European Council confirms plan for one-stop-shop for access to range of cross-border online services
The European Council has moved forward with a plan to set up a portal for access to a range of online cross-border services for individuals and companies
It has formally adopted its position on a single digital gateway to integrate several networks and services at national and EU level to support cross-border activities. This effectively approves a proposal put forward by the European Commission in May.
The issue will now go to the European Parliament. When it has agreed on its own position the negotiations between the relevant institutions can begin.
Among the networks expected to be included in the gateway are the European Consumer Centres, the Intellectual Property Rights Helpdesk, the Enterprise Europe Network and SOLVIT, the services for allowing citizens and businesses to challenge any alleged breach of rights by authorities in other member states.
The progress of the project has been a priority for Estonia, which currently holds the presidency of the council and is widely recognised as a world leader in online government services.
Making it easier
Its minister of economic affairs and infrastructure, Kadri Simson, said: "We have to make it easier for our people and companies to find the information they need, wherever in the EU they live, work or do business.
“Creating an online one-stop-shop is a convenient way to do that and it has been a priority for the Estonian presidency. It is a new step towards the digitalisation of public services in cross-border situations and a further move towards making the digital Europe a reality."
The European Council said the gateway will be available in all official EU languages, and will be supported by technical tools developed by the Commission in cooperation with national administrations.
It has identified 14 administrative procedures to be made available, covering situations around starting a business and working or studying in another state.
A basic principle will be that if a procedure is available for a citizen of one member state it should be accessible to users from others.
Image modified from MPD01605, CC BY-SA 2.0 through flickr