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EEurope 2005

eEurope 2005

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about eEurope 2005

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Digital Strategy i2010 Strategy eEurope Action Plan Digital Strategy Programmes

eEurope 2005

The eEurope 2005 action plan succeeds the 2002 action plan which mainly focused on Internet connectivity in Europe. The new action plan, which was approved by the Seville European Council in June 2002, is aimed at translating this connectivity into increased economic productivity and improved quality and accessibility of services for all European citizens based on a secure broadband infrastructure available to the largest possible number of people.

Document or Iniciative

Communication of 28 May 2002 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – The eEurope 2005 action plan: an information society for everyone [COM(2002) 263 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The general objective of the eEurope 2005 action plan is to stimulate the development of services, applications and contents while speeding up the deployment of secure broadband Internet access. Broadband will ensure high-speed and continuous access to the Internet. There is also the general aim of providing access for everyone in order to combat social exclusion, whether it is due to particular needs, a disability, age or illness.

The main objectives to be achieved by 2005 in the framework of eEurope 2005 are:

  • modern online public services:
  • e-government services;
    • e-learning services;
    • e-health services.
  • a dynamic e-business environment;
  • a secure information infrastructure;
  • widespread availability of broadband access at competitive prices;
  • benchmarking and the dissemination of good practice.

eEurope 2005 follows the same approach as eEurope 2002, which is to define clear objectives and to benchmark progress as it is made. It also aims to speed up the adoption of new legislative instruments and to redirect programmes towards the priorities identified.

MODERN ONLINE PUBLIC SERVICES

e-government

eEurope 2005 proposes the following activities for the introduction of modern online public services:

  • providing broadband connections for all public authorities by 2005;
  • the adoption by the Commission, by the end of 2003, of a framework for interoperability to facilitate the provision of pan-European e-government services for citizens and businesses. Interoperability means the capacity with which two programmes (a client and a server, for example) are able to exchange and interpret their data properly;
  • interactive public services which are accessible to everyone via broadband networks and multi-platform access (telephone, television, PC, etc.) by the end of 2004;
  • most public supply contracts to be awarded electronically by the end of 2005;
  • ease of access for all citizens to public access points to the Internet (PAPI).

e-learning

The action plan encourages further use of electronic means of teaching, as with the e-learning initiative. In this framework, eEurope 2005 proposes a series of targeted measures, including:

  • broadband Internet access for all schools and universities by 2005;
  • online access to be made available by universities to students and researchers by the end of 2005 – with the support of the e-learning and eTen programmes;
  • the launching by the Commission, by the end of 2003, of research activities on the deployment of computer networks and platforms based on high-performance design infrastructures;
  • the launching by the Member States, with support from the Structural Funds, of training activities to provide adults with the skills needed to work in a knowledge-based society.

e-health

The action plan emphasises that digital technologies offer substantial benefits for health management. They offer the potential not only to reduce administrative costs, but also to deliver health care services at a distance and to provide medical information and preventative services. In this field, the eEurope 2005 action plan provides for:

  • the presentation by the Commission, in the spring of 2003, of a proposal for the introduction of a pan-European health insurance card, which will replace the paper forms currently needed to obtain care in another Member State;
  • the establishment by the Member States of health information networks between points of care (hospitals, laboratories and homes);
  • the provision of online health services to the general public (e.g. electronic medical records, teleconsultation, eReimbursement).

A DYNAMIC e-BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

e-business comprises both e-commerce (buying and selling online) and business restructuring processes. In this field, the activities envisaged include:

  • reassessment by the Commission of the current legislation in order to identify and, where necessary, eliminate factors which prevent businesses from launching into e-business. An e-business summit, planned for 2003, will mark the launching of this reassessment, which is open to all parties concerned;
  • the establishment by the Commission of a European eBusiness network to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in order to strengthen and coordinate activities to assist eBusiness;
  • private sector development of interoperable eBusiness solutions for transactions, security, procurement and payments.

A SECURE INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE

The gradual introduction of a secure information infrastructure is one of the main objectives of the eEurope 2005 action plan. Measures have already been adopted in this field at European Union level: a proposal from the Commission in June 2001 on network security, combating cyber crime in the framework of the eEurope 2002 action plan, a Directive on the protection of personal data in the telecommunications sector, and activities under the research framework programme. In the field of security, the new action plan proposes the following activities:

  • the establishment of a cyber security task force – on the basis of a proposal which the Commission should put forward in 2002;
  • the introduction by the public and private sectors of a “security culture” in the design and implementation of information and communication products;
  • examining the possibility for secure communications between public services.

WIDE AVAILABILITY OF BROADBAND ACCESS

The eEurope 2005 action plan calls for the stimulation of innovation and increased use of and investment in broadband communications. To achieve this, the action plan focuses on the following activities:

  • use of the new regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy to guarantee frequency availability for wireless broadband services;
  • support for broadband access in less-favoured areas;
  • increased provision by public authorities of their contents on different interactive technological platforms;
  • speeding up the transition to digital television.

BENCHMARKING

The action plan also provides for measures for the analysis, identification and dissemination of good practices, in particular through conferences and support networks. In the framework of the benchmarking exercise launched by eEurope 2002, it is planned that a list of indicators and a renewed methodology will be put in place at European Union level by the end of 2002.

Related Acts

REVIEW OF eEUROPE 2005

Communication from the Commission of 21 August 2009 to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Final Evaluation of the eEurope 2005 Action Plan and of the multiannual programme (2003-2006) for the monitoring of eEurope 2005 Action Plan, dissemination of good practices and the improvement of network and information security (Modinis) [COM(2009) 432 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

This Communication reports on the final evaluation of the eEurope 2005 Action Plan and the Modinis Programme.
With regard to the eEurope 2005 Action Plan, the evaluators found the strategy to be useful and relevant. In fact, the Programme had enabled a dialogue between countries with very different cultures and references to be set up and maintained. Weaknesses were noted concerning the stakeholders’ group, which did not appear to fulfil its advisory role in a satisfactory manner.
The Modinis Programme also received a positive assessment in that it added value to Member States’ activities. However, a lack of transparency was found in the relationship between the Modinis Management Committee and the eEurope Advisory Group.
The weaknesses identified did not, however, affect the implementation of the Programme. They have been taken into account under the framework of the i2010 Initiative and one of its main funding instruments (ICT-PSP).

Commission communication of 18 February 2004 “eEurope 2005 mid-term review” [COM(2004) 108 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The report highlights the encouraging results produced by the action plan in many fields, particularly on broadband connections and e-government. The proportion of basic government services fully available online grew from 17% to 43% between October 2001 and October 2003. In addition, the number of broadband connections in the EU almost doubled between 2002 and 2003.
The report gives details of the progress made in seven fields and pinpoints the areas where further efforts are needed:

  • e-government: Good progress has been made in this area, but wide differences persist between Member States in terms of the range of services available. Reinforced cooperation is needed at EU level on policy orientation and financial support.
  • e-learning: Almost every educational and training centre is now connected to the Internet. The review of the action plan will have to address the need systematically to evaluate the lessons that have been learnt from all the initiatives and pilot actions.
  • e-health: e-health is becoming a central aspect of health policy at regional, national and European level. However, work needs to continue on the e-health activities proposed in eEurope: electronic health cards; online health services and health information networks. A firm political commitment is needed to create Europe-wide interoperability in this field.
  • e-business: Despite a steady increase in buying and selling on-line, achievements in the e-business field should extend beyond e-commerce to encompass the full integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) into business processes. Once again, the insufficient interoperability of business applications impedes the adoption of new forms of collaboration. Efforts must also continue on the establishment of the .eu top level domain and the adoption of secure and effective e-payment systems.
  • Broadband: The broadband market is expanding fast. However, the EU must overcome two challenges before it can reap the full benefits of broadband:

    • private investment in broadband networks in less favoured areas is held back by fears for its profitability;
    • the take-up of broadband lags behind availability in all Member States.

    The review of the action plan will therefore have to bring about a shift to demand patterns. Further ahead, it will also have to address the issue of digital rights management (DRM).

  • Security: Almost 80% of European citizens are afraid of buying over the Internet, while only 54% of companies have a formal security policy. Network and information security is one of the top priorities for the EU since it is a prerequisite for development of the information society. This high priority was reflected, in particular, by the rapid adoption of the regulation to establish a European Network and Information Security Agency.
  • e-inclusion: e-inclusion is a horizontal concern for all areas of eEurope 2005. In particular, a greater focus is needed on the establishment of European network accessibility standards, on web accessibility initiative (WAI) guidelines and common labelling for accessible web pages. Multi-platform access (via PC, digital TV, 3rd generation mobile telephones, etc.) must be promoted to improve accessibility for excluded groups and disadvantaged regions.

The report will provide the starting-point for discussion with the Member States and stakeholders to decide the adjustments needed to eEurope 2005 by the summer of 2004.

Communication from the Commission of 21 November 2002 on eEurope 2005: Benchmarking indicators [COM(2002) 772 final − Not published in the Official Journal].

To monitor progress with the action plan, the Communication introduces the various indicators proposed by the Commission for the benchmarking of eEurope 2005. These indicators relate to citizens’ access to and use of the Internet, enterprises’ access to and use of ICT, Internet access costs, e-government, e-learning, e-health, buying and selling online, e-business readiness, Internet users’ experience and usage regarding ICT-security, and broadband penetration.

IMPLEMENTATION

Council Resolution of 18 February 2003 on the implementation of the eEurope 2005 action plan [Official Journal C 48 of 28.02.2003].

Essentially, the Council calls upon the parties concerned, especially the Member States and the Commission, to do their utmost to achieve the objectives of eEurope 2005 by the end of 2005. An annex to the Resolution contains a list of benchmarking indicators for assessing progress in achieving those objectives.

Further integration of the European rail system: third railway package

Further integration of the European rail system: third railway package

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Further integration of the European rail system: third railway package

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Rail transport

Further integration of the European rail system: third railway package

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 3 March 2004 entitled “Further integration of the European rail system: the third railway package [COM(2004) 140 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In 2001 the Commission set out its objectives for the reform of rail transport in the White Paper ” European transport policy for 2010: time to decide “.The present communication announces the third railway package. The Commission proposes the opening-up of services to competition by 2010 and puts forward proposals concerning the certification of drivers and strengthening of passengers’ rights.

This third railway package comprises two directives and two regulations (of which one was rejected by the Parliament):

Proposal for a Directive [COM(2004) 142 final] on the certification of drivers

In its communication the Commission stresses the impact of driver training on safety. It considers that driver skills fall into two categories:

  • general skills relating to the job of driver;
  • more specific skills relating to line knowledge, the rolling stock and the operating procedures of the railway undertaking for which the driver works.

With the opening-up of the rail freight markets, a growing number of drivers will find themselves operating on the network of another Member State. The Commission therefore wishes to establish:

  • a certification system attesting that the driver has sufficient general knowledge, authenticated by a licence issued to the individual driver that is recognised and valid throughout the Community;
  • a series of certificates attesting to specific knowledge (relating to a specific route, rolling stock and railway undertaking) and allowing the driver to operate.

Proposal for a Regulation [COM(2004) 143 final] on passengers’ rights

In order to make the railways more attractive, the Commission also wishes passengers’ rights to be better protected – particularly with regard to reimbursement for train delays. The situation of passengers on international journeys is often less secure. The Commission therefore considers that the current international arrangements, based on the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF), are inadequate and do not directly create passengers’ rights.

Access to information and fares, and the option of buying international rail tickets easily, are in the Commission’s view the very least that is needed to make rail services attractive. In addition, the Commission wishes liability to be clearly defined in the event of accidents, incidents or train delays. On this last point, compensation thresholds should be set and the various channels for passengers’ appeals clearly identified. Lastly, the Commission considers that greater account should be taken of the needs of people with reduced mobility.

In the Commission’s view, these arrangements to protect passengers’ rights will be all the more vital once the market is opened up for certain services.

Proposal for a Directive [COM(2004) 139 final] on opening up the passenger transport market

The Commission stresses the contrasts between regional, national and international rail traffic and wishes to take these diverse segments into account by combining two models for opening up to competition:

  • under the first, a competitive procedure can be used to award a public service contract. In the Commission’s view this model would work well for suburban and regional services, which transport the vast majority of passengers. It forms the basis of the Commission’s proposal to modernise Regulation No 1191/69 on public service obligations;
  • the other model consists in opening up access to the infrastructure for operators wishing to provide international services. This model would be better suited to long-distance services and to specific services where commercial innovation is likely to attract new customers.

The competitors will need to have:

  • rolling stock and drivers authorised for service in the Member States in which they plan to operate;
  • a railway undertaking licence in a Member State;
  • a safety certificate issued by the national safety authority of each of the Member States they plan to cross;
  • infrastructure capacity, in order to provide a regular service.

The Commission therefore wishes all international services to be opened up to competition on 1 January 2010. This opening-up also includes cabotage on international services (carriage of passengers between two places within the same Member State).

Interoperability requirements

The Commission also points out that integrating Europe’s railway systems requires technical harmonisation in order to ensure the interoperability of rolling stock and equipment.

A fourth proposal rejected by the Parliament

The Commission had also made a proposal for a regulation aiming to improve the quality of rail services. It was rejected first time round by the Parliament. In particular the text proposed establishing mandatory minimum clauses in transport contracts, among which there was a proposal for a compensation system in case of freight being delayed or damaged. It would have encouraged railway undertakings and their clients to regulate quality management contractually.

EGovernment

eGovernment

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about eGovernment

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Digital Strategy i2010 Strategy eEurope Action Plan Digital Strategy Programmes

eGovernment

eEurope 2005 To harness the full potential of eGovernment, it is necessary to identify the obstacles which are slowing down the rate at which on-line public services are being made available in the Member States and to propose action to speed up the deployment of eGovernment. This is the objective of the Commission Communication described below.

Communication of 26 September 2003 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions “The Role of eGovernment for Europe’s future” [COM(2003) 567 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

“eGovernment” * means the use of information and communication technologies * (ICT) in public administrations combined with organisational changes and new skills. The objective is to improve public services, democratic processes and public policies.

STATE OF PLAY

Progress has been made in every Member State in bringing public services online, with average online availability growing from 45% to 65% between October 2001 and October 2002.

In terms of services to citizens, eGovernment has already shown the advantages which it can bring in citizens’ everyday lives. It not only makes it easier to obtain information from public administrations but also greatly facilitates formalities for members of the public and cuts waiting times. Beyond that, eGovernment fosters direct communication between citizens and policy-makers. Through online forums, virtual discussion rooms and electronic voting, citizens can directly question decision-makers and express their views on public policy. Today public internet access points * are gradually becoming the norm for services to citizens.

As regards services to businesses, provision of higher quality electronic services by public administrations leads to increased productivity and competitiveness, by reducing the cost of the public service itself as well as transaction costs to businesses (time and effort). For example, electronic customs and VAT handling and electronic tax declarations offer the advantage of speeding up procedures at the same time as improving quality of service. The sophistication of online services, in terms of supporting interactivity and transactions, has advanced more in the business sector than in services to citizens.

In the case of services between administrations, eGovernment can provide ways to strengthen cooperation between national, regional and local government and Community institutions. Regional and local administrations are often at the forefront of the delivery of on-line public services. Development of eGovernment at regional and local level has also become a priority of the Structural Funds, representing about 30% of Information Society expenditure in Objective 1 regions and 20% in Objective 2 regions.

OBSTACLES TO GENERAL AVAILABILITY OF eGOVERNMENT: PRIORITY ISSUES

The Commission has identified a number of priority issues which have to be addressed in order to remove the obstacles to general availability of eGovernment.

Inclusive access

Access for all to online public services is a sine qua non for wide use of eGovernment. This point is all the more important considering the very real risk of a “digital divide” – due to unequal access to information and computer technologies. In this context, education and training are essential to acquire the digital literacy necessary in order to reap the full benefit of the services offered by eGovernment. Digital literacy is one of the priorities of the eLearning programme. Greater access to services also implies stepping up the multi-platform approach (allowing access to services through a range of devices, from PCs and digital TV to mobile terminals or public internet access points).

User confidence

Public services can be offered on line only in an environment guaranteeing fully secure access for citizens. With this in view, maximum protection of personal data and security of digital transactions and communications are primary issues. To this end, the use of privacy enhancing technologies in eGovernment should be promoted, inter alia through the relevant Community programmes. More generally, network and information security, the fight against cybercrime and dependability are prerequisites for a properly-functioning Information Society and, consequently, are core policy issues within the European Union.

Public procurement

Public procurement is one area where use of ICT can be particularly advantageous. Traditional public procurement operations are complex, time-consuming and resource-intensive. Use of ICT in public procurement can therefore improve efficiency, quality and value for money in public purchases. Until now the absence of clear Community rules has been an obstacle to the take-up of electronic public procurement in Europe. The adoption of the new package of legislation on public procurement, which includes specific rules on electronic public procurement, should be a turning point for the spread of electronic public procurement in Europe.

Pan-European services

Pan-European services are important means of supporting mobility in the internal market and European citizenship. Various types of pan-European service are already in place. Examples include EURES, the European employment services portal, and PLOTEUS the portal on learning opportunities in Europe. However, the provision of common pan-European services can be a sensitive issue. For example, when services have been developed from the Member State’s national perspective and tradition (e.g. language) alone, access to them for citizens and enterprises from other Member States may be difficult. It is therefore important to make sure that pan-European services take account of the needs of citizens from other Member States and also to establish true cooperation between Member States’ administrations and interoperable infrastructure.

Interoperability

Interoperability means the capacity to inter-link systems, information and ways of working. This kind of interoperability of information systems allows integrated provision of services in a one-stop portal *, no matter how many different administrative systems or bodies are involved. But interoperability is not just a question of linking up computer networks: it also concerns organisational issues, such as interworking with partner organisations which may well have different internal organisation and operating methods. Introduction of pan-European eGovernment services will also inevitably require agreements on common standards and specifications. Most Member States are already addressing this challenge by adopting national “eGovernment interoperability frameworks”, which are being complemented at European level by the development of the European interoperability framework.

Roadmap

The Commission regards the priorities set out above as the roadmap for eGovernment. However, these measures must be backed up by more horizontal action.

HORIZONTAL ACTION

Reinforcing exchanges of good practice

Best practices encompass technological, organisational and training components. They require a long-term commitment on the part of all key players involved. Exchanges of experience and replication of best practices can bring significant cost-savings in moving to broad take-up. They also prepare the ground for future interoperability and interworking between administrations.

Leveraging investment

A range of Community initiatives and programmes are addressing eGovernment. In particular, these include parts of the Sixth Framework RTD Programme, the eTEN and IDA programmes and investment in regional priorities through the Structural Funds. The Commission reports that investment is low compared to the total investment that should be made at European Union level.

Annual spending on ICT in public administration is about EUR 30 billion, of which a growing proportion, currently some EUR 5 billion, is related to eGovernment. The Commission adds that this spending should be accompanied by much larger investment in organisation and human resources. As a result, the total investment needed is likely to run into tens of billions of euros each year. Community support should therefore aim at achieving maximum leverage for the much larger investment at Member State level.

Key terms used in the Act
  • eGovernment: eGovernment seeks to use information and communications technologies to improve the quality and accessibility of public services. It can reduce costs for businesses and administrations alike, and facilitate transactions between administrators and citizens. It also helps to make the public sector more open and transparent and governments more understandable and accountable to citizens.
  • Information and communication technologies (ICT): the term ITC covers a wide range of services, applications, technologies, devices and software, i.e. tools such as telephony and the Internet, distance learning, television, computers, and the networks and software needed to use these technologies, which are revolutionising social, cultural and economic structures by creating new attitudes towards information, knowledge, working life, etc.
  • One-stop portal: a single entry point to the Internet for a specific topic which can be used without any knowledge of how the administrative departments involved in providing the public service are organised.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission, of 25 April 2006, “i2010 eGovernment Action Plan: Accelerating eGovernment in Europe for the Benefit of All” [COM(2006) 173 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This Action Plan, adopted in 2006, is designed to make public services more modern and efficient and to target the needs of the population more precisely. It proposes a series of priorities and a roadmap to speed up the deployment of eGovernment in Europe. Five priority areas are identified:

  • Access for all;
  • Increased efficiency;
  • High-impact eGovernment services;
  • Putting key enablers in place;
  • Increased participation in democratic decision-making.

Independent Report of 27 June 2005: “eGovernment in the Member States of the European Union” (GOPA-Cartermill).

The report is a compilation of the factsheets produced by the eGovernment Observatory. These factsheets provide a picture of the situation and progress of eGovernment in each Member State.

Fifth annual study of e-Government

According to a 2005 survey carried out for the Commission, more than 90% of public service providers now have a website, and 40% of basic public services are totally interactive. The survey highlights the considerable progress made in developing and providing on-line public services throughout the EU. The gap between the new Member States and the EU-15 States in terms of service provision has narrowed significantly, and could close very quickly. The challenge now is to ensure that on-line public services are used as widely and as often as possible so as to simplify the administrative procedures for businesses and citizens alike.

Fourth annual study of e-Government

According to the results of an extensive survey published in January 2004 [PDF ], public administrations which combine the use of ICT to deliver new services with reorganisation of the way they work obtain higher approval ratings from businesses and citizens.
This large-scale survey, funded as part of the evaluation of the eEurope action plan, was conducted in every EU Member State, looking at a common list of 20 basic public services which should be available on line under the action plan. The survey included 29 in-depth case studies of “best practice”, for example substantial savings in enrolment in higher education in Finland and the United Kingdom.

The Commission concluded that the better results are due to the fact that reorganisation plus use of ICT in public administrations reduces costs, increases productivity and provides flexibility and simpler organisational structures. The practical results for the public and for businesses are fewer visits to administrations, together with faster, cheaper, more accessible and more efficient services, but also fewer errors, easier to use systems and greater user control.


Another Normative about eGovernment

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Internal market > Businesses in the internal market > Public procurement

eGovernment

eEurope 2005 To harness the full potential of eGovernment, it is necessary to identify the obstacles which are slowing down the rate at which on-line public services are being made available in the Member States and to propose action to speed up the deployment of eGovernment. This is the objective of the Commission Communication described below.

Communication of 26 September 2003 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions “The Role of eGovernment for Europe’s future” [COM(2003) 567 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

“eGovernment” * means the use of information and communication technologies * (ICT) in public administrations combined with organisational changes and new skills. The objective is to improve public services, democratic processes and public policies.

STATE OF PLAY

Progress has been made in every Member State in bringing public services online, with average online availability growing from 45% to 65% between October 2001 and October 2002.

In terms of services to citizens, eGovernment has already shown the advantages which it can bring in citizens’ everyday lives. It not only makes it easier to obtain information from public administrations but also greatly facilitates formalities for members of the public and cuts waiting times. Beyond that, eGovernment fosters direct communication between citizens and policy-makers. Through online forums, virtual discussion rooms and electronic voting, citizens can directly question decision-makers and express their views on public policy. Today public internet access points * are gradually becoming the norm for services to citizens.

As regards services to businesses, provision of higher quality electronic services by public administrations leads to increased productivity and competitiveness, by reducing the cost of the public service itself as well as transaction costs to businesses (time and effort). For example, electronic customs and VAT handling and electronic tax declarations offer the advantage of speeding up procedures at the same time as improving quality of service. The sophistication of online services, in terms of supporting interactivity and transactions, has advanced more in the business sector than in services to citizens.

In the case of services between administrations, eGovernment can provide ways to strengthen cooperation between national, regional and local government and Community institutions. Regional and local administrations are often at the forefront of the delivery of on-line public services. Development of eGovernment at regional and local level has also become a priority of the Structural Funds, representing about 30% of Information Society expenditure in Objective 1 regions and 20% in Objective 2 regions.

OBSTACLES TO GENERAL AVAILABILITY OF eGOVERNMENT: PRIORITY ISSUES

The Commission has identified a number of priority issues which have to be addressed in order to remove the obstacles to general availability of eGovernment.

Inclusive access

Access for all to online public services is a sine qua non for wide use of eGovernment. This point is all the more important considering the very real risk of a “digital divide” – due to unequal access to information and computer technologies. In this context, education and training are essential to acquire the digital literacy necessary in order to reap the full benefit of the services offered by eGovernment. Digital literacy is one of the priorities of the eLearning programme. Greater access to services also implies stepping up the multi-platform approach (allowing access to services through a range of devices, from PCs and digital TV to mobile terminals or public internet access points).

User confidence

Public services can be offered on line only in an environment guaranteeing fully secure access for citizens. With this in view, maximum protection of personal data and security of digital transactions and communications are primary issues. To this end, the use of privacy enhancing technologies in eGovernment should be promoted, inter alia through the relevant Community programmes. More generally, network and information security, the fight against cybercrime and dependability are prerequisites for a properly-functioning Information Society and, consequently, are core policy issues within the European Union.

Public procurement

Public procurement is one area where use of ICT can be particularly advantageous. Traditional public procurement operations are complex, time-consuming and resource-intensive. Use of ICT in public procurement can therefore improve efficiency, quality and value for money in public purchases. Until now the absence of clear Community rules has been an obstacle to the take-up of electronic public procurement in Europe. The adoption of the new package of legislation on public procurement, which includes specific rules on electronic public procurement, should be a turning point for the spread of electronic public procurement in Europe.

Pan-European services

Pan-European services are important means of supporting mobility in the internal market and European citizenship. Various types of pan-European service are already in place. Examples include EURES, the European employment services portal, and PLOTEUS the portal on learning opportunities in Europe. However, the provision of common pan-European services can be a sensitive issue. For example, when services have been developed from the Member State’s national perspective and tradition (e.g. language) alone, access to them for citizens and enterprises from other Member States may be difficult. It is therefore important to make sure that pan-European services take account of the needs of citizens from other Member States and also to establish true cooperation between Member States’ administrations and interoperable infrastructure.

Interoperability

Interoperability means the capacity to inter-link systems, information and ways of working. This kind of interoperability of information systems allows integrated provision of services in a one-stop portal *, no matter how many different administrative systems or bodies are involved. But interoperability is not just a question of linking up computer networks: it also concerns organisational issues, such as interworking with partner organisations which may well have different internal organisation and operating methods. Introduction of pan-European eGovernment services will also inevitably require agreements on common standards and specifications. Most Member States are already addressing this challenge by adopting national “eGovernment interoperability frameworks”, which are being complemented at European level by the development of the European interoperability framework.

Roadmap

The Commission regards the priorities set out above as the roadmap for eGovernment. However, these measures must be backed up by more horizontal action.

HORIZONTAL ACTION

Reinforcing exchanges of good practice

Best practices encompass technological, organisational and training components. They require a long-term commitment on the part of all key players involved. Exchanges of experience and replication of best practices can bring significant cost-savings in moving to broad take-up. They also prepare the ground for future interoperability and interworking between administrations.

Leveraging investment

A range of Community initiatives and programmes are addressing eGovernment. In particular, these include parts of the Sixth Framework RTD Programme, the eTEN and IDA programmes and investment in regional priorities through the Structural Funds. The Commission reports that investment is low compared to the total investment that should be made at European Union level.

Annual spending on ICT in public administration is about EUR 30 billion, of which a growing proportion, currently some EUR 5 billion, is related to eGovernment. The Commission adds that this spending should be accompanied by much larger investment in organisation and human resources. As a result, the total investment needed is likely to run into tens of billions of euros each year. Community support should therefore aim at achieving maximum leverage for the much larger investment at Member State level.

Key terms used in the Act
  • eGovernment: eGovernment seeks to use information and communications technologies to improve the quality and accessibility of public services. It can reduce costs for businesses and administrations alike, and facilitate transactions between administrators and citizens. It also helps to make the public sector more open and transparent and governments more understandable and accountable to citizens.
  • Information and communication technologies (ICT): the term ITC covers a wide range of services, applications, technologies, devices and software, i.e. tools such as telephony and the Internet, distance learning, television, computers, and the networks and software needed to use these technologies, which are revolutionising social, cultural and economic structures by creating new attitudes towards information, knowledge, working life, etc.
  • One-stop portal: a single entry point to the Internet for a specific topic which can be used without any knowledge of how the administrative departments involved in providing the public service are organised.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission, of 25 April 2006, “i2010 eGovernment Action Plan: Accelerating eGovernment in Europe for the Benefit of All” [COM(2006) 173 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This Action Plan, adopted in 2006, is designed to make public services more modern and efficient and to target the needs of the population more precisely. It proposes a series of priorities and a roadmap to speed up the deployment of eGovernment in Europe. Five priority areas are identified:

  • Access for all;
  • Increased efficiency;
  • High-impact eGovernment services;
  • Putting key enablers in place;
  • Increased participation in democratic decision-making.

Independent Report of 27 June 2005: “eGovernment in the Member States of the European Union” (GOPA-Cartermill).

The report is a compilation of the factsheets produced by the eGovernment Observatory. These factsheets provide a picture of the situation and progress of eGovernment in each Member State.

Fifth annual study of e-Government

According to a 2005 survey carried out for the Commission, more than 90% of public service providers now have a website, and 40% of basic public services are totally interactive. The survey highlights the considerable progress made in developing and providing on-line public services throughout the EU. The gap between the new Member States and the EU-15 States in terms of service provision has narrowed significantly, and could close very quickly. The challenge now is to ensure that on-line public services are used as widely and as often as possible so as to simplify the administrative procedures for businesses and citizens alike.

Fourth annual study of e-Government

According to the results of an extensive survey published in January 2004 [PDF ], public administrations which combine the use of ICT to deliver new services with reorganisation of the way they work obtain higher approval ratings from businesses and citizens.
This large-scale survey, funded as part of the evaluation of the eEurope action plan, was conducted in every EU Member State, looking at a common list of 20 basic public services which should be available on line under the action plan. The survey included 29 in-depth case studies of “best practice”, for example substantial savings in enrolment in higher education in Finland and the United Kingdom.

The Commission concluded that the better results are due to the fact that reorganisation plus use of ICT in public administrations reduces costs, increases productivity and provides flexibility and simpler organisational structures. The practical results for the public and for businesses are fewer visits to administrations, together with faster, cheaper, more accessible and more efficient services, but also fewer errors, easier to use systems and greater user control.

Working conditions of mobile workers engaged in interoperable cross-border services in the railway sector

Working conditions of mobile workers engaged in interoperable cross-border services in the railway sector

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Working conditions of mobile workers engaged in interoperable cross-border services in the railway sector

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

Working conditions of mobile workers engaged in interoperable cross-border services in the railway sector

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 2005/47/EC of 18 July 2005 on the Agreement between the Community of European Railways (CER) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) on certain aspects of the working conditions of mobile workers engaged in interoperable cross-border services in the railway sector [Official Journal L 195 of 27.07.2005].

Summary

The aim of the Directive is to give effect to the Agreement on certain aspects of the working conditions of mobile workers assigned to interoperable cross-border services concluded between the social partners in the railways sector, namely the Community of European Railways (CER) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF).

The Agreement strikes a balance between the need to ensure adequate protection of the health and safety of mobile workers in interoperable cross-border services and the need for flexibility in running rail transport enterprises in an integrated European railway network.

The Agreement grants workers a daily rest period of 12 consecutive hours and breaks of between 30 and 45 minutes. It limits daily driving time to 9 hours on a day shift and 8 hours on a night shift.

The Agreement also gives employers greater flexibility because, under exceptional circumstances, they can shorten the daily rest periods to 9 hours instead of to 11 as provided for in the Working Hours Directive.

The Member States may keep or introduce more favourable provisions than those laid down in this Directive. Furthermore, this Directive may not be used to justify a lower level of protection for workers where better protection is afforded under existing national legislation.

Background

This Directive is part of the overall framework for interoperability in the European rail system. A better-integrated rail network will enable the European Union to cut down on road transport and reduce its harmful side-effects. Involving social partners will ensure satisfactory working conditions for workers in interoperable rail services.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2005/47/EC

18.7.2005

27.7.2008

OJ L 195 of 27.7.2005

Related Acts

Communication of 15 December 2008 from the Commission to the Council – Economic and social impact of the Agreement appended to Directive 2005/47/EC concluded on 27 January 2004 between the social partners on certain aspects of the working conditions of mobile workers engaged in interoperable cross-border services in the railway sector [COM(2008) 855 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
Following the adoption of Directive 2005/47/EC, the Commission presents a socio-economic analysis of the development of working conditions in the railway sector. Developing cross-border links have a positive economic impact, and employment in the railway sector should increase in the coming years. Favourable social conditions should be guaranteed for mobile workers, while taking account of the needs of railway undertakings.

The Commission favours an integrated approach to ensure that working time is organised in accordance with the obligation to protect the health and safety of workers. Member States should also guarantee a balance between work and family life, especially by reaching a consensus with the social partners on the question of rest days at home.

Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time [Official Journal L 299 of 18.11.2003].
This Directive lays down the minimum general obligations in terms of health and safety at work.

Communication of 26 June 2002 from the Commission “The European social dialogue, a force for innovation and change” [

COM(2002) 341 final

– Not published in the Official Journal].
The social dialogue at Community level is an essential element of the adoption of the social and economic reforms. It is part of the reinforcement of good governance and the transparency of the European decision-making process.