Public Services > Central Government

e-Government declaration helps European public administrations go digital

Matteo Natalucci Published 06 October 2017

States agree on a five year roadmap to enable seamless digital delivery of services across sectors and collaboration in public service provision


EU and European Free Trade Area (EFTA) member states today signed an e-Government declaration in Tallinn that constitutes a significant political commitment at EU level to digital public services for citizens and seamless cross-border public services for businesses.

The overall vision remains 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 – at all levels of public administration.

Member states reaffirmed their commitment to progress in linking up their public eServices and implement the e-IDAS regulation and the once-only principle (a system to ensure that citizens and businesses supply the same information only once to public administration) in order to provide efficient and secure digital public services that will make citizens and businesses lives easier. 

The UK’s Minister for Government and Resilience and Efficiency Caroline Nokes signed the declaration on behalf of the British government, committing the UK to adhere to it for the next five years. This declaration will not be affected by Brexit, and is again likely to be renewed in five years’ time.

The declaration will further UK’s public administration cooperation and sharing of e-Solutions with the EU member states, extending British involvement with the EU for a considerable time after “day zero” (the first day after Brexit).

The e-Government declaration follows the Malmo declaration signed in 2009 and the launch of the  e-Government Action Plan 2016-2020 which both recognise that service-oriented, reliable and innovative government at all levels are essential to develop a dynamic, productive and European society. Since 2009, EU member states have achieved several key milestones, such as e-Procurement, the deployment of key cross border services funded by the Connecting Europe Facility programme and the electronic identification (e-ID).

The declaration provides an important impetus for member states and the Commission, both collectively and individually, to continue to invest in accelerating the modernisation of the public sector. 

The signatories called upon EU institutions to adopt the digital-by-default principle and commitments similar to the annexed “User-centricity principles for design and delivery of digital public services” for all service interactions with EU institutions – by 2019.

Ministers want the EU and member states to take steps to enable seamless digital delivery of services across sectors and collaboration in public service provision, by allowing EU institutions, private sector and civil society linkages to information held in public administration databases and systems in appropriate policy areas.

In the annex of the declaration, ministers in charge of policy and coordination of digital public services in the EU and EFTA countries said they recognise the needs and expectations of citizens and businesses as they interact with public administrations. They commit to designing and delivering their services, guided by the principles of user-centricity (such as digital interaction, reduction of the administrative burden, digital delivery of public services, citizen engagement, redress and complaint mechanisms).

EU Vice-President Andurs Ansip and Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said  in a joint statement, "We welcome the EU Ministers' pledge to modernise public administrations in Europe, which is an important boost to the digital economy and society.

“European Ministers responsible for e-government committed today to accelerate wider use of electronic identification means across the EU. The Tallinn Declaration marks therefore serious progress for our citizens and businesses.”

The statement added, “All Europeans should be able to access online services in other Member States just as they do at home and electronic transactions have to become significantly easier in the internal market.

“This is possible only with the strong commitment from all Member States to complete the formal notification of electronic identification means under the eIDAS Regulation and complying with the once-only principle for key public services in the EU. Only then will our citizens and businesses across Europe benefit from the full deployment of efficient digital public services.”

The statement concluded saying that the Commission would continue to work closely with the Member States to accelerate the deployment process.

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