The Council supports European eGovernment action plan

The Council adopted conclusions on the European eGovernment action plan for the period 2011-2015 on 27 May. The conclusions recognise in particular the need for open, flexible and collaborative e-government services designed and produced for the benefit and around the needs of citizens and businesses. The aim of the action plan is to promote the take-up of eGovernment (electronic government) services at local, regional and EU level, in order to make them more accessible and available for citizens and businesses throughout the EU regardless of their country of origin.

eGovernment will reduce administrative burdens by simplifying procedures and communication, and improve organisational processes by using innovative technologies such as electronic services for the ageing society. Also, a joint action on eGovernment by member states will contribute to a more efficient use of public resources and to reducing public expenditure.

The action plan aims to increase the use of eGovernment services to 50% of EU citizens and 80% of EU businesses by 2015. To achieve this, the Member states are being asked to undertake specific practical tasks such as raising awareness of and building trust in eGovernment services among EU citizens, encouraging the use of social networking and collaborative tools to facilitate more fluid communication between public administration and citizens, enhancing the security and privacy of eGovernment services and increasing citizens' trust and confidence in them.

Furthermore, inclusive and accessible electronic government services will help people with disabilities and other groups at risk of exclusion to be more self-reliant and able to use self-service solutions through digital interaction with public administration. For businesses, seamless cross-border eGovernment services will make it easier to open a branch or subsidiary in another EU member state or to provide their services or goods anywhere in Europe. Another positive consequence of using eGovernment services is that it will reduce public administrations' carbon footprint.

The action plan sets out specific practical measures aimed at ensuring that, by 2015, among other things it will be much easier for people to apply for and access social security and health benefits, transfer pension rights from one EU state to another or study anywhere in the Europe.