The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) provides basic capabilities that can be reused in any European project to facilitate the delivery of digital public services across borders and sectors. As the CEF programme comes to an end in 2020, it needs to be considered how these basic capabilities can be sustained in the long-term. This study assesses the most relevant and credible solutions to continue providing such capabilities.

CEF’s Digital Service Infrastructures

To support the Digital Single Market in succeeding, the CEF programme is funding a set of generic and reusable Digital Service Infrastructures (DSI), also known as building blocks. The CEF building blocks offer basic capabilities that can be reused in any European project to facilitate the delivery of digital public services across borders and sectors. Currently, there are five building blocks: eDeliveryeInvoicingeIDeSignature and eTranslation.

The CEF funding covers two elements:

  • A Core Service Platform, provided and maintained by the European Commission. Depending on the building block, the Core Service Platform may include technical specifications, sample software and supporting services (funding for the European Commission)
  • Generic services in the form of Grants, supporting the Member States in the implementation of projects that reuse the CEF building blocks (funding for the Member States)

The study

With the CEF programme coming to an end in 2020, the question of the long-term sustainability of the CEF-funded DSIs beyond the programme needs to be addressed. The objective of this study is to assist policy makers in selecting the most relevant and credible solutions to ensure the sustainability of all DSIs post-2020.

The assignment therefore focused on identifying the long-term needs and requirements of each DSI and across DSIs. It established a list of possible solutions and assessed those from an individual and cross-DSI perspective and according to the characteristics of groups of DSIs, by means of a sensitivity analysis. All these steps were also summed up into a Pugh analysis comparing the benefits and weaknesses of the most promising solutions in order to provide policy makers with a menu of options for the future. It emerged that handover of DSIs to an EU Regulatory Agency would be the most suitable solution taking all DSIs together, but that inclusion in a new programme to take over from the CEF from 2021 would also be a very viable option. The study also explains which solutions could suit individual DSIs or clusters of DSIs best.

Complete study

Executive summary