It is common for citizens and companies to become entangled in an administrative and document tangle when making a procedure in a country other than their own. The European Union has been aware of this for years, so it has developed a strategy for the implementation of a portal through which these procedures are centralized and simplified.
The achievement of a Digital Single Market in the countries of the European Union inevitably entails the unification in the access to information on the necessary procedures for any citizen of the Union, the procedures themselves and the assistance to be able to complete them correctly.
This is a need claimed by citizens and companies for years and is taking shape thanks to the Regulation adopted by the European Council last September 2018 through which a Digital Single Gateway for Europe or DSG is established.
To understand the succession of events that have taken place until the appearance of the Digital Single Gateway, we must go back to 2015, which was when the European Union decided to take a firm step towards the digital transformation of the member countries by breaking the digital borders between them, as was done previously with physics.
The establishment of a Digital Single Market (DSM) covered initiatives such as the elimination of unjustified geographical blocking, the end of mobile roaming charges, improvements related to Electronic Government or to promote WiFi connection in some municipalities, among many other actions for digitalization.
The One-stop Centre as precedent
The willingness to streamline bureaucratic procedures between countries of the European Union is not something new. This can be confirmed by the fact that since 2009 the European Union has implemented the obligation that each country should have at least one One-stop Centre to serve entrepreneurs in the services sector.
Thanks to these One-stop Centre, which shape the EUGO network and are governed by the One-stop Charter, service companies can obtain useful information on standards and procedures, as well as their telematics completion, such as:
- Those related to what is necessary to build a company.
- Requirements to offer services temporarily.
- Recognition of professional qualifications and regulated professions.
- Labor and social legislation.
- Public procurement regulations.
This directive was a decisive impulse to:
- Administrative simplification.
- The freedom of establishment of service providers.
- The free movement of services.
- The rights of the recipients.
- The quality of services.
- Administrative cooperation.
- A community convergence program.
We can consider the One-stop Centre as an antecedent of the Digital Single Gateway, a portal that will extend these services to the rest of the companies and to private citizens, thus moving a long way towards achieving a unique digital market for Europe.
The need for a Digital Single Gateway for Europe
For citizens living in other countries of the European Union, they intend to do so or need to inform themselves or carry out cross-border procedures, as well as for companies whose actions go beyond the limits of a country, carrying out certain bureaucratic actions meant immersing themselves in an administrative labyrinth.
To this it should be added that the information useful to carry out these procedures was dispersed in many websites, and some of these were only available in the language of the country itself and did not convey much confidence.
To the information gap described above we must add the fact that some of these administrative procedures could only be performed in person at a physical office or by a national telephone number, which was a difficult barrier for many.
This situation crystallizes in the need to create a unique digital space for all the nations of the European Union, assuming a streamlining and improvements that will bring benefits for the economy of the Union. In fact, according to the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, citizens will be saved 855,000 hours and 11.00 million euros a year to companies.
The basis of the Single European Digital Portal
This Single European Digital Portal will be integrated into the existing “Your Europe” and its user interface will be available in all official languages of the European Union.
From the search function, the European Digital Single Gateway will offer data on practical and easy-to-find information on national regulations applicable to the procedures, administrative procedures and the steps to be completed to fill them out and assistance to solve all doubts that citizens and businesses have about.
Although some of these procedures are already publicly available in “Tu Europa”, the program that sets the guidelines for the implementation of the Single European Digital Portal is marked as December 2023 limit so that the following administrative processes are included in it:
- 21 European administrative processes of great importance and wide use.
- All administrative procedures of each of the member countries.
- The “one-time” principle, whereby the citizen does not have to resubmit the documentation that is already in the hands of the Administration.
In addition, it should be noted that the portal will be subject to control and monitoring processes through the feedback of the users themselves to improve the quality of their services.
With this portal, the European Union is strongly committed to the full operation of a unique digital gateway through which individuals and organizations can easily access information, procedures and services.
From now on, with the DSG it will be much more agile to register a vehicle, request the European Health Card, request a residence certificate and many more actions, greatly facilitating the lives of citizens and fostering cross-border personal and professional relationships.
DSG, the tip of the iceberg
The DSG is the tip of the iceberg, the interface, the counter for citizens and businesses, of a long-term European Union digital strategy.
In order to make it possible for the public services of any country in the union to be accessible to any European citizen, such as social, tax, public procurement, health, justice or equality, the ambitious pan-European e-Sens project is underway, in which are already planned pilots in the areas of public procurement, electronic health, electronic justice and business creation. The e-Sens project is inserted in the financing instrument CEF (Connecting Europe Facility).
The e-Sens program is in turn supported by the five main modules of the CEF, essential for the DSG to be viable and really useful for citizens and businesses:
- eID. Digital services capable of electronically identifying users across Europe.
- eSignature. Creation and verification of electronic signatures in accordance with European standards.
- eInvoicing. Sending and receiving electronic invoices in accordance with the European directive and standard.
- eDelivery. Exchange of data and documents in a safe and reliable way.
- eTranslation. Multilingual public services.