We are living through challenging times when the mission of the European project needs to be reinvented. If we want a prosperous digital Europe, we cannot wait with ambitious actions. The Digital Single Market is definitely one of the key European policy initiatives and can become an engine for prosperity. However, to achieve an ultimate vision of the interconnected and innovative Europe, we need to put a lot of effort into the digital transformation of our continent.

The fast pace of innovations in the private sector alienates citizens and businesses from their governments that cannot provide such personalized and easy to use digital services. It must be in the highest interest of all government leaders to earn trust with inspiring value propositions for European citizens.

Therefore, we, the undersigned Digital Champions appointed by each European Union Member State, declare that we will strive to help every European citizen and business to reap the full benefits from the innovative, efficient and inclusive digital Europe. We recognize the great role that digital technologies play in the transformation of our societies. Therefore, we consider the electronic government (eGovernment) as a key policy area that can deliver significant value for its users. However, eGovernment can reach its full potential only by successfully stimulating a closer and cross-border cooperation among all levels of public administrations in the Member States. As the first step toward this goal, we underline the importance of the conclusions on the eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020, adopted at the General Affairs Council on September 20, 2016. We want to stress the open nature of this eGovernment Action Plan, where new actions can be added upon agreement of Member States and public participation. We call on the Member States to aspire:

  1. To the innovative, efficient and inclusive digital European Union.
  2. To borderless, personalised and user-friendly electronic public services to all citizens and businesses in the European Union.
  3. To attractive business environment in the European Union.

1. Innovative, efficient and inclusive digital European Union

  • We call on the Member States to accelerate the public sector modernisation at all levels through digital technologies, closer cooperation and competition. The citizens and businesses must understand where the investments and innovations are headed. They need to experience how their everyday lives are changing for better. The governments need to educate their citizens about the value of their data, how to make the best use of them and how to protect their privacy. We invite the European Commission to lead by example and invite other European institutions to follow the same modernisation path.
  • We emphasize the need to ensure common vision and goals among the national action plans on eGovernment in Member States and ongoing initiatives at EU level. It is necessary to use public resources more efficiently. One important way is to reuse existing verified solutions developed by the Member States and the private companies or under Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), Interoperability between Administrations (ISA) and European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).
  • We strongly support effective investments in research. The government has an important role to play in supporting early-stage research and in the stimulation of businesses to invest into their R&D departments. Governments should also pull innovation results faster into the market by using innovation procurement. Europe must be transformed into a living lab where new solutions can be easily tested and scaled.
  • We call on the Commission and the Member States to actively and creatively engage in the newly formed eGovernment Action Plan Steering Board. This new governance body is of strategic importance for the development of modern public administrations fit for the needs and challenges of the 21st century.

2. Borderless, personalized and user-friendly electronic services

  • The public sector must put a lot of effort into better customer experience that innovative companies today can easily deliver – just few clicks away in their cool apps. We emphasise the key principles of the new approach to eGovernment such as digital by default, once-only, inclusiveness and accessibility, openness and transparency, cross-border by default, interoperability by default, trustworthiness and security.
  • We call on Member States to open government data and application interfaces to the private and non-profit sectors and thus, by increased competition, accelerate innovations in mobile solutions for life events and citizen participation.
  • We invite the Member States to adopt new technologies such as big data and internet of things for public value-added services in smart cities and nations as well as for the evidence-based policy making and rule enforcement powered by data.
  • We understand the key role of innovative digital identities to make the user experience personalized, secure and frictionless in the digital domain, across the borders and sectors. Therefore, we call on the Member States to encourage uptake of notified eID schemes and alternative easy-to-use digital identities under eIDAS.

3. Attractive business environment

  • We recognize the need to help businesses operate online across borders within the Single Market. It is necessary to simplify access to information under EU business and company laws. Businesses must be able to easily start doing business, expand and operate in other Member States thanks to cross-border public digital services.
  • We call on the Member States to facilitate the use of digital solutions in all business processes of small, medium and large companies, including the online registration procedures and the electronic filing of company information into interconnected business registers. The once only principle across EU must become the key to greater user satisfaction. We would like to see a fully electronic processes of public procurements and grant applications with significantly lower administrative burdens.
  • We call on the European Commission to propose new ways how to simplify the registration and payment of VAT for the cross-border sales of goods and services to consumers. In this context, the recent developments in sharing economy and digital tools should be taken into consideration.