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Brussels, 14 January 2005

eGovernment services yield real benefits for EU citizens and businesses

A new survey of eGovernment services prepared for the European Commission has found that EU citizens are saving 7 million hours a year on the time it takes to do their income tax returns, and EU firms are saving about €10 per transaction on their VAT returns by doing them on line. Moreover, there is still huge scope for further savings.

Viviane Reding, Information Society and Media Commissioner, welcomed these latest findings: “Using new technologies to provide public services can become a powerful way to cut red tape. The survey shows that public services on line clearly deliver concrete added value both to citizens and business. The challenge now is for public authorities to provide online public services interactively wherever possible and relevant, and in a manner which is as user-friendly as possible. We have to ensure that citizens and businesses across the EU get the maximum benefit from quality, efficiency and productivity gains achieved by supplying public services on line.”

The 2004 eGovernment-impact survey covered 48,228 users (19,896 replies from citizens and 28,332 from businesses). It provides an extensive snapshot of general user satisfaction with public services provided online by measuring perceptions of their usability, benefit and value. According to the survey, 90% of users appreciate the quality of services offered electronically and over 60% are very satisfied with these services. The most commonly reported benefits are saving time and gaining flexibility.

The key findings of the new survey include the following:

  • Online income tax declarations already save 7 million hours. If generally available and widely used in all Member States, the savings could rise to more than 100 million hours for citizens each year.
  • Online VAT declarations save about €10 per declaration. If maximum take-up were achieved, this could translate into savings of some € 0.5 billion for businesses across the EU each year.
  • On average, citizens and businesses save over one hour per service transaction.
  • 77% of users said that they would recommend the on-line services already used by them to others.

There were also some clear messages about areas for improvement. Citizens want systems to be easier to use with much better on-line help facilities. Businesses want services that are easier to find and that save them money.

This survey, commissioned to assess progress made under the eEurope action plan 2005 in the field of eGovernment, is available at:

The Commission is currently consulting on the development of a new coherent and forward-looking European Information Society policy and intends to bring forward proposals for a new eEurope 2010 initiative, including proposals for public services, before summer 2005.

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