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Putting citizens first

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eGovernment is the use of Information & Communication Technologies (ICTs) to make public administrations more efficient and effective, promoting growth by cutting red tape. This is something which anyone who has spent hours waiting in line in a government building canappreciate.

 

Electronic invoicing in Denmark saves businesses there 50 million euros per year, with administrations - and hence taxpayers - saving another 120-150 million euros (eGovernment Awards Info-Manchester) . If we could get this working across the EU, European taxpayers would save 15 billion euros every year.

This, however, is the tip of the iceberg. By connecting government departments, companies and citizens, eGovernment-powered public services also become faster and more personalised, allowing citizens and companies to get on with their lives and build their businesses rather than waiting in line in government buildings. eGovernment can also strengthen democracy by improving two-way communication between the citizens and their government.

While there is much research still to be done, this is not just a technical issue - technology must be combined with organisational change and new skills to fulfil the eGovernment promise. Moreover, national eGovernment solutions must not lead to new barriers within the Single Market - if national electronic identities are not interoperable, for example, both companies and people will face new barriers to working and living in other countries.

Modernising Europe's public administrations therefore means helping researchers, companies and public administrations work together across Europe to develop the technologies, exchange best practices and forge a coordinated approach. We must avoid reinventing the wheel 27 times across the EU, learn from each other's successes and failures, and win the economies of scale that only a European approach can provide

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