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Neelie Kroes

Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda

Build-Connect-Grow: the Future for eGovernment

eGovernment Conference at CeBIT

Hannover, 6 March 2012

I strongly believe that eGovernment can be and should be part of the solution to the current economic challenges. I’m sure you also share this view: our public sector needs to work smartly so as to lay the foundation for long term, sustainable growth.

The Digital revolution presents a new puzzle for European integration. Until recently, individual Member States have developed national eGovernment systems in isolation, unwittingly creating new digital borders where physical ones had long since disappeared.

We now aim to tear down these barriers. So that citizens and businesses can access services seamlessly across borders making the most of Europe's physical and Digital Single Market. To do so, we must connect our existing, disparate national systems.

The EU and Member States are developing a set of building blocks to provide on-line cross border services in key areas such as eProcurement, eID, business mobility, eJustice and electronic patient records.

At this stage they are part of a series of pilot projects. I invite you to visit their common stand here at the exhibition, under the appropriate motto of "Build Connect, Grow".

They offer a vision into the future for what the Digital Single Market has to offer.

Our efforts must now focus on moving these building blocks beyond the pilot phase. So that not only they become available in all Member States, but that they can form the basis on which we can build new cross border services.

To me this is a key priority. Proof of this is the Commission’s proposal for the Connecting Europe Facility. For the next financial framework, from 2014 to 2020, we have proposed up to 2 billion € to provide inter-connected on-line public services in key areas such as eProcurement, eID, eJustice and eHealth, for example.

Connecting our infrastructures and services will enhance our Digital Single Market.

It means competitiveness. It means growth, and it means efficiency. Helping us out of today's crisis.

For us to succeed, we need to secure the continued engagement and commitment by all relevant actors: National public administrations, industry and other stakeholders. In sum, all of us who see the public sector as a force for change, innovation and growth.

CEBIT is the ideal meeting place as it brings all of these actors together. It is about sharing experiences, establishing new contacts and sowing the seeds for new products and services.

I therefore encourage you to use this opportunity to share and discuss what we have achieved so far with our Pilot projects for digital services and how we can best work together in the years to come to achieve our goal of a joined-up European, borderless e-Government.

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