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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 28 May 2013

eGovernment improving but citizens ask for more

Almost half of EU citizens (46%) now go online to look for a job, use the public library, file a tax return, register a birth, apply for a passport or use other eGovernment services. 80% say online public services save them time, 76% like the flexibility and 62% say they save money. But these users are more satisfied with online banking (8.5 satisfaction rating on a scale of 0 to 10), and online shopping (7.6) than with public services online (6.5).

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes responded to the results saying: "These are promising trends for eGovernment in Europe. However, when users are more satisified with online banking than online public services, it shows that public administrations must do better at designing eGovernment services around users' needs. And we have to do more to make eGovernment work across borders."

The Digital Agenda for Europe aims to increase the use of eGovernment services to 50% of EU citizens by 2015.

The eGovernment Benchmark 2012 report surveyed 28 000 internet users across 32 countries. Among the key findings:

  1. The most popular services were declaring income taxes (73% of users declare taxes online), moving or changing address (57%) and enrolling in higher education and/or applying for student grant (56%).

  2. While 54% of those surveyed still prefer face-to face contact or other traditional channels, at least 30% of them indicated they could also be regular eGovernment users if more relevant services were provided.

  3. 47% of eGovernment users got all they wanted from online services, 46% only partially received what they were looking for.

The report also signals that improvements are needed to online services for important life events like losing or finding a job, setting up a company and registering for studying.

  1. For people living in their own country, on average more than half of the administrative steps related to these key life events can be carried out online. Websites give information about the remaining steps. However, more transparency and interaction with users is needed to better empower citizens.

  2. The picture is less bright for the almost 2 million people who move or commute between EU Member States. While the majority of Member States provide some information about studying or starting a company from abroad, online registration is less common. Only 9 countries allow citizens from another EU Member State to register to study online, and only 17 countries allow them to take some steps to start a company in this way.

Background

These and other matters will be discussed by High-Level representatives from the EU and other countries (including developing countries) at the “Leading the way in eGovernment development Conference", to be held in Helsinki on 28-30 May.

This is the 10th eGovernment Benchmark Report since 2001. This year's survey looked at the situation in the 27 Member States of the EU, plus Croatia, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. For the first time, the report looked at both the supply side and the demand side of eGovernment, including a survey of eGovernment users. The report also looked at usability, transparency and key enablers. Finally the report assessed online services related to three major life events: losing/finding a job, setting up a company and studying.

Since December 2010 the Commission and Member States' public authorities have been working to expand and improve the services which they offer via the internet. The eGovernment Action Plan contains forty specific measures to enable citizens and businesses to use online facilities (see IP/10/1718). The Commission is now assessing progress and will report back by the end of 2013.

The Commission is committed to supporting the development and use of online public services which work across borders. In particular, the Commission has helped to fund Large Scale Pilot Projects which link up different national online systems and provide the building blocks for European cross-border public services. Work is on-going in eID (STORK 2.0), eHealth (epSOS) and eJustice (e-CODEX). Earlier pilots for eBusiness (SPOCS) and eProcurement (PEPPOL, now Open PEPPOL ASBL) have successfully completed their work. The Commission aims to continue supporting interconnected digital service infrastructures like eIdentification and eProcurement over 2014-2020 from the new Connecting Europe Facility.

In parallel, draft EU rules on eIdentification, authentication and signatures proposed last year (IP/12/558) aim to ensure people and businesses can use their own national electronic ID to access public services in other EU countries. They will also create an internal market for eSignatures and related online trust services.

Useful Links

The full report and country analysis

Build Connect Grow magazine on Large Scale Pilots

@EU_eGov

Digital Agenda website

Neelie Kroes' website

Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter

Contacts :

Ryan Heath (+32 2 296 17 16), Twitter: @RyanHeathEU

Linda Cain (+32 2 299 90 19)


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