On the role of the European Commission in the digital transformation of the public sector

DATE September 19, 2019

On the role of the European Commission in the digital transformation of the public sector

Role of the European Commission in the digital transformation of the public sector

The digital transformation of the public sector is one of the main issues for the European Union as it has been highlighting through different reports, studies and laws developed in recent years. With a scenario of profound technological change like the one we are experiencing today, the modernization of the public sector must be understood as a priority to maintain administrative management at the pace of a population and economy with increasingly higher expectations. Like the Commission, the cities that make up the Spanish Network of Smart Cities have been aware of the determining role that the digital transformation of the public sector plays in creating the Working Group 1 focused on Open Government, Open Data, Social Innovation, Participation, etc.

The work of the Commission is included in the eGovernment factsheets anniversary report, prepared at the request of the Program ISA2. The text summarizes the main actions regarding electronic government carried out by the European Commission in the last decade.

The digital transformation of public administration is a path that the member states of the European Union have been implementing through laws and actions regarding electronic government (eGovernment, in English) over the last decades, a path that began Switzerland with the Federal Administrations' ITC Strategy 2007 – 2011, in 2007 and which spread to the rest of the countries over the last decade.

The initiatives of the member countries were articulated under the umbrella created by the European Commission in 2006, with the announcement of the first Electronic Government Action Plan, the i2010 initiative. Since then, the Commission has increasingly invested in this type of strategies through numerous initiatives, among which the Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) and the Digital Single Market Strategy (DSM) stand out. ). Currently, the Commission is immersed in a process of exploring the effects that new technologies and artificial intelligence can play in the digitalization of governments and in the development of new programs and strategies. To this end, the European Parliament recently launched its conclusions on the development of digitalization in the European Union for the coming years, taking up the concerns already raised by the Commission.

The process of gradual implementation of electronic government actions by the Commission is structured into three large action groups that allow different aspects to be covered, offering a comprehensive development of these initiatives from multiple perspectives. These action groups are (I) the political initiatives, where the Action Plans and Strategies fundamentally stand out (II) the legislation, which gives it a binding meaning and allows the implementation of the strategies in the specific areas of management and ( III) financial initiatives, focused on providing structural solutions in the different regions.

The European Digital Agenda as part of the Europe 2020 Strategy, has as its most prominent objective the achievement of sustainable economic and social benefits through a digital single market. The agenda was established with 7 pillars focused on a digital single market; interoperability; trust and security; ultra-fast internet access; research and innovation; improving inclusion and skills, and achieving benefits for European society.

Another tool launched is the European Digital Single Market, whose objective is the modernization of the public sector through the adoption of new technologies. The three pillars with which it was built were based on achieving better access to services for consumers and entrepreneurs; creating appropriate conditions in the field of digital networks and innovative initiatives; and obtaining maximum growth potential in the digital economy.

The Commission is aware of the importance that the provision of public administration facilities will have in the future, so better prepared cities will be key in the dissemination of these technologies in the coming years.

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