eGovernment eGovernment

The Commission underlines (Annual Growth Survey 2016) that modern and efficient public administration is necessary to ensure fast and high-quality services for firms and citizens in the EU. The Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe (DSM) identifies eGovernment as one of the key elements to maximise the growth potential of the digital economy and to achieve an inclusive digital Europe. Online public services are crucial to increase the cost-efficiency, transparency and quality of the services provided to citizens and companies, in particular for SMEs.

The positive effects on administrative efficiency, transparency and quality of services are likely to have positive spill-over effects on the private sector's competitiveness, and thus also have a positive impact on employment. These benefits will be there for national, regional and local levels.

As set out in more detail in the new eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020, the vision is that by 2020, public administrations and public institutions in the European Union should be open, efficient and inclusive, providing borderless, personalised, user-friendly, end-to-end digital public services to all citizens in the EU. Innovative approaches should be used to design and deliver better services in line with the needs and demand of citizens and businesses. Public administrations should use the opportunity offered by the new digital environment to facilitate their interactions with stakeholders and with each other.

In order to achieve this vision the Action Plan identifies three policy priorities:

  • Modernising public administrations using Key Digital Enablers (for example technical building blocks such as CEF DSIs like eID, eSignature, eDelivery, etc.),
  • Enabling mobility of citizens and businesses by cross-border interoperability,
  • Facilitating digital interaction between administrations and citizens/businesses for high-quality public services.

Within these policy priorities, the eGovernment Action Plan identifies 20 concrete actions. In order to keep track of the fast changing environment, beyond these actions, further actions may be proposed either by the Commission or by stakeholders, including Member States.

It encourages practitioners and policymakers to go beyond investing in ICT alone, and to integrate technology in the overall efforts to modernise the public sector. This implies that digital enablers need to be built on a strong foundation, such as for example simplification, streamlining processes, institutional capacity, regulatory and administrative reforms as well as the necessary competences and skills. Governments should also open up between administrative silos, facilitating the digital exchange of data and modular services between administrative departments – at local, regional or national level – as this can reduce cost and avoid duplication. Opening up between administrations across borders can increase efficiency and facilitate the cross-border mobility of businesses and citizens (see building blocks under the CEF). Opening public sector data and services to third parties, in full compliance with the legal framework for the protection of personal data and for privacy, can facilitate the reuse of these assets for designing targeted - personalised, pro-active and location-based – services. This will create new business opportunities, but will also facilitate digital interaction between administrations and users. In addition, public administrations should go beyond the mere availability of services towards increasing the actual use of these services, by removing unnecessary steps, creating effective one-stop shops for users and by means of automatically delivered services. Measures should be taken to match rising customer expectations and deliver the potential that technology can offer in terms of better, faster and cheaper services.

Member States are encouraged to use Structural and Investment Funds in order to improve eGovernment services in line with the above and in line with the priorities set out in the eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020, in particular with the following principles in mind: Digital by Default, Once Only, Inclusiveness and Accessibility, Openness and Transparency, Cross-border by default and Interoperability by default. Public administrations are in particular encouraged to re-use the existing digital enablers (building blocks) under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). Since the new eGovenment Action Plan allows for new actions to be added to the Action Plan during its lifetime, public administrations at national, regional and local levels are encouraged to propose new ideas for action. An interactive digital engagement platform will be set up for that purpose. 

To the right are some of the key documents that can be read to better understand the EU viewpoint in the area of eGovernment/online public services.

Useful resources Useful resources

Thematic fiche

eGovernment & online public services

Further reading

EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020 - Accelerating the digital transformation of government. The digital transformation of government is a key element to the success of the Single Market; helping to remove existing digital barriers and preventing further fragmentation arising in the context of the modernisation of public administrations.

The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI)
DESI is a composite index that summarises relevant indicators on Europe’s digital performance and tracks the evolution of EU member states in digital competitiveness.

eGovernment in EU countries - State of play
This is a comprehensive overview of eGovernment, with factsheets for the 28 EU Member States and six other countries.

The Communication on the Digital Single Market announcing the new eGovernment Action Plan 2016–2020, in particular the section on eGovernment.            

The 2015 eGovernment Benchmarking Report

Toolbox for Quality of Public Administrations
This Toolbox aims to support, guide and encourage practitioners who want to build public administrations for prosperous, fair and resilient societies. It is intended as a reference and resource, by signposting readers to existing EU policies and international practices

Mid-term Evaluation of the e-Government Action Plan 2011–2015
This study  examines the extent to which the objectives of the eGovernment Action Plan 2011-2015 have been achieved, the progress made and the difficulties encountered – at mid-term.

eGovernment Studies
This page gathers studies in the area of eGovernment, by the European Commission.

This is a collaborative platform created by the European Commission that help e-Government professionals share their experience with each other and support them to find, choose, re-use, develop and implement interoperability solutions.

eGovernment4EU online platform
This online platform has been set up to gather ideas for new actions and provides a space for all to collaborate and discuss how to improve eGovernment services in the EU.

OECD Recommendation on Digital Government Strategies (2014)

Digital Dividends, World Bank World Development Report, 2016

The GovLab at New York University explores how to start re(imagining) digital governance (2013)

Information on ICT-enabled public sector innovation in H2020

eGovernment uses digital tools and systems to provide better public services to citizens and businesses. See here for more on DAE activities

The "Large Scale Pilot" projects develop practical solutions tested in real government service cases across Europe. For more information, read the online magazine

The ePractice portal combines online activities with workshops

The 2012 Benchmark report gives up to date insights on eGovernment performance in Europe