ESTeam attended the 6th European Ministerial eGovernment Conference, entitled "Borderless eGovernment Services for Europeans" on 17 – 18 November 2011 in the City of Poznań organized by the Polish Presidency of the European Union and the European Commission. The conference, a major event during the Polish Presidency, attracted approximately 900 stakeholders from around the world: ministers from EU member states, officials from national, regional and local administrations, industry representatives, civil society and experts.
The conference focused on three main aspects of eGovernance:
- Policy issues
- Interoperability strategies
- People’s concerns for issues like the impact of eGovernment services, inclusiveness, public value, user empowerment and quality assurance.
Large scale projects such as Peppol were presented and they are due to end in less than one year from now. Regrettably only very few governments are implementing these projects into their infrastructure. The European Commission needs to take a greater responsibility for eGovernment projects that they fund and be the first to put them to use. The needs of the Commission must be considered in these projects since this is the only way that cross border operability will be achieved. The need for cross border services should be implemented by the owner of the problem, namely the organization that crosses EU borders.
Not a lot has happened since the Malmö conference during the last two years. We believe this is due to governments being reluctant to change but rather keep their own operational structure and cost. Furthermore it is apparent that implemented local solutions remain a functional island, missing the potential to be exploited further in other regions – not to mention even other countries. Interoperability and cross border services are fashionable terms in eGovernment but without more actual substance than the plain understanding that the problem is actually there. We are still far away from what to do about the problem.
It is noteworthy that no presented project was close to the scale of Euroclass. Euroclass supports SMEs across Europe to register a trademark in one single step in all EU languages and in any country in a pan European collaborative effort. In such areas progress rather looks slow, while every single step forward is extremely important, since it facilitates the communication between citizens and government as well as having the task to effectively cut the cost and improve the structure of government operations.
Words such as standardization and interoperability are frequently used. Question is how do you standardize in a world with such varied legal and parliamentary systems? Here you must decide to disagree and remember that the insight and knowledge about of where you disagree is also a result of harmonization and interoperability.
ESTeam met many fantastic people from all over Europe with great ideas. The human potential is clearly there for realizing solutions to change old fashioned management and communication methods in European governments.