UK joins EU and EFTA countries in signing Tallinn eGovernment Declaration

The UK has joined all other EU Member States and EFTA countries in signing the eGovernement Declaration in Tallin.

The declaration was signed during the Ministerial Meeting which took place in the framework of the eGovernement Ministerial Conference. This was chaired by Minister Urve Palo, representing the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU and in the presence of Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market.

The agreement marks a new political commitment at EU level on significant priorities towards ensuring high quality, user-centric digital public services for citizens and seamless cross-border public services for businesses.

The Member States reaffirmed their commitment to progress in linking up their public eServices and implement the eIDAS regulation and the once-only principle in order to provide efficient and secure digital public services that will make citizens and businesses lives easier.

The eGovernment Declaration follows the Malmo Declaration signed in 2009 and the launch of the eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020which both recognise that service-oriented, reliable and innovative government at all levels are essential to develop a dynamic, productive and European society. Since 2009, luckily several key milestones have been achieved, such as eProcurement, the deployment of key cross border services funded by the Connecting Europe Facility programme and the electronic identification (eID).

The ‘Tallinn Declaration’ provides an important impetus for Member States and the Commission, both collectively and individually, to continue to invest in accelerating the modernisation of the public sector.

In the annex of the Declaration, Ministers in charge of policy and coordination of digital public services in the countries recognise the needs and expectations of citizens and businesses as they interact with public administrations. They commit to designing and delivering their services, guided by the principles of user-centricity (such as digital interaction, reduction of the administrative burden, digital delivery of public services, citizens engagement, redress and complaint mechanisms).


Core principles

A document released by the EU says that the declaration, which covers activities between now and 2022, is centred around a number of key action points, including:

For the principles of digital-by-default, inclusiveness and accessibility, it will:

  • ensure that European citizens and businesses may interact digitally with public administration, if they choose to do so and whenever feasible and appropriate from a cost-benefit and user-centricity perspective;
  • work to ensure the consistent quality of user experience in digital public services as set out in the Annex
  • work to increase the readiness of European citizens and businesses to interact digitally with the public administrations;

For the principle of once only, it will work to implement it for key public services, at least as an option for citizens and businesses.

For the principle of trustworthiness and security, it will:

  • ensure that information security and privacy needs are taken into consideration when designing public services and public administration information and communication technology (ICT) solutions, following a risk-based approach and using state-of-the-art solutions;
  • work to increase the uptake of national eID schemes, including to make them more user-friendly and especially more suitable for mobile platforms, while ensuring their appropriate security levels;

For the principle of openness and transparency, it will make it possible for citizens and businesses to better manage (e.g. access, check and inquire about the use of, submit corrections to, authorise (re)use of) their personal data held by public administrations, at least in base registries and/or similar databases where feasible.

For the principle of interoperability by default, we will work on national interoperability frameworks based on the European Interoperability Framework (EIF), while respecting also the relevant national standards, and adhere to EIF for cross-border digital public services.


Boost from modernisation

EU Vice-President Andurs Ansip and Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said in a joint statement: “We welcome the EU Ministers’ pledge to modernise public administrations in Europe, which is an important boost to the digital economy and society.

“European Ministers responsible for e-government committed today to accelerate wider use of electronic identification means across the EU. The Tallinn Declaration marks therefore serious progress for our citizens and businesses.”

The statement added, “All Europeans should be able to access online services in other Member States just as they do at home and electronic transactions have to become significantly easier in the internal market.

“This is possible only with the strong commitment from all Member States to complete the formal notification of electronic identification means under the eIDAS Regulation and complying with the once-only principle for key public services in the EU. Only then will our citizens and businesses across Europe benefit from the full deployment of efficient digital public services.”

The Commission will continue to work closely with Member States to accelerate the deployment process, the statement concluded.

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