EU ministers commit to smarter e-government resources

19 Nov 2009

EU ministers have committed to developing smarter online public services for citizens and businesses by 2015.

At the fifth Ministerial eGovernment Conference in Malmö, Sweden, today, EU ministers signed a declaration outlining a joint vision on how more accessible, interactive and customised e-government can be delivered.

The European Commission welcomed the commitment, noting that e-government is a key step towards boosting Europe’s competitiveness, as citizens and businesses across Europe can benefit from time and cost savings.

“Today’s declaration is another step in the right direction to further improve online public services for citizens and businesses. The commitment to shift from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ to a customised approach is more likely to meet users’ needs and will open the path for more interactive and demand-driven public services in Europe,” said Siim Kallas, vice-president of the European Commission in charge of administrative affairs, audit and anti-fraud.

“The lives of citizens and businesses can be made increasingly easier if they can benefit from efficient public services ranging from simple registration of life events such as births and residence, business services such as company registration and information, or more sophisticated applications, including those relating to tax, VAT or customs declarations,” said Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media.

The European Commission is already working in close co-operation with member states to set concrete targets for the e-government agenda in Europe and is due to launch an action plan in the second half of 2010 that will propose concrete measures to achieve the objectives set out in the ministerial declaration.

Availability of e-government services growing

According to figures from the recent benchmarking report ordered by the European Commission on e-government in Europe, 71pc of the public services measured in the EU are fully available online through portals or websites, while only 59pc were available in 2007.

Austria, Malta, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Slovenia are leading countries in terms of availability of services, while Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania and Latvia are making important progress. However, differences across Europe remain significant, the report said.

The report also looked at the availability of e-procurement, which aims at improving public procurement. It is now at around 60pc in the EU, which is still far from the 100pc target for 2010 set by the i2010 e-government action plan.

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