Joinup welcomes Interoperable Europe!

Joinup & Interoperable Europe join forces

Published on: 24/02/2022
Last update: 25/02/2022

IOPE-Joinup BannerInteroperable Europe, the initiative of the European Commission for a reinforced interoperability policy, is now hosted on Joinup, the one-stop shop for digital government solutions and news. We talked with Maximillian Strotmann, Deputy Head of Unit - DIGIT.D.2, to find out how this synergy is contributing to a more connected and interoperable Europe. 


Joinup is now home to the Commission’s Interoperable Europe initiative. What is this initiative about and how does it relate to the Digital Europe Programme?

Max profile pic
Maximillian Strotmann
Deputy Head of Unit - DIGIT.D.2

The Interoperable Europe initiative is a collective effort, all about involving the Member States, the Commission and its departments, together, to create a common environment for safe, secure, collaborative data sharing. This is a techy initiative yes, but one that stretches out a hand to, the various policy areas such as agriculture, environment, education, health; all of whom now have their digital angles. We need to care about interoperability together. And this is what, in the end, Joinup as an open market, meeting and community place has been doing all the time.

So now we bring together the tools and the online location, allowing interoperability activists, promoters, and collaborators to meet and bring forward an interoperable Europe. A Europe that is better and more connected, safer and more trustful, and making more out of its common ICT foundation.

Interoperable Europe is a policy initiative driven by people at all levels in Europe, not only by the Commission but by Member States and the local level, including cities, academic experts and GovTech. And all of them, ideally, meet here on Joinup.

The Digital Europe Programme is an EU funding instrument that supports financially this Interoperable Europe policy drive, including Joinup.

Besides the fact that Joinup is recognised as a one-stop shop for interoperable digital government ICT solutions, were there any other factors that helped choose Joinup for hosting the Interoperable Europe initiative?

Joinup is, ideally, a one-stop-shop but without trying to force people on it. It’s an open door through which you can go in both directions. In that sense, I like the open market idea not because it’s a place you can buy and sell, but because it’s a place where you can meet and know that you’ll find like-minded people with whom you can learn and exchange information. So, it’s more like a virtual city square – Joinup is the main square of the interoperability community, that’s how I like to see it. And because it’s like that, it seems to be the natural place to host the Interoperable Europe’s policy discussions, information, and its further developments. It’s a place where you discuss what matters for you, tapping into the collective knowledge, exchanging ideas, and pushing forward an interoperable Europe.

The Interoperable Europe initiative is not a top-down and singular approach. It’s something happening in parallel in all Member States and beyond the EU level, such as at the local/regional/national levels, too. And that is why I believe it’s good to have this virtual city square, or meeting place where things happen, which is Joinup.

Joinup is an open source tool and an open platform by design. And this is a good image for the nature of what we want to do with Interoperable Europe, because it needs to be open, transparent, and collaborative by design. Likewise, if we don’t make Europe open, interoperable, collaborative by design then it will not work. Joinup provides the proper basis to make this happen. Joinup is not only an open tool, but also a reusable tool itself.

Would you agree that this seems to be an ideal match, with Joinup covering the practical aspects of interoperability and Interoperable Europe the policy angle? And, is there more here than meets the eye?

As a policy initiative, Interoperable Europe needs to be designed in a way that will allow it to evolve continuously. We would like to have a policy that can achieve self-sustainability and reinvent itself when and where needed, and put it into the hands of the experts, of the people in the field, of those who are confronted with the lack of interoperability every day. All these people gather on Joinup. And this gathering of the practitioners, of the practical expertise on Joinup, we need to improve it and make it better all the time.

Because there’s no single day that we simply tick a box and say, ‘okay Joinup is perfect, and the Interoperable Europe policy is done.’ None of these two things will happen. Both will need to keep re-inventing themselves. The practitioners and the pragmatic information exchange on Joinup need to keep feeding into the policy formulation and policy development, and then return from the policy into the practical level of Joinup to stimulate the next steps needed to agree on, define, and develop the solutions necessary to make Europe interoperable.

The more we could work on Joinup and Interoperable Europe and offer an exciting and attractive environment, the more we could tap into them – and they don’t need to be the only initiatives; we don’t want to dominate the world – then over time we’ll get the right reflections and ideas going. But it needs to be voluntary, needs to be open and collaborative, and I think the basis is there.

This is the opportunity of bridging the differences between the pragmatic doers and the policy people. Because, ideally, the pragmatic interoperability doers that are used to working with and on Joinup should be the ones feeding, pushing, and driving the policy development. And the policy side should be listening, keeping their ear to the ground while all this is happening, injecting any policy needs; for example, in education we could have a new need for cooperation where the policy level could feed it into the interoperability practitioners/developers/communities on Joinup and vice versa.

Any last thoughts you would like to share with Joinupers?

The brand name, Joinup, really reflects what the platform is about. Roll up your sleeves, join up, get out of your corner, get into the thick of things happening in our virtual city square and start contributing!