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Procedure : 2016/2273(INI)
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Document selected : A8-0178/2017

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PV 15/05/2017 - 19
CRE 15/05/2017 - 19

Votes :

PV 16/05/2017 - 6.5
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Texts adopted
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Tuesday, 16 May 2017 - Strasbourg
EU eGovernment action plan 2016-2020

European Parliament resolution of 16 May 2017 on the EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020 (2016/2273(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the G8 Open Data Charter,

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘The European eGovernment Action Plan 2011-2015 – Harnessing ICT to promote smart, sustainable and innovative Government’ (COM(2010)0743),

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 April 2012 on ‘A competitive digital single market – eGovernment as a spearhead’(1),

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020. Accelerating the digital transformation of government’ (COM(2016)0179),

–  having regard to the Commission’s eGovernment Benchmark Report 2016,

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe’ (COM(2015)0192) and to the accompanying Commission staff working document (SWD(2015)0100),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 January 2016 entitled ‘Towards a Digital Single Market Act’(2),

–  having regard to Decision (EU) 2015/2240 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 establishing a programme on interoperability solutions and common frameworks for European public administrations, businesses and citizens (ISA2 programme) as a means for modernising the public sector,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 1 June 2016 entitled ‘European standards for the 21st century’ (COM(2016)0358),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 31 March 2011 entitled ‘Critical Information Infrastructure Protection – Achievements and next steps: towards global cyber-security’ (COM(2011)0163),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2016/1148 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2016 concerning measures for a high common level of security of network and information systems across the Union,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 2 July 2014 entitled ‘Towards a thriving data-driven economy’ (COM(2014)0442),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2016 on ‘Towards a thriving data-driven economy’(3),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 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),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1316/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing the Connecting Europe Facility, amending Regulation (EU) No 913/2010 and repealing Regulations (EC) No 680/2007 and (EC) No 67/2010,

–  having regard to the Commission communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Connectivity for a Competitive Digital Single Market – Towards a European Gigabit Society’ (COM(2016)0587) and to the accompanying Commission staff working document (SWD(2016)0300),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Electronic Communications Code (COM(2016)0590) and to its Annexes 1 to 11 – Impact Assessment (SWD(2016)0303), Executive Summary of the Impact Assessment (SWD(2016)0304), and Executive Summary of the Evaluation (SWD(2016)0305),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulations (EU) No 1316/2013 and (EU) No 283/2014 as regards the promotion of Internet connectivity in local communities (COM(2016)0589),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 laying down measures concerning open internet access and amending Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services and Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union,

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2016/2102 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2016 on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market and repealing Directive 1999/93/EC (‘eIDAS Regulation’),

–  having regard to Directive 2013/37/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on re-use of public sector information (PSI Directive),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 10 January 2017 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council introducing a European services e-card and related administrative facilities (COM(2016)0824),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 10 January 2017 entitled ‘Exchanging and Protecting Personal Data in a Globalised World’ (COM(2017)0007),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 10 January 2017 entitled ‘Building a European Data Economy’ (COM(2017)0009),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 10 January 2017 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council 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) (COM(2017)0010),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 10 January 2017 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC (COM(2017)0008),

–  having regard to Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 19 April 2016 entitled ‘European Cloud Initiative – Building a competitive data and knowledge economy in Europe’ (COM(2016)0178),

–  having regard to Directive 2014/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on public procurement and repealing Directive 2004/18/EC,

–  having regard to Directive 2014/55/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on electronic invoicing in public procurement,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 10 June 2016 on ‘A New Skills Agenda for Europe’ (COM(2016)0381),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the opinions of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Committee on Legal Affairs (A8-0178/2017),

A.  whereas the modernisation strategies of public administrations must be adapted to a changing environment enabling the transformation to digital government;

B.  whereas the digitalisation of government services should help to achieve the full potential of the single market, promote better exercise of citizenship, improve quality of life for citizens and the social and economic development of the regions, enhance citizens’ understanding of and involvement in public services and improve their efficiency and cost effectiveness, and strengthen political participation by enhancing citizens’ dialogue with public authorities and increasing transparency; whereas the EU should encourage the exchange of best practices and technologies between Member States;

C.  whereas the ICT sector is called on to assist this transformation process by providing customised solutions for public administrations;

D.  whereas the transformation to digital government must be initiated at Union, Member State, regional and local level;

E.  whereas the full potential of a digital public administration can only be achieved if citizens and businesses can fully trust the services offered;

F.  whereas the EU e‑Justice Portal is an essential tool for access to information and to justice, and constitutes an important step in achieving the modernisation of EU public administration;

G.  whereas better access to information and the increased use of improved digital tools for company-law-related formalities throughout the lifecycle of companies should increase legal certainty and reduce company expenses;

H.  whereas efforts are ongoing to interconnect electronic business and insolvency registers across the Union, which is important for transparency and legal certainty in the internal market;

I.  whereas single access to these registers through the e‑Justice Portal is not yet possible because of differences in the technical standards used by Member States; whereas further efforts are needed to achieve accessible, interoperable, user-friendly eGovernment tools available to the EU public; whereas a degree of data security and protection in data processing is a basic prerequisite for using e‑Justice, given the nature of the data involved in judicial work;

1.  Believes that the development of eGovernment is a key element of the Digital Single Market, and calls on the Commission to identify specific, measurable targets for the Action Plan based on performance indicators, and to monitor and report annually to Parliament on the progress that has been made in its implementation; stresses that the eGovernment Action Plan 2011-2015 produced positive results both at EU and Member State level; encourages the Commission and the Member States to also assess the needs of consumers to increase the level of use of e-services;

Public administrations going digital

2.  Is of the opinion that public administrations should be open, transparent, efficient and inclusive, providing borderless, personalised, user-friendly, accessible and end-to-end digital public services to citizens and businesses by 2022, thereby reducing costs, barriers and administrative burdens for citizens and businesses, in particular SMEs, and thus reaping all the benefits of the digital revolution; considers, however, that this should be compatible with fair restructuring in public administration;

3.  Supports the plan to base future initiatives on the ‘digital by default’ principle, and stresses the importance of implementing the ‘once-only’ principle, which will make interaction with public administrations easier for citizens and businesses by avoiding unnecessarily time-consuming administrative processes and make it easier for information previously supplied to be reused for other applications; highlights that, in fact, according to the Commission’s studies, the implementation of the once-only principle’ approach at EU level is expected to save around EUR 5 billion per year by 2017; calls on the Commission to report to Parliament on the results of the once-only large-scale pilot for businesses and to launch by the end of 2017 a once-only large-scale pilot for citizens;

4.  Welcomes the Commission’s intention to establish as early as possible a single digital gateway that would provide citizens and businesses with a linked-up, coherent package of online single-market services at both national and EU level, covering information about the EU and national rules, as well as assistance services, and to complete the most important procedures for citizens and businesses in cross-border situations and help implement the once-only principle in the EU; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure its rapid and full implementation and to take all necessary measures to guarantee its efficient functioning and interoperability, so as to unlock its full potential and benefits; stresses that existing best practices already in use in some Member States should be promoted; believes that this initiative should ensure that all Member States have a single official e-service portal providing access to all their online services and the available EU interoperable services; urges the Member States to ensure rapid and full implementation of the ‘Points of Single Contact’ portals;

5.  Calls on the Commission to consider further ways to promote digital solutions for formalities throughout a company’s lifecycle, the electronic filing of company documents and the provision of cross-border and other information for business registers; notes that in this field legislation may be the only way to create an appropriate legal framework for EU-wide digital solutions;

6.  Considers that work on the electronic interconnection of Member States’ business and insolvency registers should be stepped up, and stresses the importance of this interconnection for the internal market; stresses that any information to be provided should follow a common European template or framework;

7.  Highlights the importance of inclusiveness, accessibility and general access to digital public services, an essential factor underpinning the design and delivery of policies promoting competitiveness, growth and jobs, and calls on the Member States to fully implement and apply the new directive on the accessibility of websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies, which will benefit people with disabilities and elderly people;

8.  Stresses the importance of ‘open data’, whereby certain public-sector information is freely available for use and reuse, including by third parties, within and between public administrations; stresses the need for safeguards that ensure respect for copyright and data protection; reiterates that open and inclusive free flow of data would allow the further development and creation of new innovative solutions, boosting efficiency as well as transparency; stresses that that kind of data and public information should therefore be made available where possible with a view to fostering new opportunities for knowledge and contributing to the development and strengthening of an open society; recalls that public administrations should, to the extent possible, make information available, especially when the volume of data generated is very large, such as in the case of the INSPIRE programme; considers that more efforts should be made to implement coordinated data strategies in both the EU institutions and the Member States, including increasing and speeding up the release of data into the public domain, ensuring better quality of data and easy access to data and providing eLegislation in machine-readable formats;

9.  Highlights the benefits of eParticipation and stresses that Member States should make more use of eConsultation, eInformation and eDecision-making; stresses that, in order to avoid abuse of the systems, eParticipation, and especially with regard to eDecision-making, must be in line with the eIDAS Regulation to ensure accountability and transparency;

10.  Welcomes the initiatives taken by all the EU institutions to enhance eParticipation mechanisms at EU and Member State level, and asks the Commission to further develop and promote digital tools, such as electronic voting systems and e-petitions, which aim at enhancing and encouraging the participation of citizens and businesses in the EU policy-making process;

11.  Notes that use of mobile devices has increased significantly over the past five years, while only one third of public websites are mobile-friendly; calls, therefore, on the Member States to assess the possibilities of developing mobile solutions for eGovernment services, and to ensure their user-friendliness and accessibility for all; stresses that in order to future-proof the accessibility of eGovernment services, public administration websites and instruments must be kept up to date with modern technology and the ever-evolving cyber security requirements;

12.  Calls on the Member States to promote and use eProcurement when buying supplies and services or tendering public works, thus making public spending more transparent and efficient and leading to reduced costs and less bureaucracy; calls on the Member States also to increase the use of contract registers and interoperable e-signatures in their public sectors; calls on the Commission and the Member States to take the necessary steps to ensure that public procurement procedures are transparent and that information is available in real time to all participants therein; calls on the Commission, in this regard, to facilitate the exchange of best practices on the use of the innovation criteria in public tenders, in particular by making sure that tenders do not pre-empt solutions but rather leave room for tenderers to propose innovative, open solutions; calls on the Commission to continue its work on eInvoicing standards, eSubmission and eNotification, and to encourage the use of electronic identification in public administrations’ internal systems in order to improve accountability and traceability in respect of all operations in such systems;

13.  Emphasises the importance of developing safe, reliable, interoperable cross-border public services, avoiding further fragmentation and supporting mobility; stresses that interoperability and standardisation are among the key elements for implementing eGovernment structures, and therefore welcomes the Commission communication entitled ‘European standards for the 21st century’ and also in this regard the revision of the European Interoperability Framework; highlights that the use of open standards is fundamental for EU citizens to be able to participate in government platforms, and stresses that standards must serve the interests of society at large by being inclusive, fair and future-proof, and be developed in an open and transparent way; calls on the Commission and the Member States therefore to promote open standards when developing public digital solutions and to give greater attention to interoperability and the potential benefits of using digital technology effectively;

14.  Regrets that only 28 % of European households in rural areas had a fixed fast internet connection in 2015 and that the average coverage of 4G in the EU, despite being 86 % in the EU overall, is only 36 % in rural areas, and draws attention to the urgent need for continuous support for broadband expansion, especially in rural areas, since access to a high-speed broadband connection is indispensable for using and benefiting from eGovernment services; calls on the Commission and the Member States therefore to continue providing adequate funding for broadband expansion, digital service infrastructure and cross-border interaction of public administration after 2020, within the scope of the Connecting Europe Facility or other suitable EU programmes, thereby ensuring long-term sustainability; calls on operators in this regard to invest more in infrastructure to improve connectivity in rural areas and to ensure that rural areas will also benefit from very high-capacity networks in the form of 5G, since this will be a key building block of our digital society;

15.  Stresses that the full deployment of safe, adequate, resilient, reliable and high-performance infrastructure, such as ultrafast broadband and telecommunications networks, is essential for the functioning of eGovernment services; calls, therefore, for the swift adoption of the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) to achieve European strategic objectives; considers it crucial that public authorities are kept up to date with technological developments and have sufficient capacity to adopt innovative technologies, such as big data and the internet of things, or the uptake of mobile services, such as 5G, that are able to meet users’ needs;

16.  Considers the re-use of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) technical building blocks across the public and private sector to be vital for the functioning of the digital service infrastructure; underlines the need to guarantee the long-term sustainability of CEF technical building blocks, as well as the results of large-scale pilot projects and ISA2 beyond 2020; highlights the potential offered by the Wifi4EU initiative in promoting universal access to high-speed networks; calls therefore on the Commission, together with the Member States, to develop a long-term governance structure with a view to attaining the goals of the Digital Single Market, the priority of which should be to respond to the needs of citizens and businesses, and which should, wherever possible, promote the use of common standards;

17.  Notes that the uptake of innovative solutions for data-intensive public services, such as the use of cloud services, is still slow and fragmented; recalls that services such as INSPIRE generate large volumes of data, which require higher computing capacity; welcomes in this regard the Commission’s ‘European Cloud Initiative’ and considers that the user base of the European Open Science Cloud should be extended to the public sector;

18.  Calls on the Commission to raise awareness of the importance of the e‑Justice Portal and its uses, and to make it a one-stop shop for all the relevant legal information and for access to justice in the Member States; notes, however, that not all parties to proceedings have equal access and the necessary skills to use information and communications technology, which could mean that their access to justice is limited; stresses that particular attention should be paid to giving people with disabilities access to the e‑Justice Portal;

19.  Welcomes the introduction of e‑CODEX, allowing direct communications between citizens and courts in all Member States, as a major step to facilitate cross-border access to public services;

20.  Congratulates the Council and the Commission on their work in introducing the European Case Law Identifier (ECLI), which is highly useful for legal research and judicial dialogue, and welcomes the creation of the ECLI search engine, which should facilitate access to legal information across the Union;

21.  Reiterates the need to improve the digital skills of administrative staff, as well as of all citizens and businesses, by developing and supporting training activities at national, regional and local level in order to minimise the risk of digital exclusion, and to introduce specialised training courses on eGovernment services for civil servants and decision-makers; stresses that digital skills are an absolute prerequisite for participating in eGovernment; encourages the development of eLearning curricula that are recognised in the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) system; considers that a key element of the development of eGovernment is continual growth in the development of digital skills; stresses the need to tackle and prevent digital divides between geographical areas, between people from different socioeconomic levels, and between generations; calls on the Member States to take up the suggestions in the eGovernment Action Plan for enabling young people, in particular, to deal with administrative bodies in ways that reflect their communication habits in other areas of their lives, and further underlines that teaching digital skills is of particular importance in the case of elderly people, who often lack skills or confidence when using e-services; considers that the Member States should promote life-long learning and facilitate communication and educational campaigns, including the creation of networks for media literacy teaching, so that EU citizens may make full use of the capacities offered by the new eGovernment portals and services;

22.  Stresses the need for an inclusive online and offline dual approach, so as to avoid exclusion, given the current rate of digital illiteracy and the fact that more than 22 % of Europeans, especially elderly people, prefer not to use online services when dealing with public administrations; stresses that there are multiple reasons and barriers for refusal to use online services that must be addressed or removed, such as unawareness, lack of skills, lack of trust and misperceptions; believes that, in order to avoid digital exclusion or a deeper digital divide, access and the quality of eGovernment services for citizens who live in rural, mountainous or remote areas must be ensured;

23.  Stresses that going digital can bring cost savings for public authorities; understands that digitalisation and other challenges stemming from modernisation packages are often tackled in a context of budgetary constraints, and that, in particular, regional and local authorities still have an immense workload ahead of them in the coming years that will therefore require not only the adoption of digital solutions based on open standards, thereby reducing maintenance costs and increasing innovation, but also the promotion of public-private partnerships; emphasises that cost-effectiveness will appear with time because investment in digitalisation will help to reduce administrative costs in the future; underlines that in the meantime the need for an online and offline approach remains inevitable;

24.  Points out that, in considering the digitalisation of individual administrative procedures, account must be taken of objections based on overriding public interest;

Cross-border eGovernment at all administrative levels

25.  Emphasises the importance of creating a sustainable cross-border eGovernment infrastructure with a view to simplifying access to and exercise of the four fundamental freedoms;

26.  Highlights the importance of cross-border eGovernment services for citizens in their daily life, and stresses the benefits of further developing the Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information (EESSI) and the EURES European Job Mobility portal, as well as the cross-border eHealth services;

27.  Welcomes the various Commission initiatives to develop cross-border digital prescriptions, in particular with regard to interoperability and standardisation; stresses, however, that the uptake of these solutions is far too slow given the value and importance of such services for EU citizens; calls on the Commission to ensure that the right framework is in place to foster trust between Member States and accelerate the development of cross-border digital prescriptions, from data protection and security of data exchanges to the deployment of necessary digital infrastructure and services;

28.  Asks the Commission to further develop and promote the use of the EURES European Job Mobility portal, through closer integration and collaboration between public employment services’ systems and the EURES portal, in order to facilitate and increase the mobility of employers and job seekers in the European Union;

29.  Underlines that eHealth can significantly improve the quality of life of citizens by providing more accessible, cost-effective and efficient healthcare to patients;

30.  Considers that, for the full functioning of cross-border eGovernment services, language barriers must be addressed, and that public administrations, especially in border regions, should make their information and services available in the languages of their Member States but also in other relevant European languages;

31.  Highlights the importance of an exchange of best practices, examples and project experience between all levels of administration, both within and between Member States; recognises that EU-funded large-scale pilots such as eSENSE, eCODEX and TOOP significantly contribute to enhancing cross-border services in Europe;

32.  Is of the opinion that comprehensive monitoring of eGovernment performance in the Member States should ensure that the performance methodology takes national specificities adequately into account; highlights the benefits of reliably measured performance in Member States to policy makers and public opinion;

33.  Points out that interoperability, open standards and open data are not only fundamental in a cross-border context but also needed at the national, regional and local administrative levels in each Member State, while also taking into account the need for data protection in the transfer of information;

34.  Calls on the Commission and the other EU institutions to set an example in the area of eGovernment and to offer a transparent user-friendly gateway for citizens and businesses, as well as end-to end digital services, in particular for the application for EU funding and public procurement, and calls on the Commission also to accelerate its efforts in translating its websites into all the EU official languages and in highlighting best practices;

Data protection and security

35.  Emphasises that citizens’ trust in the protection of personal data is fundamental to securing the success of the eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020, and underlines that public administrations must handle personal data securely and fully in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the EU Rules on Privacy, thereby boosting trust in digital services;

36.  Emphasises that an eHealth plan should also be considered in the context of the eGovernment Action Plan, as this is an important part of it; considers that the gathering and transfer of data should be improved and that cross-border data transfer should be possible if needed in certain cases, as this will facilitate the provision of health services for all EU citizens;

37.  Points out that, at the same time, data protection legislation should not be conceived as an obstacle but rather as a starting point for the development of innovative eGovernment solutions, and therefore stresses the need for effective guidance on the application of the GDPR, as well as for a continuous exchange with stakeholders;

38.  Notes that only 15 % of Europeans declare that they have a sense of complete control over the use of their personal data; considers it important to further explore the principle of data ownership, and trusts that future measures will be able to build on the Commission communication ‘Building a European data economy’ and other related proposals;

39.  Urges the Member States to ensure the fast and complete implementation of the eIDAS Regulation, as eSignature, eIdentification and eAuthentification are the underlying building blocks of cross-border digital public services; stresses the importance of encouraging the uptake of notified eID schemes under the eIDAS Regulation by citizens, businesses and public administration; stresses in this respect that the adoption of these key enablers should be priorities of both the private and the public sector in the development of digital services; calls on the Commission therefore to take action to facilitate and promote public-private cooperation in the cross-border and cross-sector use of digital identification and signatures; welcomes as well the ISA2 programme, which covers all EU policies requiring interoperability of systems’ functioning at EU and national level;

40.  Emphasises that measures to protect public authorities from cyber-attacks and to enable them to withstand such attacks are extremely important and need to be developed; stresses the need for a European-level approach in this regard, particularly given that the once-only principle, which is a component of the eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020, depends on the exchange of citizens’ data between European administrative bodies;

41.  Stresses that security of data must be taken into account as early as the design phase of applications, which must be modern and easy to handle, and of administrative processes, which must be efficient, (‘security by design’) in order to enable citizens and businesses to fully benefit from modern technologies;

o   o

42.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ C 258 E, 7.9.2013, p. 64.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0009.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0089.

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