The lack of technical interoperability means that in most instances the on-line availability of public services stops at the national borders, limiting citizen and business mobility within the Digital Single Market. The fragmentation of systems is a major obstacle to the emergence of a Digital Single Market, hampering the growth of cross-border services and imposing needless transaction costs on pan-European companies as well as mobile Europeans. We are not fully reaping the benefits offered by ICT. For instance, eProcurement alone can save EUR 100 billion per year; eGovernment can reduce the costs of administration by 15-20 %; the reuse of public sector data will empower people, drive business development and create € 140 billion in economic value.
The Commission highlighted in its "Annual Growth Survey 2013" that modernisation of public administration is one of the five priorities for the Member States in the next 12-18 months, and, in this context, calls for widespread, interoperable digitisation of public administration. To underpin the digital transition in public services and to ensure they are available to all Europeans regardless of their place of residence, the Commission envisages deploying and rolling out digital services in key areas of public interest. These will be financed through the proposed Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to support cross border interoperable services such as eIDs, e-procurement, or electronic health records. There are no natural owners of European interoperable service infrastructures and neither single Member States, nor private investors would ensure service deployment within interoperable frameworks. The EU added value is thus high.
The European Council's decision on the new financial perspectives of February 2013 drastically reduced the budget and allocates only 1 billion € instead of 9. In view of the budget cut, the Commission revised its original proposal and resubmitted it in June to Council and Parliament for a final round of negotiations. The focus will be on the deployment of few key Digital Service Infrastructures.
The CEF Digital Guidelines have been agreed in December 2013 and were adopted by the European Parliament in February 2014 and by the Council on 11 March 2014.