From ISA² to building Interoperable Europe

Into a new level of cooperation: From ISA² to building Interoperable Europe

Published on: 29/11/2021
Last update: 30/11/2021

IOPEThe ISA² Programme has evolved into Interoperable Europe - the initiative of the European Commission for a reinforced interoperability policy.  

ISA² was a funding programme of the European Union that supported the development of digital solutions, which enable public administrations, businesses, and citizens in Europe to benefit from interoperable cross-border and cross-sector public services. The programme ran until 31 December 2020 and was officially closed with a conference in April 2021.

However, the work of the European Commission and its partners in public administrations across Europe to enhance interoperability continues at full speed. Enhanced interoperability will be necessary to unlock the potential of data use and reuse for improved public services, to enable cross-border collaboration, and to support the sector-specific policy goals set by the Commission for the future.  

Interoperable Europe will lead the process of achieving these goals and creating a reinforced interoperability policy that will work for everyone. The initiative is supported by the Digital Europe Programme.  

Policy background   

Over the last decade, the European Commission has invested in eGovernment and interoperability through funding, policies, and political communications. The European Interoperability Framework (EIF) takes a prominent place among them.  

Moreover, the role of digitalisation and interoperability of public services was repeatedly acknowledged beyond Commission initiatives. In a 2017 resolution, the European Parliament affirmed that the digitisation of public administrations should aim to “promote better exercise of citizenship, improve the quality of life for citizens and the social and economic development of the regions, and enhance citizens’ understanding of and involvement in public services”.  

The Tallinn Declaration of 2017 was also a key step validating the commitment of the Member States to interoperability. This commitment was reconfirmed by the Berlin Declaration on Digital Society and Value Based Digital Government, adopted in December 2020, which acknowledged the crucial role of the digital transformation for the goals of the Union and for the EU’s post-pandemic recovery.  

High stakes for the future  

The mentioned political commitments are only proving the cross-institutional ambition for a modernized public sector. However, modernization often also means optimization and introducing a reinforced interoperability policy could lead to significant savings in time and money for the business and people. A recent study by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) states that improved interoperability could lead to a reduction in the time citizens spend every year with the administration by 25%. This results in time savings of 24 million hours (about 2738 years) and monetary savings in the order of EUR 543 million per year. For business, the savings could reach up to EUR 568 billion annually.   

The momentum of interoperability   

The world is spinning faster than ever, and interoperability is what can ensure that information falls into the right place and moves in the right direction. Europe now has the tools, knowledge, and expertise to shape a strong interoperable public sector, built upon our European values and the common dream for a true digital Europe. A Digital Europe that is inclusive, transparent, fair, and accountable. It is a momentum for AI technologies, GovTech innovation, interoperability. Interoperable Europe aims to make the best of it for the benefit of everyone.