Background Document: Build, Connect, Grow: Make Business in the Digital Single Market

Published on: 18/01/2013
Build, Connect, Grow: Make Business in the Digital Single Market   This document presents the background for the conference “Build, Connect, Grow: Make Business in the Digital Single Market” that will be held on 21 February 2013 in Brussels.   Policy Objectives The massive transformation of the global economic, social and political system underlines that Europe must be more than just a sum of its parts in order to compete and grow effectively. A shift to the “e” space for a very broad range of activities to facilitate citizens and businesses to build, connect and grow, can be a catalyst of turning the EU into a single space, reducing transaction costs, establishing free movement of persons, capital and ideas. In the area of cross-border digital public services, the 'building blocks' tested by Large-Scale Pilots (LSPs – are designed to facilitate “smart growth”, which the Europe 2020 Agenda establishes as a cornerstone of Europe’s future. Thus, they are not only a viable path to the development of the Digital Single Market, but also a process to open new horizons for citizens and businesses. LSPs are funded in order to: deepen integration within the EU by connecting European countries; foster cross-border interoperability of ICT systems in Europe, build on national online solutions, broaden cross-border online services, facilitate Europe’s growth and establish its reputation as a global innovator for the digital age. The escalation of LSPs turns cross-border activities that in the past seemed impossible, into a reality. The proposed Connecting Europe Facility will provide the needed long-term prospect to guarantee the return on investment.   EU Policies and Actions The EU faces the challenge to remove borders in a digital era. In order to respond, it needs to mobilise public administrations, citizens and businesses to interact effectively and develop innovative and interoperable solutions in areas of public interest. Even though experience shows that the cross-border promotion of online services is lagging, LSPs are seen as a key facilitator towards this goal. LSPs are also seen in relation to the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the new initiative of the Commission to stimulate growth, employment and competitiveness within the EU, which will broaden their reach. These pilots, engaging stakeholders such as public authorities, service providers and research centres across the EU, develop practical solutions tested in real government services, implement them and make them accessible throughout Europe. In reality, LSPs are like building blocks, which can be linked to serve as a solid foundation for the development of other services in line with demand. Their basic aims are:
  • To ensure that businesses, governments and citizens efficiently implement ICT innovations.
  • To unlock business opportunities and market developments by favouring the development of EU-wide markets.
  • To produce higher quality products and compete better on a global scale.
Five LSPs have been developed and put to practice: STORK 2.0, PEPPOL, SPOCS, epSOS, and e-Codex. In more detail:   1. STORK 2.0, which focuses on eIdentity and promotes digital living aims at making the cross-border use of electronic identification possible, allowing citizens and businesses to access eGovernment services in any Member State they live in or travel to. With a few mouse clicks, STORK simplifies bureaucratic hurdles providing citizens and businesses with easy but secure access to their administrative records no matter where they are in Europe. 2. PEPPOL facilitates eProcurement, by reducing transaction costs and making it easier for companies to bid for public sector contracts anywhere in the EU in a simpler and more efficient way. For example, even Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises have the ability to bid for tenders from all over the EU. 3. SPOCS, which deals with eServices, brings more countries and professions to the community. It sets up national points of single contacts, i.e. "one-stop shops" to facilitate contacts between businesses and national public administrations. Thus a company can swiftly establish a subsidiary abroad, complete administrative procedures online and gain great mobility through streamlined services. 4. ePSOS is related to eHealth and aims at making it easier for people to receive medical assistance anywhere in the EU by removing linguistic, administrative and technical barriers. The pilot makes it easy to access a patient’s summary or find info to prescribe the same medication as in his/her home country. 5. e-CODEX, concerns eJustice, reduces the burden of courts and aims at improving the crossborder exchange of information between judicial authorities - where citizens, businesses and governments are involved - in a safe, accessible and sustainable way.   In addition, a new Large Scale Pilot project (eSENS) is to be launched early 2013 with the purpose of reusing, consolidating and developing further results from other LSPs. The main outcome of this pilot should be the implementation of an open, common interoperable service solution. The pilot is expected to demonstrate service interoperability across the Member States or Associated Countries participating in the pilot and to achieve a sufficient critical mass to realise significant and meaningful impact.   Background and status The LSPs have so far developed practical solutions tested in real government service cases across Europe. These practical solutions will aid in making cross-border eGovernment services a reality and will ensure that EU public administrations can communicate with each other digitally. There are numerous challenges ahead, for 2013 and beyond. First, the LSP activities need to further enhance collaboration and promote the re-use of the building blocks outside of the pilot projects. Second, legal and semantic barriers need to be tackled. Third, there is a need to increase the number of pilots that directly involve Member States. Two initiatives stand out concerning future action. The first one concerns the launch of the new pilot eSENS (pilot A of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme). The pilot will focus on all the building blocks developed by the different pilot projects previously launched and will provide for use of unique electronic identity (eID), management eDelivery, virtual company dossier etc. The second initiative is to pave the way to the CEF – the key instrument to promote growth, jobs and competitiveness through targeted infrastructure investment at European level. The CEF aims to develop high-performing, sustainable and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks on the sectors of transportation, energy and communication. The CEF will definitely make cross-border digital public services a reality, help LSPs grow out of their current project status and bridge national administration systems.   Purpose of the Conference The Conference is organised by the European Commission, DG CONNECT (with the help of ePractice) not just to inform a wide but targeted audience about what is being done by and around the LSPs, but also to engage industry/businesses to work with Members States and the Commission to use and develop further the building blocks developed by the LSPs and to develop business opportunities. The audience will consist of stakeholders from various industry/business/SMEs sectors. The main aim of the Conference is to develop a clear strategy to effectively engage the ICT industry in the relevant initiatives and the work ahead. Furthermore, the Conference aims at helping the industry’s companies adopt a logic according to which they can organise themselves around the upcoming eSENS LSP and the CEF programme.   Questions for discussion
  • Why and where is the ICT industry needed?
  • How can the industry be engaged to guarantee the quality and take-up of the results of the LSPs?
  • What business opportunities exist for ICT industries under the new European Commission’s initiatives?
  • How is it possible to guarantee equal treatment and engagement of SME in the new business environment?
  • How should public administrations participate in order to be more effective and efficient?
  • What can we learn from LSPs past experience/results, especially concerning the promotion of the Digital Single Market?
  • How can the ICT industry, through the facilitation of LSPs contribute to economic growth within the EU?
  • What kind of barriers should be removed to further promote the Digital Single Market?
  This background document is authored by ICM, the Information and Communication department of European Dynamics SA:

Nature of documentation: Conference-seminar-meeting proceeding


Type of document