The European Commission has been hard at work pushing out policies and guidelines to address the few remaining issues in its move towards a truly unified and digital Single Market.
A key constituent of that market is the public sector which directly contributes over €3.5 trillion to the economy, in addition to its social and regulatory impact. It should come as no surprise then that the operational harmonization of the various public sector agencies and organizations spread across the various member states is considered instrumental in achieving the goals of the Single Market.
This harmonization of the public sector is based on a few key principles and digital enablers. Here is a brief look at a few of the main ones.
eInvoicing is not something that is entirely new to businesses in the EU. Companies have already been using it to greatly improve their working capital cycles while also saving on the costs associated with manually handling non-electronic invoices. However, the challenge with the current system is the inconsistency caused by a wide diversity in formats as well as national rules related to eInvoicing. The European Committee for Standardization hopes to remove all these barriers and speed up the invoicing process for consumers, businesses and the public sector service providers.
eDelivery is another key component of the European Union’s digital strategy. It uses a distributed network of nodes for secure and fast communication between public administrators, businesses and citizens. eDelivery provides the technical specifications that will eventually enable seamless, cross-border and inter-agency sharing of data and information in public fields such as law enforcement, consumer protection, procurement and so on.
eProcurement is more than just having an online portal for public sector procurement tenders. The intent is to modify the whole process by making it easier, faster, more transparent and cost effective. Public sector purchasing bodies are to move to a fully electronic means for posting and awarding tenders and electronic submission of tenders would also become mandatory by 2018. This would further enhance cross-border and inter-organizational interoperability.
eIDAS provides identification, authentication and trust services for all sorts of transactions performed on the digital landscape. Although electronic identification has been in use before, eIDAS provides for a system that is harmonized for use across all the member states of the EU while ensuring the highest security standards. It is a key enabler for most of the other policy initiatives as it provides the basis for the transaction level security that is critical for these applications.
European Interoperability Framework
The European Interoperability Framework lays the groundwork for interoperability between organizations and entities offering public series across the EU. It makes full use of other guidelines like eIDAS or the Public Sector Information Directive to ensure seamless delivery of public services to all EU citizens.
Towards a Better Public Service Delivery System
These policies (and others) together form the core foundation on which a more efficient, transparent and secure public service delivery system will stand. However, rather than reinventing the wheel, these guidelines take the existing best practices and harmonize them to the greatest extent possible so as to ensure cross-border compatibility. The policymakers hope that the public sector can perhaps lead the way in demonstrating the strength and robustness of the underlying core principles of the Single Market.
References and Further Reading
- The European Interoperability Framework - Implementation Strategy (2017), by the European Commission
- Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing (2016), by the European Commission
- Selected articles on Authentication (2014-18), by Heather Walker, Luis Balbas, Guillaume Forget, Jan Kjaersgaard, Dawn M. Turner and more
- Selected articles on Electronic Signing and Digital Signatures (2014-todays), by Ashiq JA, Guillaume Forget, Jan Kjaersgaard , Peter Landrock, Torben Pedersen, Dawn M. Turner, Tricia Wittig and more
- REGULATION (EU) 2016/679 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) (2016), by the European Parliament and the European Council
Proposal for a REGULATION concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications and repealing Directive 2002/58/EC (Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications), (2017), by the European Parliament and the European Council
- REGULATION (EU) No 910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market and repealing Directive 1999/93/EC (2014) by the European Parliament and the European Commission
DIRECTIVE 2013/37/EU amending Directive 2003/98/EC on the re-use of public sector information (2013) by the European Parliament and the Council
- Recommendations for the Security of Internet Payments (Final Version) (2013), by the European Central Bank
- Draft NIST Special Publication 800-63-3: Digital Authentication Guideline (2016), by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, USA.
- NIST Special Publication 800-63-2: Electronic Authentication Guideline (2013), by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, USA.
- Security Controls Related to Internat Banking Services (2016), Hong Kong Monetary Authority