Did you know that on 6 October 2017 Ministers from EU Member States and the EFTA countries agreed on a roadmap and concrete actions to improve and transform eGovernment services in Europe?
On this day they signed the Tallinn Declaration on eGovernment confirming their commitment to strive to be open, efficient and inclusive, providing borderless, interoperable, personalised, user-friendly, end-to-end digital public services to all citizens and businesses. In doing so, they commit to the vision laid down in the EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020.
In addition and perhaps more importantly, the declaration also includes very concrete actions that the signatory states will take in the upcoming five years to further accelerate the digital transformation of governments. The Tallinn Declaration gives new impetus to the efforts and actions ongoing and planned at the local, regional, national and EU level to serve and deliver value to citizens and businesses.
So what have the Ministers committed to do and what does it mean for citizens and businesses the EU and EFTA countries?
Citizens and businesses are at the centre of public service services provisioning!
The Tallinn Declaration put the user at the heart of public service design and delivery. Ministers have indeed agreed on common user-centricity principles to enhance the digital experience and frictionless interaction of users when accessing public services. Such principles acknowledge and take into account the needs and expectations of citizens and business as they interact with public administration. With these principles they commit to:
- enabling users to digitally interact with public administrations;
- making these services easy to understand;
- requesting citizens and businesses only once the same information, respecting EU and national data protection and privacy regulation;
- engaging citizens in the creation of public services.
The EU institutions were also called upon to adopt similar principles by 2019.
The EU and the EFTA countries have committed to take steps in the next five years (2018 - 2022) to reach the vision and bring to life the principles of the EU eGovernment Action Plan, namely:
- digital-by-default, inclusiveness and accessibility;
- once only;
- trustworthiness and security;
- openness and transparency;
- interoperability by default.
For each and every principle above, some concrete actions are identified, such as:
- speeding up the implementation of the eIDAS regulation, including the notification of electronic identity schemes
- making digital public services secure and identifiable by using the eIDAS framework for qualified electronic trust services
- working on introducing once-only options in digital public services by collaboration and data exchange, including with other countries
- continuing to collaborate with the Commission on standards, cybersecurity, open data, interoperability and the re-use of the Digital Service Infrastructures developed under the Connecting Europe Facility
And, what about the European Commission?
As expressed in a joint statement by Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Gabriel, the Commission welcomes the Tallinn Declaration and confirms that it will continue to work closely with Member States to accelerate the process of modernising public administrations in Europe.
In the Tallinn Declaration, the European Commission is called upon to take further steps to reap the benefits of eGovernment. Among these requests is one to work on the organisational and technical steps necessary for the application of the once-only principle. This request matches very well the already stated ambition and commitment of the Commission. Indeed, the once-only principle was included in the Action Plan and is also part of the proposal for a draft regulation on the establishment of the Single Digital Gateway to regulate at the EU level the once-only principle cross-border at the explicit request of the user and in a limited number of procedures. At the technological level, underpinning this legal framework are the projects TOOPand SCOOP4C, which are funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Programme with the participation of a large number of EU countries, as well as the building blocks maintained and deployed in Connecting Europe Facility Programme (i.e. eDelivery, eID and the machine translation building blocks).
Lastly, as every level of government can contribute to the fulfilment of these commitments, the European Commission has made available a guide to help local and regional administrations in the process of digital transition access the available funding to help them in this process.
Is this all? No, not at all. New ideas are always welcome to reinforce our policy and strengthen the impact of our eGovernment Action Plan. Hence, continue sharing your ideas and proposals to improve digital public services across the EU via eGovernment4EU. Next cut-off date is 30 November 2017.
Alma Joy Ridderhof
This blogpost was originally publish in Futurium>eGovernment4EU. It is available here.