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Brussels, 7 October 2002

High-level e-Government Conference sets goals for on-line public services and launches new pan-European portal

E-government services must cater for Europe's linguistic diversity and be delivered as close as possible to the customer. These were key conclusions of the recent IDA (Interchange of Data between Administrations) conference: "Pan-European e-government services for citizens and enterprises: the role of IDA", in Brussels. The conference focused on the needs of cross-border users of e-government services. For citizens, these services include advice on living in another country (health care, driving licence, school, retirement, opening a bank account, finding employment etc). For enterprises, they include advice on accounting regulations, funding opportunities, human resources, employment laws, international trade, duties and procedures. To improve the current situation, the Conference saw the launching of the web-portal "" aimed at providing information and services to assist citizens and enterprises carry out cross-border activities with public administrations across Europe.

"If the requirements of cross-border users of e-government services are not taken into account when designing e-government services, these may even create unintentional barriers to the continued development of the single market. For enterprises, this could mean a relative loss of competitiveness and increased costs for citizens ", said Enterprise and Information Society Commissioner Erkki Liikanen.

More than 250 delegates shared views and ideas for the delivery of trans-border e-government services for citizens and enterprises, and, concluded, inter alia, that e-government services, including those with a pan-European dimension, should be delivered at the local or sectoral levels, where citizens and enterprises feel more "connected" to administrations. The importance of public administration addressing Europe's linguistic diversity by providing web sites in multiple European languages was emphasised.

The portal, which is an initiative of the EU IDA programme, provides information on government services of benefit to those who wish to work or re-locate across the Union. These services include, for citizens: Moving to another Country; Your Life (care, driving licence, school, retirement, opening a bank account, having a baby, finding employment, death and bereavement); and for enterprises; accounting regulations, funding opportunities, human resources, employment laws, international trade, duties and procedures.

The conference also saw the publication of the results of the IDA open consultation on pan-European e-government services. This followed on from a discussion document issued in April 2002 on policy on the pan-European dimension of e-government services. The open consultation largely concluded that the barriers to pan-European government e-services are not exclusively technological or language related (although problems relating to interoperability and complex language issues were identified). The main barriers involve unfamiliarity with administrative processes in other Member States, perceived lack of transparency, non-equivalence of procedures, etc. This was validated by an e-Government Observatory report: 'Survey on E-Government Services to Enterprises', also published at the conference. The e-Government Observatory is an IDA initiative. The survey pointed out differences between the demand for services as envisaged by enterprises and the implementation of services as planned by public administration.

The full proceedings of the IDA conference are available at:

The portal can be accessed at:

The IDA discussion document on future policy on pan-European government e-services is available at:

The results of the open consultation on policy for pan-European government e-services are available at:

The E-Government Observatory's report on e-government services to enterprises is available at:

Further information on the IDA programme can be found at:

IDA can be contacted at:

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