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Commission launches new programme on eGovernment

The EU needs more effective and ambitious eGovernment services to revitalise the Lisbon agenda, according to participants at a conference in Brussels, Belgium, on 17 and 18 February. At the conference 'Cross-border eGovernment services for administrations, businesses and ci...

The EU needs more effective and ambitious eGovernment services to revitalise the Lisbon agenda, according to participants at a conference in Brussels, Belgium, on 17 and 18 February. At the conference 'Cross-border eGovernment services for administrations, businesses and citizens', the Enterprise and Industry Directorate of the European Commission presented a new programme, IDABC, aimed at improving the efficiency of European public administrations. 'Businesses and citizens are the core target groups for the new EU eGovernment services,' stated Günter Verheugen, EU Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry. 'In order to revitalise the Lisbon agenda we need modern public services that eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy.' At present, if an SME (small or medium sized enterprise) wishes to set up a subsidiary in another EU Member State, it faces countless and expensive bureaucratic challenges. The conference therefore focused on ways to take advantage of public procurement opportunities in other Member States and to reduce the flow of necessary paperwork in order to improve the efficiency of trade procedures. Indeed, paper administration is estimated as one of the major challenges to international trade. According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), between seven to ten per cent of the total value of the global commerce is spent in the process of document exchange that goes with the respective deals. New EU eGovernment services will open up access and cut red tape for the free movement of people, goods and services across Europe, according to a blueprint presented to the conference. IDABC, which stands for 'Interoperable Delivery of European eGovernment Services to Public Administrations, Business and Citizens', uses the opportunities offered by information and communication technologies (ICT) to encourage and support the delivery of cross-border public sector services to citizens and enterprises in the EU, and to improve efficiency and collaboration between European public administrations. IDABC provides services that enable national and European administrations to communicate electronically, and offers modern public services to businesses and citizens in Europe. The programme also provides financing to projects that address European policy requirements and improve cooperation between administrations across Europe.