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European Commission, Communication from the Commission, of 25 April 2006, i2010 eGovernment Action Plan - Accelerating eGovernment in Europe for the Benefit of All, COM(2006) 173 final (the i2010 eGovernment Action Plan) (2006) (full-text).
The Action Plan stresses the importance of accelerating the introduction of eGovernment in Europe to respond to a number of challenges and requirements:
- modernise public services and make them more effective;
- provide better-quality and more secure services to the general population;
- respond to the requests of businesses which would like less bureaucracy and more efficiency;
- ensure the cross-border continuity of public services, crucial for sustaining mobility in Europe.
eGovernment initiatives have already enabled a number of Member States to make substantial savings of both time and money. Moreover, it is estimated that a total of 50 billion euro could be saved annually if electronic invoicing were to become common practice in Europe.
The objectives of the Action Plan were to:
- accelerate the delivery of tangible benefits for citizens and businesses through eGovernment;
- ensure that eGovernment at national level does not create any new barriers in the internal market, e.g., due to lack of interoperability;
- extend the benefits of eGovernment to European Union (EU) level by allowing economies of scale.
Priority areas Edit
The Plan identifies five priority areas:
- Access for all
The spread of eGovernment should benefit everybody. For this to happen, it is necessary that disadvantaged people encounter as few obstacles as possible when accessing public services online. In this fight against the digital divide, Member States have committed to ensuring that, by 2010, all citizens, including socially disadvantaged groups, become major beneficiaries of eGovernment.
- Increased efficiency
The Member States have committed themselves to achieving gains in efficiency through the innovative use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and to significantly lightening the administrative burden by 2010.
To facilitate this process, the Action Plan provides for the Member States and the Commission to put in place a system for comparatively evaluating the impact and benefit of eGovernment. Measures will also be taken to encourage greater sharing of experience.
- High-impact eGovernment services
A number of services delivered across borders make a significant difference to citizens, businesses and administrations. They can consequently act as flagships for European eGovernment.
One such high-impact service is electronic public procurement. Public contracts represent 15 to 20% of GDP, i.e., about 1,500 billion euro every year in Europe. Electronic procurement could result in an annual saving of tens of billions of euro. Hence the importance of a high level of take-up of e-procurement.
The Member States have undertaken to give their public administrations the capability to carry out 100% of their procurement electronically. In particular, this means ensuring that at least 50% of procurement above the EC threshold (from 50,000 euro for simple public services to 6,000,000 euro for public works) is carried out electronically by 2010.
- Putting key enablers in place
To optimize eGovernment, certain key enablers need to be in place, such as:
- interoperable electronic identification management (eID) for access to public services;
- electronic document authentication;
- electronic archiving.
- Increased participation in decision-making
ICT have great potential to involve large numbers of citizens in public debate and decision-making. Indeed, 65% of respondents to an online eGovernment policy poll considered that online democracy ("eDemocracy") can help reduce democratic deficits.
To encourage this potential, the Action Plan proposes support for projects which enhance the use of ICT with the aim of increasing public involvement in the democratic process.