Brussels, 29 September 2003
Commission adopts a communication on the role of eGovernment for Europe's future
26 September: The Commission today adopted a communication signalling the importance of eGovernment as a means of achieving world-class public administration in Europe. As part of the Lisbon strategy, eGovernment is seen as providing a major economic boost by providing new and better services for all citizens and companies of Europe. The Communication calls upon Member States to express their political commitment to co-operation at European level spanning both the private and public sector, to accelerate the take-up and development of eGovernment. It presents a set of actions that reinforce the eGovernment priorities currently being addressed within the eEurope 2005 Action Plan.
Enterprise and Information Society Commissioner, Erkki Liikanen said: “It is essential for Europe to have a public sector that helps the European economy to grow, that provides high quality services to all and that reinforces democratic involvement.”
The public sector has a prominent role in Europe's social and economic welfare. Public administrations need to meet the increasing expectations of citizens and companies for high quality and efficient services. Yet they also have to deal with challenging economic and social conditions, institutional change and the profound impact of new technologies. The most effective solutions to improving public services, democratic processes and public policies are those that combine information and communication technologies (ICT) with organisational change and new skills. This is what is called eGovernment.
Despite the emergence of good practices, there still remain many barriers and obstacles to overcome before widespread take-up of eGovernment can be achieved. In its Communication, the Commission therefore calls for strong political leadership and commitment from the Member States to achieve the modernisation of public administrations, with the help of eGovernment.
Administrations should ensure access to public services for all citizens, through investment in multi-platform approaches (PC, digital TV, mobile terminals, public access points etc). Trust and confidence in online interaction with governments needs to be ensured, the privacy of data safeguarded, and authentication and identity management issues properly addressed. Administrations could achieve significant productivity gains by making electronic public procurement easier, and more widely available. Specific action is needed to define, develop and implement pan-European eGovernment services and promote their use. This will facilitate people's freedom of movement in the internal market, and help to establish a true sense of European Citizenship.
Measures foreseen in the Communication to address these issues include exchange of good practices, support from European Union R&D, piloting and implementation programmes, and above all the initiatives and action plans at national, regional and local level.
Further information about the EU communication on eGovernment, is published at: