Mr Francisco García Morán, Director-General from the Directorate of General Informatics
29 Apr 2011
Conference Room, Level 37, EU Delegation in Singapore, 250 North Bridge Road, #37-01 Raffles City Tower Singapore 179101
9.30am – 11.00am
The use of eGovernment has been in existence for some time in various countries. However its implementation is still largely restricted to the national level. In the European Union, the full implementation of e-Government across national borders – hitherto unrealised – would offer a huge potential for the EU’s Single Market. With greater ease of transactions, mobility and compliance, the European Commission would be to accomplish its goals more effectively and efficiently, in managing and delivering EU policies for the benefit of EU public administrations, citizens and business.
Francisco García Morán, Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Informatics (DIGIT), gave a public talk on the state of eGovernment in the EU under the framework of the Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE), which encompasses policy decisions and incentives related to the digital economy. The DAE is a flagship programme which falls under the EU2020 Strategy outlining the priorities of the Barroso II Commission (2010-15) and beyond.
The lack of interoperability between the different information and communications technology (ICT) systems of the individual EU member states stands as one crucial issue, said Mr García Morán. The problem is not one of technological inadequacies, but of the lack of a common framework of standards. EU programmes such as the Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations (IPA) act as catalysts to build bridges between policy and technology. But it is essentially left to the will of politicians from individual EU member states to translate their commitments towards cross-border eGovernment – made at theeGovernment Ministerial Declaration at Malmö in 2009 for instance – into national legislation and action plans.
In a complex environment such as the EU, Mr García Morán pointed out, interoperability cannot be overemphasised. He cited the examples of two EU countries – Spain and Estonia. Despite both countries being highly ranked internationally in terms of eGovernment readiness, Spanish citizens would not be able to use their national ID cards to access European-wide services while in Estonia, and vice versa.
The e-Commission – a strategic framework for the European Commission in implementing eGovernment policies – has come a long way from the days of having only a simple website without the possibility of citizen-to-government interaction. The strategic goals of e-Commission 2011-15 have been drawn out by MrGarcía Morán and his team, and look to further streamlining administrative processes and working methods, so as to make eGovernment services more user-friendly. Nonetheless challenges remain for DIGIT, not least in having to deal with an increasing workload while facing pressures on its administrative budget.