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New report on digital government in the European Semester process published
After undergoing a significant overhaul, the new edition of the European Semester report has been published. The study seeks to assess how the European Semester, the cycle of EU economic and fiscal policy coordination, is addressing the issues related to the promotion of digital government. It evaluates how the ISA² Programme can contribute and helps identify and address the key trends affecting the digitisation of public administration in Europe, as well as strategies and processes to tackle common challenges faced by the EU countries. The study is carried out on annual basis to provide a check-up on the health of the public administration modernisation process in Europe. It is part of the National Interoperability Framework Observatory.
To provide the comprehensive picture on the state of digital government development in the EU, the report proposes a three-pronged analysis process. It focuses on providing a qualitative analysis of three sets of documents for every EU Member State:
- the Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) issued through the European Semester process;
- the National Reform Programmes (NRPs) devised by EU Member States to address their CSRs; and ultimately
- Member States’ national Operational Programmes (OPs) to analyse how EU countries plan to use EU funds to promote the development of digital government, and specifically how they individually address European Structural and Investment Funds’ Thematic Objectives 2 (Enhancing access to, and use and quality of ICT) and 11 (Improving the efficiency of public administration).
Following the initial qualitative analysis, the study elaborates a country-by-country view of the main digital government developments in every EU Member State. This helps provide a broad view of the latest developments in digital government within the EU in a subsequent section, capturing the main trends in this area, such as the development of digital skills, the implementation of eJustice measures or eProcurement. In addition to this analysis, the study further provides a snapshot of Member States’ socio-economic situation together with an assessment of how it may be affected by the implementation of digital government measures in key sectors such as healthcare and education.
Five policy conclusions
Following the compilation of the main commonalities across the strategic documents and EU countries, the analytical work draws five policy conclusions. These recommendations include for example the special delivery of targeted trainings to EU Member States when implementing their digital government strategies (Recommendation #1) or the integration of public service governance through the share of good practices (Recommendation #4).
A few new features make this new edition of the study stand apart from previous versions. It focuses more on the impacts of digital government and digitisation more broadly at the citizen level, and how it affects the private sector’s operations. Moreover, special attention was paid to the overall look and feel of the study, which now incorporates more user-friendly graphs and icons for visual representation. Overall, the study explains more clearly the European Semester process, which helps a non-expert audience grasp better the key concepts and main challenges addressed by this study. Finally, Thematic Objectives 2 and 11 are separated more clearly, which in turn made the analysis of various documents more effective and easier to synthesise.