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Brussels, 16 April 2002

Commission launches open consultation on pan-European government e-services

An online consultation on the needs of citizens and enterprises for government e-services at the European level ('pan-European government e-services') was launched on 8th April 2002 by the IDA(1) (Interchange of Data between Administrations) programme of the Enterprise Directorate General of the European Commission. The consultation is available on the European Commission's EUROPA web site(2).

The purpose of this consultation is to help the Commission and the Member States to identify the needs and opportunities of EU enterprises and citizens in terms of pan-European government e-services. That is to say, the requirements for government e-services for those enterprises and citizens that interact electronically across Europe's borders with public administrations in other Member States.

The EU Member States are currently putting in place government e-services for enterprises and citizens. These e-services are designed to replace paper-based ways of working with public administration with electronic working over the Internet. Government e-services typically include web sites, one stop shops, downloadable forms, electronic transactions, interactive services, electronic forms, etc. They also involve the increased provision of public sector information on government web sites.

In this regard, Erkki Liikanen Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society, at CeBIT Hannover, 18 March 2002, alerted "business and public administrations to the need to re-engineer their processes in such a way as to maximise the benefits to be drawn from entering the digital economy".

However, there is a risk that that the development of government e-services may inadvertently result in the erection of barriers to the continued development of the Internal Market and the associated freedoms of movement. This would happen if citizens and enterprises who need to transact business electronically with a national public administration other than their own were unable do so.

These concerns were expressed in a report prepared for the Swedish presidency of the EU, and presented at the 36th Conference of the Directors-General of the Public Service of the Member States of the European Union, Uppsala Sweden, 17th and 18th May 2001. The report 'Public e-Services within the European Union Today'(3), noted that national e-services aimed at facilitating freedom of movement were poorly, if at all, developed.

This was confirmed by the study 'Benchmarking of electronic service delivery in the public sector'(4), produced by the IDA programme of the Enterprise Directorate General. This showed that there is considerable room for improvement in the pan-European dimension of government e-services. The study concluded that it is currently quite difficult to get access to full e-services from abroad.

As e-services are envisaged to become a major channel for enterprises and citizens in dealing with government, the Commission is now seeking the views and recommendations of all relevant stakeholders (both enterprises and citizens) to help it assess policy options on the trans-border access to government e-services.

All stakeholders who make use of government e-services, particularly those who have a need to interact with public administrations across Europe's borders, are invited to submit their contributions by 17th June 2002.

Full details of the consultation can be found at:


Additional information on the IDA programme can be obtained at:

For further information please contact:

(1) Hyperlink: HYPERLINK ""

(2) Hyperlink: HYPERLINK

(3) An extract from this report is available on the IDA web site at: HYPERLINK ""

(4) The report Benchmarking of electronic service delivery in the public sector is available on the IDA web site at: HYPERLINK

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