from other Member States in order to assess potential risks of illegal intentions, e.g. engaging in money laundering activities or terrorism financing.

When providing financial services, banks face the following types of challenges and risks:

  • Cost | Keeping up-to-date ID proofing systems requires human and technological resources. Banks also incur significant fines for not complying with their legal obligations;
  • Identity attribute correctness and availability | Banks may need to rely on secondary data attributes (e.g. declared address) to comply with KYC’ requirements, as citizens may not hold primary ID documents containing these information;

  • Security | ID checking procedures need to be able to prevent fake identity application and unauthorised use by individuals seeking to defraud account holders;
  • User experience | Complex ID proofing requirements and procedures are often among the factors that explain why international banks still fail to provide a seamless user experience to cross-border customers.

The reuse by banks of eID schemes recognised within the eIDAS network to perform KYC could bring the following advantages:

  1. Increased security and correctness about the information shared, its authenticity (endorsed by governments) and protection against fraud. As a results, banks may experience reduced legal and reputation risks linked to the reduction of fraud and errors;
  2. Costs and time saving linked to the speed and automated identity verification process based on eIDs, which enable a reduction of face-to-face onboarding costs;
  3. Larger customer base, as banks would overcome current challenges in onboarding foreign customers.

However, some limitation of the reuse of eIDAS-based eIDs persist. There is currently a lack of clarity about the terms and conditions (e.g. price, contractual and liability regime) for the private sector to reuse the eIDs available across borders via the eIDAS network. There is also a discrepancy between identity data collected by eIDAS and data required for KYC processes. A specific eID and KYC working group established by the European Commission has started tackling this issue. Finally, the solutions developed by government and available within the eIDAS network may still not match the current state-of-the-art user experience currently required by the banking and financial sector.

Bank as identity providers

The provision of identity to citizens is no longer the exclusive prerogative of governments. Based on their current activities, banks and financial institutions are very well placed to take the role of identity provider in the eIDAS ecosystem, either as part of a public or private-led federation of identity providers or by directly offering online banking credentials to their customers.

Banks participating in a public-led eID scheme can benefit by leveraging their investments in KYC process and digital authentication solution to issue reusable digital credentials as part of a federated eID scheme (e.g. SPID federation in Italy) to access eGovernment services.

In private-led eID schemes (such as BankID in Sweden), banks can also leverage their investments in KYC process and authentication solution. As far as public-led eID schemes are concerned, banks enjoy more freedom as they are not subject to government authorisations or restrictions. Moreover, they can prevent disruptions in the user experience across multiple service providers. Currently, no private-led eID scheme has been recognised by EU Member States within the eIDAS network but a future possibility is not ruled out. Private-led schemes may also seek interoperability with eIDAS solutions to allow a one-off verification at the beginning when creating the digital identity.

Recommendations

The European Commission should continue supporting multi-stakeholder dialogue in this domain, notably via the work of the Expert Group on electronic identification and remote Know-Your-Customer processes; encourage Member States to clarify national positions on the reuse of eIDAS eID and to agree on a common commercial model for the reuse; together with the Member States, work on harmonised conditions on the use of eIDAS by banks as IdPs in public and private-led networks.

Member States should encourage reuse of eIDAS solutions by banks and clarify the conditions for ensuring integration with private services; provide banking-specific attributes needed for KYC procedures; and improve eIDAS user experience to attract more users.

Banks should consider eIDAS solutions as a tool for improving security and trustworthiness of financial services; strengthen cooperation with the Commission and the Member States to define common commercial conditions for reuse (also based on cost assessment taking into account cross-border services) and consumption of eIDAS solutions as IdPs.


If you want to read more about the potential of eID for the banking sector and access the full report, please consult our eBanking community:

Read the report


The potential of electronic identification under eIDAS in the aviation sector

©Pixabay

Every day, airlines collect identity information on thousands of passengers to guarantee the safety of air travel, and to do so they collaborate with border control and law enforcement authorities. In many cases, identity information still relies on manual data entry by passengers and visual verification by airline staff at the airport. Airlines are in the process of fully digitalising the passengers’ flight experience from the booking stage to the boarding. Electronic identification solutions (eIDs) based on higher level of assurance could improve the quality of the data collected, decrease the risk of errors and fraud, and provide a smoother travel journey for users.

The European Union (EU) is a key promoter of initiatives for digitalising the identity verification process of individuals and companies in their relationships with public and private services. The eIDAS Regulation (EU) 910/2014, on electronic identification, authentication and trust services, aims at making national eID schemes interoperable across Europe in order to facilitate access to online services. eIDAS is primarily designed to tackle identification challenges experienced by digital public services. However, Member States are also encouraged to support the voluntary reuse of eIDAS-based eIDs by the private sector.

The European Commission has therefore decided to explore how the aviation sector can leverage eIDAS-based eIDs in a short paper. The following section shows the strengths and the weaknesses of eIDAS-based eID schemes for tackling the identity verification challenges experienced in the aviation sector.

Main challenges linked to identity in the aviation sector

When passengers leave the Schengen area, airlines are requested to collect passengers’ identity (Advance Passenger Information - API) and transmit the information to law enforcement authorities in order to ensure the security of European external borders and facilitate the screening procedure at the destination country.

Airlines may encounter the following challenges linked to the traditional identity verification means:

  • Inaccuracies of the data provided, which are caused, for instance, by mistakes in data entry by users or technical failures. Airlines face substantial expenses (up to 750 USD million annually - approx. € 658.2 million) derived from fines, repatriation costs and maintenance costs.

    How could eIDAS help? By relying on eIDAS-based eID, passengers would automatically transfer personal data endorsed by the government, increasing the correctness of the data transmitted. However, there are two limitations: eID schemes only collect a subset of the information necessary to airlines (those concerning the travel document are missing), and currently only a minority of the EU population holds an electronic identity means.


  • Lack of interoperability between datasets and regulatory frameworks due to the complex landscape of legal requirements and technical solutions developed by stakeholders to comply with them.

    How could eIDAS help? eIDAS would fix many interoperability issues by allowing airlines to rely on a common protocol for identity attribute exchange and authentication process.


  • Poor user experience as travellers may have to enter their personal information manually at each booking and present their paper-based ID document at the boarding gate repeatedly. As a result, airlines may experience drops in market shares.

    How could eIDAS help? At the moment, eIDAS could only bring a limited added value. This is because not all eID schemes offer the same user-friendliness, third parties might not be allowed to use the eID of the people on whose behalf they want to book a flight and biometric identification functions of eIDs (e.g. facial recognition of passenger) is overall not supported by the current implementation of the eIDAS network (exchange of attributes is limited to biographical data. No biometric information is exchanged with the service provider).

Recommendations

To facilitate the uptake of eIDAS-based eID in the aviation sector, the report recommends the following:

  • The European Commission should keep encouraging MS to clarify the conditions under which Member States allow reuse of eIDAS-based eID; keep playing a leading role in aviation-specific eID initiatives (e.g. IATA’s One ID); and encourage the dialogue on specific data attributes for aviation to be included in the eIDAS minimum datasets.
  • Member States should encourage the reuse of their eIDAS-based eID schemes by the private sector and set out clear conditions and guidelines in that regard; they should also consider introducing aviation-specific data attributes.
  • Airlines should consider the feasibility of reusing eIDAS-based eID for validation and data accuracy purposes (also by reference to the experience in other business sectors); in turn, they should run customer surveys to check their willingness to use eID for air travel purposes.


If you want to read more about the potential of eID for the aviation sector and access the full report, please consult our aviation community:

Read the report

Smart Cities Webinar: Q&A Published

On 26 February, the CEF Digital team held a webinar on the use of the CEF Building Blocks in the context of Smart CitiesParticipants engaged in enthusiastic online dialogue with presenters.
Below you can find written answers to those questions we couldn't manage to answer online. In addition, you can also listen to the Q&A recording. We've published separate recordings for the various Q&A sessions to help you find the info you need.

Is there a list of communities, solutions or interoperability mechanisms cities/municipalities can refer to?

Yes, there are several European websites illustrating smart cities initiatives, solutions and projects such as:

Are the CEF Building Blocks available on https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/ ?

Yes, please follow this link.

Whom shall I contact if we want to discuss possible Big Data Test Infrastructure (BDTI) pilot projects?

Visit Big Data Test Infrastructure on CEF Digital and contact us on cef-building-blocks@ec.europa.eu 
Don't miss the next webinar on 19 March to experiment with BDTI and turn your government data into valuable insight.

Which CEF Building Blocks do you plan to introduce in the future?

The European Commission is extending the CEF Building Blocks catalogue to Blockchain. With this, the Commission hopes to consolidate the political and technological efforts carried out at EU level in the area of Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies to further the delivery of a generic and reusable CEF Blockchain Building Block to be added to the existing ecosystem of CEF Building Blocks.
Please consult the Work Programme 2019, pp 69 - 71 for more information.

Where do I find info about funding opportunities for the CEF Building Blocks?

The Innovation & Networks Executive Agency (INEA) is responsible for CEF calls for proposals.
There is currently a call running until 14 May 2019 and includes grant funding for five of the CEF Building Blocks:

Please consult this page for more information.

Is the CEF funding program also open for Swiss cities ?

This is defined for each Building Block Digital Service Infrastructure (DSI) under the relevant heading in the Work Programme 2019.

Do you use technologies like https://kafka.apache.org/ for the Context Broker?

The CEF Context Broker Building Block can be integrated with Apache Kafka in order to follow the Apache line in the same way that it could be integrated with other solutions; it is however not based on Apache Kafka. 
Nevertheless, the Context Broker is based in the same publish-subscribe-notify architecture like Apache Kafka.

In the Vienna Context Broker use case, are the live-cameras GDPR compliant?

Yes, since the cameras are using a functionality called "Edge Technology" that pixels the faces. This solution prevents the use of personal data and people identification.

Does the Context Broker have a use case in Switzerland? 

Martel Innovate is a FIWARE Member located in Switzerland. 

Who are the investors of the FIWARE Foundation, the technology provider of the Context Broker Building Block?

The FIWARE Foundation is a non-profit organization. 200 members currently contribute to FIWARE's mission. You can find all the information about their members on this page.

It seems that there is occasionally an image problem in the FIWARE platform because of the documentation and the quality of the code. Is that a general problem? Or something associated with specific technical people? Will the FIWARE Foundation address it?

Usually, the FIWARE Foundation takes care of the issues that are found in the different components and tries to resolve them inside the community. 
The Context Broker Building Block is also under the technical scope of FIWARE Foundation and it can resolve any issue detected on that image without any problem.

Regarding the Context Broker, how the Next Generation Service Interfaces (NGSI) will make Silo systems share data? Does it require more work on each of these silo's systems ?

Silo systems can take the information that is generated by itself and translate to the NGSI data format in order to communicate it to the Context Broker. Additionally, Silo systems can use the IoT Agents component developed as well by the FIWARE Community to translate common protocols and data representation to NGSI data representation and HTTP/HTTPS connectivity. There are several options in terms of data model representation and connectivity. 

Are the cities using the CEF Building Blocks already defined or can new cities make use of them?

Any city or municipality can start using the CEF Building Blocks which can be used independently or separately in various contexts.

Do you want to use the CEF Building Blocks in your project?


CEF eSignature Validation Test Cases Published

Electronic signatures (eSignatures or e-signatures) help their users sign contracts or validate transactions with increased trust and security.

Supporting e-signing in Europe, the European Commission has launched eSignature validation test cases. These validation test cases help third parties to validate their implementation of eIDAS requirements regarding electronic signatures.

These test cases have been set up in order to help anyone testing an eSignature implementation (software providers, trust service providers, conformity assessment bodies, supervisory bodies, ...).

The test cases currently focus on the validation of the "qualification part" of qualified electronic signatures and seals based on trusted lists. The eIDAS Regulation defines three levels of electronic signature: simple, advanced and qualified.

Qualified electronic signatures are:

  • uniquely linked to and capable of identifying the signatory;
  • created in a way that allows the signatory to retain control;
  • linked to the document in a way that any subsequent change of the data is detectable.
  • created by a qualified signature creation device; and
  • based on a qualified certificate for electronic signatures.

Qualified certificates for electronic signatures are provided by (public and private) providers which have been granted a qualified status by a national competent authority as indicated in the national 'trusted lists' of the EU Member State.

Taking this into account and based on the validation algorithm guidelines [QES V-A], a list of tests cases has been identified to allow eSignature solution implementers to validate their solutions.

Signature validation test cases are part of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) eSignature Building Block, which helps public administrations and businesses to accelerate the creation and verification of electronic signatures.




CEF Monitoring Dashboard: Q4 2018 Reuse Figures Published

The latest figures for the last quarter of 2018 confirm again that the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Digital Service Infrastructures (DSIs) are gaining in popularity and seeing their uptake grow quarter after quarter.

Three DSIs make the highlights for the 4th quarter of 2018: the Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information (EESSI), e-Justice and eProcurement.

The Implementation service from EESSI performed particularly well in Q4. In total, 52 EESSI implementations in 26 different EU countries, compared to a total of 42 implementations in Q3 (in 24 countries). So far, 76 documents have been exchanged, showing a 31% increase since 2018 Q3.

Secondly, the European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) service from the e-Justice Portal also got some momentum. In fact, after a decrease for 3 quarters, the total number of unique visitors for the ECLI pages of the e-Justice Portal picks up again, showing a 42% growth over the last quarter. Bulgaria contributed the most in terms of visitors, registering an increase from 193 to 393 visitors.

Finally, 20 countries have deployed the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD), which is supported by the eProcurement DSI. This demonstrates a 100% increase over the past year. When looking at usage of the service, the ESPD website received 464,281 unique visitors during the last quarter.

We also want to mention that we have improved the data visualization for the Uptake of eInvoicing: it now has a separate dashboard which focuses on the amounts of trainings and webinars, as well as a separate dashboard which summarizes the eInvoicing country factsheets.

The European Commission updates the CEF Dashboard on a quarterly basis with new data and features to improve the visibility on the progress made by the DSIs and to enhance transparency.

To find out more visit the Monitoring Dashboard, the Reuse and CEF Digital.



CEF eArchiving also for Germany?

Federarchives Koblenz.-IT-server control. 
Source: BAarch, B 198 Picture- 2017- 0220- 010/Nobel, Jürgen

On the 25th of April, 2019, the CEF eArchiving Building Block workshop will be held with various German archiving institutions in Berlin. 

Data is continuously being produced and digital archiving is a necessity for any European Member State. This workshop will present the CEF eArchiving Building Block and EARK4ALL specifications for digital archiving to German archiving institutions. 

Placee 

Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship

Kronenstreet 5

10117 Berlin 

Programme

1:00 to 5:00 pm

Greeting

 

Dr. Sebastian Gleixner (Bundesarchive): 

Volume as challenge. An overview of the Federarchives digital archiving efforts. 

Masse als Herausforderung. Ein Überblick zur digitalen Archivierung im Bundesarchiv

Dr. Ulrike Korte (Federarchive for Security in Informationstechnique):

Introduction to eIDAS, ETSI LONG-TERM PReservation (LTP) and BSI TR.03125 (TR-ESOR)

Sandro Hardy (Federarchive):

The Federal digital in-between archive and the user opportunity of the E-ARK SIPs 

Sophia Bünemann (European Commission):

Introduction to the Building Blocks of the Connecting Europe Facility of the European Commission

Janet Anderson (Danish National Archives):

E-ARK4ALL - the project that created the eArchiving building block

Karin Bredenberg (Swedish National Archives):

The eArchiving Building Block core specifications for filling up the European fridges

3:00 to 3:30 pm

Coffee Break

3:30 to 5:00 pm

Panel discussion:

Possible usage of E-ARK information packages in German archiving institutions

Karin Bredenberg (Swedish National Archives)

Prof. Dr. Christian Keitel (Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg)

Dr. Ulrike Korte (Bundesamt für die Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik)

Steffen Schwalm (msg systems ag)

Sandro Hardy (Bundesarchiv)

Rainer Jacobs (Bundesarchiv)

Moderation: Dr. Sina Westphal / Dr. Sebastian Gleixner (Bundesarchiv)

Please, register until the 19th of April using digitales.magazin@bundesarchiv.de

CEF Big Data Test Infrastructure helps solve European policy challenges

©Pixabay

The Big Data Test Infrastructure (BDTI) is one of the three latest additions to the European Commission's Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) building blocks, together with Context Broker and eArchiving. It aims to help European public administrations explore new ways of leveraging the potential of their data assets, so that they can improve their policy making and provide the best possible public services to their citizens.

A hackathon, a fusion of data scientists and a policy challenge

To spring up its full potential, BDTI will provide the testing infrastructure for the European Big Data Hackathon, an event organised by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. The Hackathon gathers teams (17 in total) chosen by National Statistical Offices from all over Europe to compete for the best data products by combining official statistics and big data to support policy makers in one pressing policy challenge facing Europe. The policy domain is skills, education and lifelong learning, which has an important role in the 10 priorities of the European Commission for 2015-2019. The specific policy question or statistical challenge for which the teams will be creating a data product will be announced at the event kick-off. 

The European Big Data Hackathon seeks for the creation of innovative products that official statistics will be able to integrate at European and national level. It promotes, as well, the collaboration and creation of networks for capacity building between local communities of scientists entrepreneurs across Europe. It provides developers and data scientists the possibility to work with relevant data sets and generate new ideas and potentially contrive novel algorithms. The prototypes developed at the Hackathon can be the subject of a scientific paper and have publication opportunities in JOS and EURONA.

The Hackathon will take place in Brussels from 9 to 12 March 2019 back to back with the New Techniques and Technologies for Statistics (NTTS) conference, an international biennale scientific conference series on new techniques and methods for official statistics. The winner and the two runners-up of the Hackathon will present their prototypes at a plenary session of the NTTS 2019 conference. Visit the NTTS event page to register. The presentations of the prototypes of the teams and the announcement of the winners will be also web streamed and recorded.

Why BDTI? 

BDTI was born to enhance the building of a competitive data and knowledge economy in the European Member States. It offers big data tools, knowledge and practical support for public administrations to be able to pinpoint areas that need attention and transform therefore the way they serve our society.

BDTI provides a ready-to-use cloud-based test infrastructure that enables experimentation with data analytics and the visualisation of its results. It offers public administrations in Europe the possibility to increase the adoption of big data technologies and the acquisition of analytics skills. The testing environment will be complimented by a catalogue of software tools that will help analyse the available datasets. BDTI also promotes the sharing of public sector data, and facilitate the combination of the relevant data with open government data, by provide a data catalogue with built-in APIs for data ingestion from different data sources. Users will also have the opportunity to join our community building and innovation portal that will allow them to share best practices, lessons learned, methodologies and the results of their pilots. Find out more about BDTI and how to get started here.

What's next?

Stay tuned for the post-hackathon success story to find our more about the results of the competition and the use of the big data test infrastructure by the scientists community!

You can follow the Hackathon Twitter account @EU_BD_Hackathon and the Twitter hashtag #euBDhack for news on the event.


2019-1 CEF Telecom Grant Funding: Virtual Info Day


The 2019-1 Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Telecom call virtual Info Day will take place on Thursday 7 March 2019. It will cover six priorities of the 2019 CEF Telecom Calls.

This call runs from 5 March 2019 to 14 May 2019 and includes grant funding for five of the CEF Building Blocks:

Visit the Innovation & Networks Executive Agency (INEA) website to see the agendaregisterview recordings and see how to submit Q&A.

In addition, the CEF-TC-2019-3 call (also running 5 March 2019 to 14 May 2019) offers an indicative €2.1 million in CEF funding available for proposals supporting the CEF eArchiving Core Service Platform. Visit INEA to apply.

Agenda

Webstreaming: https://webcast.ec.europa.eu/cef-telecom-virtual-info-day-07-03-19

Agenda

 10:00-10:10

 Introduction and Welcome

  Marc Vanderhaegen, Head of Unit, Programme Support, Coordination & Communication -  Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) 

 10:10-10:15

 CEF Telecom policy background

 Claudia Oros, Project Officer, Programme Coordination - Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CNECT)

 10:15-10:35

 Evaluation process and award criteria 

 Anita Kucharska, Deputy Head of Unit, Programme Support, Coordination & Communication - INEA 

 10:35-10:50

 How to submit a successful application 

 Paul Harris, Evaluation Manager CEF Telecom - INEA

 10:50-11:10

 Questions & Answers

 Susan Tournis, Deputy Head of Unit Telecommunications - INEA

 11:10-11:25 BREAK


2019-1 CEF Telecom Call Priorities

 11:25-11:45

 Automated Translation

 Philippe Gelin, Project Officer - DG CNECT

 11:45-12:05

 eDelivery

 Dietmar Gattwinkel, Project Officer - DG CNECT

 12:05-12:25

 eIdentification and eSignature

 Carlos Gómez Muñoz, Project Officer - DG CNECT

 12:25-12:45

 eInvoicing

 Irena Riviere-Osipov, Project Officer - Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW)

 12:45- 13:05

 Europeana

 Krzysztof Nichczyński, Project Officer - DG CNECT

 13:05-13:25

 EU Student eCard

 Thomas Carlu, Project Officer - DG CNECT

 13:25-13:45

 Q&A

 Susan Tournis, Deputy Head of Unit Telecommunications - INEA

 13:45 End of the info day

The upcoming IHE 2019 Connectathon (April 8 - 12 in Rennes, FR): Testing the Asynchronous AS4 Option for the e-Health Domain

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The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) eDelivery Building Block and its AS4-based message exchange solution, promoted by the European Commission, have seen significant and increasing interest and adoption from users. The eDelivery AS4 profile provides a state-of-the-art, standards-based solution for the secure and reliable exchange of documents and data. It is already being used for cross-border and cross-domain exchanges in various domains.

The Health domain realises the benefits of adopting AS4.  “E-Health infrastructures need performance, especially in a sector where every minute of a doctor’s work should not be spent in IT document processing. AS4 will help e-Health projects in establishing such large-scale infrastructures by providing a reliable message exchange definition. Healthcare stakeholders in the need of building a document exchange platform (e.g., sharing documents across hospitals and regions) should consider AS4 as a way to achieve interoperability”, says Massimiliano Masi, IT Security Architect at Tiani Spirit, an Austrian company that develops standard-based software solutions for secure data exchange in the health sector.

As eDelivery is a domain-independent solution, it requires refinements and additional specifications for deployment in specific domains. Such specifications provide more details on how eDelivery specifications are used in conjunction with existing standards in the domain.

Healthcare has a long history of developing and deploying solutions for electronic exchange of patient care data. There are multiple established open standards, covering the many different aspects of data exchange in the health domain, each with their own mature governance bodies and processes. Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) is an organisation dedicated to coordinating and harmonising the use of standards in healthcare data exchange and addresses the challenge of having to use standards from multiple bodies, and doing so in a consistent and interoperable way.

As Charles Parisot of IHE Europe, explains, “IHE is an initiative by healthcare professionals and industry to improve the way computer systems in healthcare share information. IHE is not itself a standards body, but an organisation that specifies and promotes the coordinated use of established standards to address specific clinical needs in support of optimal patient care.

IHE is divided in domains, encompassing all areas of healthcare such as cardiology, pharmacy, research, etc. A technical framework supports each domain; a collection of so-called integration profiles. Each profile aims at assisting implementations of critical clinical use cases for information sharing. New profiles are incorporated into the technical framework using a well-defined development process: a profile is proposed, evaluated, and made available for public comment. After this phase, the work item is termed a Supplement for Trial Implementation. Though not final and to be incorporated in the technical framework, it is ready to be used in projects.

This process was also followed for AS4, which in August 2018 resulted in publication of an IHE Supplement that defines an Asynchronous AS4 Option, which can be used in conjunction with selected IHE profiles. The AS4 Option is based on existing AS4 conformance profiles, and enables use of the AS4 features such as security, reliable messaging, message exchange patterns and processing modes. The Asynchronous AS4 Option strikes a balance between innovation and continuity. For example, the innovative AS4 Pull feature helps address network connectivity constraints (firewalls policies) on incoming connections. This is a known problem of the current IHE Technical Framework faced by earlier e-Health projects that looked into using asynchronous exchanges. In other areas, such as packaging and naming conventions for message headers, the Asynchronous AS4 Option follows existing IHE design choices. This reduces the implementation effort for vendors offering IHE based solutions that want to add support for AS4.

As Charles Parisot explains, “after Trial Implementation Supplements have been sufficiently implemented and tested and any necessary changes made, Supplements are published as Final Text. Final Text Supplements are made available as separate documents and then merged into the domain Technical Framework document with the next yearly release.

Throughout the year, IHE organises multiple testing events called Connectathons, at which participants validate that their implementations are conformant and interoperate with other implementations. Participants have the opportunity to fix any problems live, if needed. Reflecting the international membership of the IHE, these Connectathons take place in Asia, the US and Europe. To progress to Final State, a Trial Implementation Supplement needs to be tested successfully, with proven interoperability, between at least three vendors at two Connectathons.

The next European Connectathon will take place in 8 to 12 of April 2019 in Rennes, France. The Asynchronous AS4 Option for Profiles such as XCA (Cross-community Access) and XCPD (Cross-community Patient Discovery) is on the testing agenda. Several participants are registered to test their implementations.

Tiani Spirit started implementing the AS4 Technical Framework Supplement using off-the shelf components and using existing implementations as test references. This solution gives the company the flexibility to use AS4 in different settings, even in deployments with less computing power. Participating in the Connectathon allows us to spot and fix bugs in implementations that would cost effort and money when running projects in production afterwards. Testing AS4 with partners allows us to validate the first integration in the Tiani SpiritEHR and to share experiences with the other developers”, said Massimiliano Masi. 

The Directorate-General for Health of the European Commission (DG SANTE) with the assistance of the Directorate-General for Informatics (DIGIT) are currently implementing a proof of concept to demonstrate the use of the IHE Asynchronous AS4 Option to perform the data exchange operations foreseen in the eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure (eHDSI). In this context, they will participate in the Rennes event and welcome more companies to join them in the Connectathon.

The Innovation & Networks Executive Agency (INEA) is currently organising the CEF eDelivery 2019 Call for €1 million in grant funding supporting the adoption of CEF eDelivery and AS4. The call is open from 14 February until 14 May 2019

In case you are interested to apply to the CEF Telecom 2019-1 call, you can register to the Virtual Info Day, organised by the Innovation & Networks Executive Agency, here to be held on 7 March 2019.

CEF eDelivery Webinar: CEF awarded projects

©Pixabay

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) eDelivery team organised a Webinar with CEF awarded projects that took place on 28 February.

This Webinar was an opportunity for participants to learn about projects that implemented eDelivery Access Points in different domains with CEF funding. You can download the presentation slides here. Speakers presented the following projects:

  • eDelivery implementation in the logistics and transport sector in Portugal, by Rui Barros (MITMYNID)

  • Implementation of national eDelivery Access Point in Lithuania, by Jonas Žalinkevicius (Public Institution eDelivery LT)

  • Deployment of the national eDelivery Access Point in Romania, by Bogdan Chira (Romanian Digital Agency)

This webinar was as well an opportunity for the participants to have information about the CEF eDelivery 2019 Call for €1 million in grant funding supporting the adoption of eDelivery. The call is open from 14 February until 14 May 2019

In case you are interested to apply to the CEF Telecom 2019-1 call, you can register to the Virtual Info Day, organised by the Innovation & Networks Executive Agency, here to be held on 7 March 2019.


CEF Telecom Call-1 Virtual Info Day – 7 March 2019

The 2019-1 Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Telecom call virtual Info Day will take place on Thursday 7 March 2019. It will cover six priorities of the 2019 CEF Telecom Calls , which have opened on 14 February 2019.

This call includes grant funding for five of the CEF Building Blocks:

Visit the Innovation & Networks Executive Agency (INEA) website to register, view recordings and learn how to submit Q&A.

Agenda


Agenda

 10:00-10:10

 Introduction and Welcome

 10:10-10:20

 CEF Telecom policy background

 10:20-10:40

 Evaluation process and award criteria 

 10:40-11:05

 How to submit a successful application 

 11:05-11:20

 Questions & Answers

 11:20-11:35

 BREAK

2019-1 CEF TelecomCall Priorities

 11:35-11:55

 Automated Translation

 11:55-12:15

 eDelivery

 12:15-12:35

 eIdentification and eSignature

 12:35-12:55

 eInvoicing

 12:55- 13:15

 Europeana

 13:15-13:35

 EU Student eCard

 13:35-13:50

 Q&A

 13:50

 End of the info day