Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Common E-SENS for European digital service infrastructures

The EU-funded E-SENS project has built on previous work to pave the way towards sustainable, pan-European, Digital Service Infrastructures.
Common E-SENS for European digital service infrastructures
With increased citizen and business mobility, alongside ever-growing digitisation, European administrative transactions require a cross-border approach, especially if the Digital Single Market is to become a reality. The eIDAS Regulation, which came into force in 2014, provides the framework for seamless electronic interactions between businesses, citizens and public authorities, which is safe, fast and easy to use. There are already a number of Large Scale Pilots (LSPs) with demonstrated technical solutions for a range of domains including health and public procurement, to achieve this.

The E-SENS (Electronic Simple European Networked Services) project was set up to consolidate and extend the current potential of cross-border digital public services, by developing generic and re-usable technical components (building blocks) based on five previous Large Scale Pilots. The project proposed solutions that meet the needs for cross-border core eGovernment services (e-ID, e-Documents, e-Delivery and e-Signatures etc.) beyond 2020 (the tenure of the current Connecting Europe Facility).

Making connections

Adoption of eIDAS, means that all EU countries will implement the eIDAS node. However, a number of countries currently use alternative infrastructure such as that of STORK (Secure idenTity acrOss borRders LinKed) 2.0, for for eID services. With considerable investment already made, countries are unlikely to be amenable to substantive change in the near future. Therefore, developing systems interoperability is a priority research and development area.

E-SENS has tested potential technical solutions for specific public administration transactions in pilot production environments. Recently, it was announced that the project’s Dutch team working on the e-Agriculture pilot had created a standalone adapter which connects e-IDAS based German middleware with the Dutch STORK 2.0 PEPS (Pan-European Proxy Services). Building on this successful result, the team is now working with Icelandic partners to connect the eIDAS node with the STORK 2.0 PEPS.

The adaptor is comprised of an eIDAS node along with a plugin that converts authentication requests and responses between the eIDAS and STORK 2.0 formats. The plugin will also enable attributes mappings between STORK 2.0 and eIDAS node SAMLs (Security Assertion Markup Language).

As the eIDAS node is utilised as an eIDAS connector it is not directly linked to EU country specific services like Attribute Providers or Identity Providers. This means that the system design looks and feels as though the country running STORK 2.0 architecture has actually implemented the eIDAS node.

Beyond 2020 vision

By looking closely for synergies amongst the previous Large Scale Projects (LSPs) across the domains, E-SENS was able to integrate sustainability considerations into future recommendations. This is evidenced by the way in which its new adaptor enables connectivity to the eIDAS network for countries enabling eID with STORK 2.0 architecture.

Additionally, the project presented principles and a proposed structure for IT governance which reflects the key contribution of current technical building blocks and domain communities (representing the range of sectors involved). E-SENS also outlined the wider legal framework within which governance may have to function.

It is estimated that overcoming current barriers to the European digital economy, could add EUR 415 billion to EU GDP by expanding markets, improving services and creating more job opportunities. With this in mind creating comprehensive Digital Service Infrastructures (DSIs) offers the prospect of an investment well made.

The E-SENS eIDAS connector is currently under development with its release expected in October 2016.

For more information, please visit:
project website

Source: Based on information from the project

Related information

Record Number: 125863 / Last updated on: 2016-07-25
Category: New products and technologies
Provider: EC