The European Commission to invest €13.7M for further development of cross-border digital public services

16-8-2013 — /EuropaWire/ — Following the successful collaboration between EU Member States, industry, national administrations, academia, the private sector and local communities on a series of projects to make living, working, travelling, studying and doing business across borders easier, the European Commission is making a €13.7 million investment to further develop cross-border digital public services. The new “e-SENS” project (Electronic Simple European Networked Services) will help develop digital public services which make it easier for companies to do business in their own Member State and elsewhere in the EU -including setting up a company, fulfilling legal requirements and taking part in public tenders. It will also link up national digital services for citizens who visit a different Member State on holiday, or for work or study.

Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission said: “Enabling the many digital public services which we have across Europe to work together in a secure and efficient way is a win-win for everyone: governments can make the best of their on-line strategies; businesses can cut the costs of doing business in the single market; and citizens have less bureaucracy to deal with as they move around Europe.”

Here are examples of how e-SENS can help Europeans make the most of the single market:

  • Anja has a travel agency in Lithuania, specialising in trips to Portugal. She wants to start an agency in Portugal to organize trips to the Baltics. Through the fully online SPOCS point of single contact, she can find out about the conditions she needs to fulfil and get help completing the registration procedures online.
  • Anja is also about to marry her fiancé. The wedding will take place at his hometown in Spain. Anja will be able to register their marriage online at home in Lithuania with her eID thanks to the STORK module.
  • Karel lost his luggage while flying from Brussels to Athens. He was not satisfied with the compensation which the airline offered him under EU Passengers Rights. e-CODEX means he can start a small claims procedure online wherever he is in Europe.
  • Sabrina is visiting her cousins in Denmark and realises she has ran out of diabetes medication. Thankfully, she can still get medications from the pharmacy while abroad, using the epSOS ePrescription system.

The efficiency of cross-border digital public services will further improve when relying on a backbone of EU wide high-speed broadband. Measures to promote investment in high-speed networks are one element of the Commission’s upcoming package to build a connected continent.


Since 2008, large-scale pilots (LSPs) for cross-border digital public services were developed by the European Commission in cooperation with EU Member States, industry, national administrations, academia, the private sector and local communities to develop and test seamless cross-border digital services. As part of e-SENS, over 100 partners from 20 countries from Portugal to Turkey are developing and implementing building blocks based on open standards and specifications in interoperable eIDs, eSignature, eDelivery and eDocuments which innovators from the public and private sector can use to create new digital public services, helping to “build, connect, and grow” Europe.

The specific projects are:

Securely linking electronic identities – the STORK 2.0 project contributes to the realisation of a single European electronic identification and authentication area. It establishes interoperability at national and EU level for eIDs for both legal & physical persons (video).

Making justice faster – the e-CODEX project improves the cross-border access of citizens and businesses to legal services in Europe as well as the interoperability between legal authorities within the EU (video).

  • Making healthcare better – the epSOS project designs, builds and evaluates a service infrastructure that allows for cross-border interoperability between electronic health record systems (video).
  • Making procurement better – the results of the PEPPOL project on eProcurement (transferred to the non-profit association “OpenPEPPOL“) help European businesses to deal easily and electronically with European public authorities in their procurement processes (video).
  • Making business easier – the results of the SPOCS project enable businesses to establish themselves abroad. The Starter-Kit provides them with seamless cross-border electronic alternatives to long administrative procedures, which businesses usually have to encounter when trying to expand into other countries (video).

e-SENS builds on these results, and will act as a bridge between the pilot and operational phases when cross-border digital public services will become fully available. The project involves partners from 20 countries: Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey. The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and OpenPEPPOL contribute significantly to the project. e-SENS kicked off on 1st April 2013 and the signature of the Grant Agreement with the European Commission means the project can now officially launch.

The Commission is providing € 13.7 million to support e-SENS over three years (50% of the €27.4 million budget), from its Information and Communication Technology Policy Support Programme (ICT-PSP).

e-SENS will also look at how to ensure the long-term sustainability of the e-SENS building blocks and other cross border digital public services, based on the results of a recently published study). As of 2014, EU support could come from the Digital Service Infrastructures part of the Connecting Europe Facility which has allocated up to one billion euros over seven years to support platforms providing seamless digital public services in Europe.

Useful links

Webzine “Build,Connect,Grow”

Digital Public Services on the Digital Agenda website


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