Digital collaboration between public services

A new European interoperability framework aims to increase the quality of public services in the Member States and promote digital collaboration.

TH/SW – 04/2017

The European Commission presented a new version of the European Interoperability Framework at Digital Day held in Rome on 23 March 2017. The framework is part of the digital single market strategy released in May 2015 and it will be implemented in the coming months. The public sector, which includes the statutory social insurance system, accounts for about a quarter of all jobs in the Member States. Public procurement represents approximately a fifth of the EUs GDP. The public sector plays a key role as regulator, services provider and employer. 

Driving digitalisation forward

For several years, the Member States have been increasing their efforts to digitalise their public administrations in order to save time, reduce costs and increase transparency. Digitalisation also improves data quality and the delivery of public services. However, there is still room for improvement, particularly when it comes to cross-border services, due to the numerous barriers which block access to these services. This is apparent from the Single Market Scoreboard 2014 with regard to “single points of contact”. 


The new framework will ensure that administrations can now follow a common approach, which is similar across all Member States, when making their public services available online. 


By promoting the cross-border interoperability of digital services across all areas, citizens and businesses can communicate more easily with their own administrations and those of other Member States. This would ideally be accompanied by a reduction in bureaucratic red tape to benefit citizens and businesses, for example, when applying for certificates, using services or applying for benefits provided by statutory social insurance. 


The aim of the EU Commission’s 47 recommendations is not only to promote the digitalisation of the public sector in the Member States but also to increase interoperability of public services between the Member States. They also aim to ensure that the interoperability of digital services is not negatively affected by existing or new regulations. 


The updated recommendations made by the EU Commission contain principles and models which can be used to increase interoperability. The focus is on how these recommendations can be implemented using “good practices”. The framework also places emphasis on transparency, information management, data portability, interoperability governance and integrated digital service delivery. 


The revised interoperability recommendations also take into account other EU measures such as the revised Directive on the reuse of public sector information, the INSPIRE Directive and the eIDAS Regulation. They also take into consideration new EU initiatives such as the European Cloud Initiative, the EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020 and the proposed Single Digital Gateway. 

What next?

The ISA² programme will assist the European Commission with implementing and monitoring the new framework. The Member States are expected to supplement the EU actions outlined in the interoperability action plan with their own national measures. The Commission wants to evaluate the implementation of the revised European Interoperability Framework by the end of 2019. 


More information on the digital single market strategy: 


The Interoperability Framework document can be viewed at: 


Visit the ISA² website at: