Submit a proposal for a Single Digital Gateway
Potential of action
Currently people wanting to live or work, and companies doing business in another EU country find it difficult to find online the information they need in order to fulfil their obligations. Even when national and EU services offer information and assistance, it is often fragmented, incomplete and of varying quality. For example, procedures that are online in some EU countries are not accessible to users from another EU country. As a result, people and businesses struggle to make the most of the opportunities offered by the Single Market or exercise their rights in the same way as locals.
This is not a minor problem. 92% of consumers and businesses are not enough aware of online services at European level that they could contact when facing a problem. 60% of start-ups and 2/3 of SMEs are held back from doing business cross-border in another EU country. Bigger businesses often dedicate considerable amounts of human resources to learning about the rules.
The single digital gateway responds to users' needs in a digital world. It is estimated that if high‑quality and accessible information was available online, businesses could save more than €11 billion per year, and EU citizens up to 855 000 hours of their time annually. This initiative will benefit those moving to or doing business in another EU country, but also the many people and companies in their home country. It also helps Member States to adopt e-government solutions to offer modern and efficient public service.
Description of action
The proposal for a single digital gateway was adopted on 2 May 2017. It is a key element in an EU-wide effort to empower citizens and businesses to make the most out of the opportunities offered by the Single Market. It will make it easier for anyone interested in living, working or doing business in another EU country to find not only information about rules and the most relevant procedures, but will also link them to assistance and problem-solving services, and to national procedures through one user-friendly interface in one of the languages they can understand.
The Single Digital Gateway will provide a single online entry point to access information, procedures and assistance services in an user-friendly manner.
High-quality information on travel, work, retirement, use of transportation, access to education and youth services, health services, on starting a business, accessing finance and environmental rules, employment rules, and taxation rules.
Online administrative procedures: Any procedure currently available online for domestic users will be accessible to users from other EU countries and in one additional EU language. 13 key administrative procedures will have to be made available online. According to the "once-only" principle, evidence will only need to be submitted once and then available to be reused in other procedures at the request of the user.
Access to assistance services in case of problems.
The single digital gateway builds on currently available solutions and existing portals such as the Your Europe portal and supports ongoing e-government efforts in many EU countries. Funding from several EU sources is available to governments for the digitisation of their national procedures. Better online information and services will also contribute to the reduction of costs for the administrations involved.
Main responsible at the European Commission
Status: Completed. A proposal of Regulation was made by the European Commission on 2 May 2017. Since then twelve meetings have taken place in Council and the Estonian Presidency is keen to reach a general compromise on the text. For this; the main changes proposed include (i) extending the implementation of the once-only principle to 2022 (originally 2020) to be able to benefit from the TOOP project's results; (ii) specifically mentioning the once-only principle in the article and (iii) facilitating not only exchange, but also access. The first public hearing in the European Parliament also took place; they are even more ambitious than the European Commission to progress, although concerned about data protection (which is being addressed).
The initiative, as proposed by the Commission in the Action Plan, has been achieved. This does not however, mean that the action is fully implemented across the EU.