Tallinn Declaration on eGovernment at the ministerial meeting during Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU on 6 October 2017

10/10/2017 | EIFR

We, the ministers1 in charge of eGovernment policy and coordination from 32 countries of the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Area (EFTA), have unanimously approved this declaration under the chairmanship of Minister Urve Palo, representing the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU, and in the presence of Vice President Andrus Ansip of the European Commission (hereinafter: Commission) in charge of the Digital Single Market.

We recognise that:

The global landscape is rapidly changing and, as stated in the Rome Declaration2, Europe is facing serious social, environmental, economic and political challenges.

Digital progress is transforming our societies and economies to the core, challenging the effectiveness of previously developed policies in a broad range of areas as well as the role and function of the public administration overall. It is our duty to anticipate and manage these challenges to meet the needs and expectations of citizens and businesses.

The ongoing work by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations (UN) and the G20 on globalisation and digital transformation has shown several opportunities to reform the current policy frameworks in the coming years in context of digital development.

Development of eGovernment has a central role to play to meet these challenges and make use of the emerging digital opportunities. Amongst others, the digital transformation can strengthen the trust in governments that is necessary for policies to have effect: by increasing the transparency, responsiveness, reliability, and integrity of public governance.

eGovernment is significant for the development of the data economy and the Digital Single Market, especially for ensuring the secure and free movement of data as an enabler for digital innovation in Europe and for reducing the costs of and barriers to seamless functioning of the Single Market.

Since the adoption of the 2009 Malmö Declaration3, we have taken many steps towards modernising the delivery of public services nationally and across the borders within the EU with digital tools. However, we are yet to seize the full potential of the digital transformation in our administrations as well as at the EU level.

The EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016-20204 has been a significant step in this transformation journey. However, more needs to be done and faster to ensure its implementation, including to spread digitisation across all policy areas and to put the end-users – citizens, businesses, public sector employees – truly at the centre of services (user-centricity).

It is time to start laying the foundation for further digital evolution and joint actions beyond 2020, while ensuring the sustainability of current achievements and initiatives. At EU level, this does not have to result in increasing the total EU budget, but rather reorientation and clear prioritisation of expenditures to support the objectives and policy action lines laid out in this declaration.

The digital transformation of the public administration is our collective endeavour at national, regional and local levels within our countries as well as by the EU institutions5, respecting the division of competences. Our efforts can be greatly facilitated by collaboration, interoperable solutions and sharing of good practices throughout public administrations and across borders.

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