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Digital Europe for All

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Digital tools to support the free movement of data in the EU

The EU-funded DE4A project has devised new technical solutions and pilots to enable the digital single market across the EU. Three selected pilots helped clarify the benefits of the market and should facilitate its future implementation.

Digital Economy

The Digital Single Market (DSM) Strategy, adopted in 2015, aims to enable the free movement of data across the EU to improve the efficiency of public services. But we’re not there yet. For the DSM to become a reality, everyone needs to be convinced of the benefits of sharing common digital services across borders. The DE4A (Digital Europe for All) project brought together 22 partner organisations to demonstrate how the DSM can help deliver better public services that are fully digitalised, user-centric, data-driven and trustworthy. The pilots cover three scenarios often faced by EU citizens: studying abroad, doing business abroad, and moving abroad. The first pilot aims to demonstrate the benefits of the DSM to higher education students who study abroad and who often face challenges in getting their diplomas recognised. Students can use a mobile app developed by the project to provide their diploma to any authority that requests it. “We now have a mature prototype that demonstrates real use in a cross-border context of a user-centric information exchange pattern,” says project coordinator Ana Piñuela from Atos Research & Innovation in Spain. The second pilot was designed to tackle the administrative burden of doing business in another Member State. “With the innovative automated approach demonstrated in the pilot, we can reuse information about a company cross-border,” Piñuela explains. “This substantially reduces time to register for business-oriented services in another Member State, and is expected to save companies over EUR 11 billion per year.” The entire process is fully online and secure, using the same authentication and authorisation protocols of the home country. The third pilot addresses moving abroad. It aims to reduce the administrative burden of citizens moving from one Member State to another by harmonising cross-border information exchange on domicile, birth and marriage certificates.

A passport for data

The project team has already made several breakthroughs. They created software to facilitate cross-border exchange of evidence between authorities. They also devised a framework providing the interoperability needed for evidence exchange at pan-European level. “The discussions and analysis on the most important challenges facing the implementation of Single Digital Gateway Regulation (SDGR), the process of adapting the national systems to integrate with the DE4A’s common components, along with the cross-border testing of use cases, have enabled Member States to learn about challenges, integration problems and interoperability barriers at different levels,” adds Piñuela. As a result, she says, the participating Member States are now more aware of legal, technical, semantic and organisational obstacles to the DSM. “They have access to pragmatic solutions to overcome them. Overall, these lessons on efforts and costs will be valuable for other Member States addressing a similar challenge,” Piñuela remarks. With Member States both driving and benefiting from DE4A pilots, the project is sure to help overcome challenges and barriers to the application of the SDGR and the Once Only principle (that citizens, institutions and companies only have to provide certain standard information to the authorities and administrations once), and provide valuable insights on the implementation and evolution of the SDG Once Only Technical System.


DE4A, digital single market, cross-border, once only, Single Digital Gateway, Once Only principle, Once Only Technical System, social innovation

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