European ICT harmonisation framework approved

The European Council has approved a new €131m programme to harmonise ICT solutions and frameworks for government bodies across the European Union.

The interoperability of digital services across Europe programme (ISA²) will follow on from the first iteration which expires on 31 December 2015.

It is aimed at enabling effective electronic cross-border and cross-sector interaction between European public bodies and with their citizens.

The text of the new agreement says: “As an increasing number of public services become ‘digital by default’, it is important to maximise the efficiency of public spending on ICT solutions.

“Such efficiency should be facilitated by ensuring that the provision of such services is planned at an early stage and, where possible, by sharing and reusing solutions in order to maximise the value of public spending.

“The ISA2 Programme should make a contribution to that goal.”

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The text also says that ISA2 is instrumental to enabling the implementation of “one-stop shops” and providing more transparent and cheaper public services.

“As end-users, businesses and citizens should also benefit from common, re-usable and interoperable front-office services resulting from better integration of processes and exchange of data through the back offices of European public administrations,” it said.

The agreement will allow for the assessment and improvement of existing cross-border solutions, as well as the creation of new ones to address interoperability gaps.

In addition, a platform to allow collaboration and to raise awareness – including security and safety frameworks – will also be maintained.

The European Commission will monitor the implementation and re-use of solutions on an ongoing basis, and will produce a final evaluation of the programme by 2021.

Following the vote by the council, the legal act will be signed tomorrow and published in the EU Official Journal next week. It will enter force three days later.

Colin Marrs

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