2019 EIF Monitoring Mechanism

The 2019 results of the first monitoring exercise of the EIF implementation at the European level show that, overall, the EU Member States are achieving a high level of performance in implementing the recommendations related to the EIF Conceptual model.

In attachment is presented the set of 68 KPIs, derived from primary and secondary data, which have been used in the Monitoring Mechanism exercise of 2019 to assess the level of implementation of the 47 EIF recommendations in the European countries. 

The 2019 edition of the EIF Monitoring Mechanism allowed the identification of eight recurrent challenges still faced by the European countries during the implementation of the EIF:

1) Implementation of the interoperability principle of subsidiarity and proportionality

The lower score given to the interoperability principle of subsidiarity and proportionality shows that this principle has not yet been fully implemented by the European countries. The current national strategies or frameworks in place, or those in the process of being published, are not taking into account all of the 47 EIF recommendations and their 12 principles. Nevertheless, some countries are revising their National Interoperability Frameworks (NIFs) in order to make adjustments and align them with the EIF.  

2) Implementation of the interoperability principle of inclusion and accessibility

Despite the proliferation of new technologies on the market and the fact that European countries were mandated to implement legislation in order to comply with the Directive (EU) 2016/2102 on the accessibility of the websites, the potential of new technologies is not yet being fully exploited to enable users to access and use European public services. Additionally, not all public services ensure accessibility to people with disabilities, the elderly and other disadvantaged groups. The implementation of the inclusion and accessibility principle should be part of the whole development lifecycle of European public services and these services should meet the requirements set by the e-Accessibility specifications widely recognised at the international and European level.

3) Implementation of the interoperability principle of multilingualism

European countries are still encountering difficulties in implementing the interoperability principle of multilingualism. Improvements should be made to ensure that public administrations provide users with instructions for completing procedures in official EU languages other than the national language of the respective countries. When designing new public services, European countries should ensure that the number of languages available is determined on the basis of user needs, the level at which the service is essential for the implementation of the digital single market or national policies, and the size of the audience concerned.

4) Implementation of the interoperability principle of assessment of effectiveness and efficiency

It is important for public administrations to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of interoperability solutions by tackling concerns such as the return on investment, total cost of ownership, reusability, adaptability, risks, administrative burden, simplification of administrative processes, user satisfaction and user-centricity. It appears in the results of the implementation of the EIF in 2019 that some elements especially are insufficiently evaluated by the European countries to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of interoperability solutions. In particular, the adaptability and return on investment of the solutions are poorly assessed in most cases.

5) Implementation of an interoperability governance

The results of the EIF Monitoring Mechanism indicate that the governance of interoperability remains a challenge in Europe and should be strengthened. The EIF interoperability governance recommendations refer to holistic governance as well as identification and selection of standards and specifications. Regarding holistic governance, European countries should continue to work towards promoting interoperability across administrative levels and sectors. Regarding standards and specifications, some European countries are still lagging behind in defining processes for the selection and adoption of standards and specifications. By clearly defining these processes, it is likely that interoperability will be increased.

6) Implementation of catalogues of public services, public data and interoperability solutions

Implementing catalogues of public services, open data and interoperability solutions is crucial to foster interoperability. Such catalogues aim to support public administrations in finding reusable resources (e.g. services, data, software, data models). While responsibility for the provision of these catalogues lies with European public administrations, many are still struggling to do so, particularly on account of problems associated with the harmonisation of standards and specifications. For instance, the 2019 results of the implementation of the EIF reveal that, overall, a very small number of European countries consult catalogues of other countries when identifying ICT standards and specifications. Furthermore, the European Interoperability Cartography is also poorly used by public administrations. On the contrary, European and national catalogues of ICT standards are widely used, as well as the Joinup catalogue of solutions.

7) Use of external information sources and services by public administrations while developing public services

According to the results of the monitoring of the EIF implementation, there is a need to improve the extent to which European public administrations exploit external information sources and services outside their organisational boundaries when developing public services. To illustrate this point, the results indicate that, for instance, when developing public services, a very small number of European public administrations use Internet of Things sources (e.g. sensors) and social media applications. Open Data, eID and eSignature are the sources and solutions most used by public administrations.

8) Application of privacy and security principles

European countries should ensure that citizens’ information is appropriately protected during transmission, processing and storage with the help of different security processes. According to the results of the monitoring of the implementation of the EIF in 2019, eArchive is one of the elements and measures still to be put in place in Europe, followed by the National security framework for public services and the Business Continuity Plan. However, back-up and/or recovery plans, qualified trust services and National eIDs compliant with the eIDAS Regulation are measures that have been implemented in almost all the European countries.

To learn more about the results of the 2019 EIF Monitoring Mechanism, please refer to Chapter 3 of the State-of-play report on digital public administration and interoperability 2020. In addition, to learn more about a specific country’s level of implementation and alignment with the EIF, please refer to the respective country’s Digital Public Administration factsheet.