What is the problem? Most online public services do not work across borders

Business and citizens still face too many administrative obstacles when trying to access cross-border services in other EU countries. But services are crucial to the European internal market as they account for over 70% of jobs and economic activity in the EU.

Why is EU action necessary? Remove administrative burdens to access cross-border services

The Services Directive eliminates national barriers to trade in services EU-wide. The Services Directive obliged Member States to establish "Points of Single Contact" (PSCs) by end 2009. The PSCs are a single gateway for businesses in their transactions with public administrations. They must help businesses to obtain online all information relevant to their activities and to complete all procedures and formalities with public administrations electronically. It is the first time that Member States have a legal obligation to put in place online public services that have to be accessible within a Member State as well as across borders.

Under Action 90, the PSCs need to develop into fully fledged eGovernment centres that respond to the needs of businesses, beyond what is required under the Services Directive, so that businesses can finish procedures electronically in the same Member State or abroad.

What has the Commission done?

In 2011-2012:

The Commission carried out a study to test how user-friendly and how well PSCs function, including the electronic completion of procedures.

The report on the functioning and usability of the Points of Single Contact under the Services Directive – State of Play and Way Forward - is the first comprehensive study assessing the level of development of the Points of Single Contacts created by the Services Directive. The study looks at the key aspects of the functioning of the Points of Single Contact, identifies good practices and highlights gaps and formulates policy recommendations for follow – up actions where improvements could be made.

The final report is available here.

Member States continued working on their PSCs in cooperation with the Commission, in particular on the cross-border aspects of electronic procedures. Member States disseminated the knowledge and expertise produced by the Large Scale Pilot project SPOCS (Simple Procedures Online for Cross-border Services), which aims to improve the cross-border use of eDocuments, eDelivery and content syndication. In particular, during 2011 and 2012, six promotional events showcased the work and achievements of SPOCs.