EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Document 52021XC0301(02)

Commission Notice Guidelines for the implementation of the single digital gateway Regulation 2021-2022 work programme (Text with EEA relevance) 2021/C 71/02

C/2021/1221

OJ C 71, 1.3.2021, p. 47–55 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, HR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)

1.3.2021   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 71/47


Commission Notice

Guidelines for the implementation of the single digital gateway Regulation 2021-2022 work programme

(Text with EEA relevance)

(2021/C 71/02)

Introduction

Regulation (EU) 2018/1724 establishing a single digital gateway aims at facilitating online access to the information, administrative procedures and assistance services that citizens and businesses need to move within the Union and to trade, establish themselves and expand their businesses in another Member State.

Article 31(1) of the Regulation foresees the adoption of an annual work programme that shall specify actions to facilitate implementation of the Regulation. A first work programme covering the period from July 2019 to December 2020 was published on 31 July 2019 in the Official Journal (OJ C 257).

A close cooperation with Member States throughout these 2 years enabled to implement most of the tasks listed in the first work programme, and especially to ensure the timely launch of the gateway in December 2020, in spite of the Covid crisis. This crisis also highlighted even more the need for more digitalised and user-friendly public administrations.

This second work programme sets out the timing of further actions aimed at implementing the SDG requirements with legal deadlines in 2022 and 2023 and at maintaining and improving the SDG services already launched. In view of the convergence of a number of actions towards the December 2022 deadline, this second work programme covers the period from January 2021 until December 2022. Actions will focus as of 2021 on:

monitoring and quality enhancement of the gateway,

promotion,

preparations for implementation by municipalities by 2022,

preparations for meeting the 2023 deadline regarding the digitalisation and cross-border accessibility of procedures and the once-only system.

On 6 October 2020, this work programme has been discussed with the gateway coordination group, as foreseen by Article 31(2) of the Regulation. Implementation of the work programme will be monitored both via the gateway coordination group online collaboration platform and during meetings of the gateway coordination group.

National coordinators are invited to produce a national work programme assessing progress made so far and outlining actions to address the remaining gaps. They are invited to review this national work programme once a year and to share it with the Commission and the coordination group.

For the purposes of this Commission notice, the following definitions apply:

‘competent authority’ means any Member State authority or body established at national, regional or local level with specific responsibilities relating to the information, procedures, assistance and problem-solving services covered by the gateway Regulation;

‘national coordinators’ are the representatives appointed by Member States as foreseen by Article 28 of the gateway Regulation.

1.   Information and service quality

Objective 1.1: Ensuring completeness and quality of information

Reference: Articles 4 and 5 of the Regulation on access to information, Article 9 on quality of information on rights, obligations and rules, Article 10 on quality of information on procedures, Article 12 on translation, Article 19

Background

The gateway will provide citizens and businesses with information that is comprehensive enough to allow them to exercise their rights derived from Union and national law in full compliance with applicable rules and obligations.

The Regulation provides in Annex I a list of areas where the Commission and Member States had to ensure that all information relevant for citizens and businesses is provided online by 12 December 2020, except information provided by municipalities who have until 2022. EU-wide rights and obligations are covered on the Your Europe portal. The Your Europe portal also includes information on national implementation and rules provided by Member State authorities for some of the topics identified in Annex I. Such information is gradually being removed from Your Europe and replaced by (1) links to pages on national websites notified by Member States and (2) the gateway search facility.

The Commission also offered translation services to Member States in 2020. In view of budget limitations, priority for the use of this service was given until end 2020 to the basic information in all areas listed in Annex I.

How and when?

When

What

Who

Q1 2021-Q4 2022

Check completeness and quality of information covered by Annex I and address problems

Commission

National coordinators

Q1 and 3 of every year

Bi-annual review of Commission guidance on implementation of Annex I

Commission

National coordinators

Q4 2022

Ensure information at municipal level is available online and of the right quality, and that the websites are notified to EC

Competent authorities

National coordinators

Q1-Q2 2021

Pilot an optional approach to facilitate identification of specific national product requirements with a selection of willing Member States.

Implement measures to improve the results in the area of product requirements (including necessary IT developments)

Commission

National coordinators

Competent authorities

Q4 2021

Implement measures to improve the results in the area of taxation (including necessary IT developments)

Commission

National coordinators

Competent authorities

Objective 1.2: Avoiding duplication

Reference: Recitals 17 and 55, Articles 19.6 and 30 of the Regulation

Background

The Regulation calls on Member States and the Commission to provide single sources for each information item required for the gateway, and to avoid partial or full duplication whenever possible. This is to avoid confusion among users confronted with different portals containing similar – but not completely – identical information on the same topic. Aiming for single information sources also makes updates easier and reduces the risk of presenting contradictory information.

Only information exclusively targeting citizens and businesses and explaining their applicable rights and obligations is eligible for the gateway. It should not be mixed with other content, such as information on policy in the making that is aimed at audiences such as experts and civil servants.

The Commission is applying this principle to its own web presence, and is working to integrate and host all EU-level information informing citizens and businesses about their Single Market rights and obligations on Your Europe. The only exceptions will be the cases where separate EU law mandates the creation of a particular website. Content describing policies and processes, on the other hand, is to be hosted on the Commission’s corporate website and the individual websites of the responsible Directorates-General.

How and when?

When

What

Who

Q4 2021

Integrate all EU-level information on Your Europe exclusively, except where legislation doesn’t allow it.

Develop an integrated approach between Your Europe and other EU portals that are part of the gateway to ensure smooth navigation and to avoid duplication

Commission

Q1 2021-Q4 2022

Make a clear separation between information on applicable rules for citizens and businesses, presented on Your Europe, and information on policy in the making, covered on the Commission’s corporate website and separate DG websites

Commission

Q1 2021 – Q4 2022

Work to reduce duplications in specific areas, including GDPR, digitalisation of businesses, finance for business, product requirements, taxation, import/export

Commission

Q1 2021-Q4 2021

Develop an integrated approach at national level to avoid duplication of information on specific topics between various national portals

National coordinators

Competent authorities

Q1 2021-Q4 2022

Monitor duplications across Commission and Member State websites and investigate possible solutions for a better distribution of content

Commission

National coordinators

Competent authorities

2.   IT development, digitalisation of procedures, data collection

Objective 2.1: Digitalising procedures

Reference: Article 6 of the Regulation on procedures to be offered fully online.

Background

The gateway will offer users easy access to national administrative procedures. For this purpose, the Regulation requires all Member States to ensure that users can access and complete any of the procedures listed in Annex II fully online. This means that the user should be able to take all steps electronically, at a distance and through an online service. The Regulation also gives a non-exhaustive list of specific criteria which need to be met.

While the ultimate deadline for digitalising procedures is in December 2023, Member States should intensify their work on this project and look for opportunities to implement the requirements well before the deadline as part of their ongoing e-government programmes, like some have started to do during the Covid crisis.

EU programmes will help Member States achieve this goal, for instance in the Recovery and Resilience Facility, Horizon Europe, the Digital Europe Program and the ERDF. Competent authorities are invited to contact their national coordinators responsible for the financial programmes in their Member State.

In 2020, the Commission provided an explanatory note on Annex II procedures and the topic will continue to be addressed during coordination group meetings.

How and when?

When

What

Who

Q1-Q2 2021

Share information on progress towards the digitalisation of annex II procedures with the coordination group

Competent authorities

National coordinators

Q2 2021–Q4 2022

Address gaps identified through the above task

Competent authorities

National coordinators

p. m. Q4 2023

All Annex II procedures to be fully online

National coordinators

Competent authorities

Objective 2.2: Ensuring access of cross-border users to online procedures

Reference: Article 13 of the Regulation on cross-border access to online procedures.

Background

The Regulation foresees that procedures which are already online, are (made) fully accessible for cross-border users. That means that if a procedure is available for a national of a specific Member State, it also has to be accessible in all its steps to users from other Member States or to users from the same Member State living in another Member State or who have previously lived, worked, studied or done business in another Member State.

Member States may use an alternative, technically separate technical solution for cross-border users where necessary, but in those situations, extra care should be taken to ensure that the procedure would lead to the same outcome and is not more burdensome than the procedure offered to national users.

Special attention should be paid to obstacles for cross-border users, such as form fields that require national phone numbers, national prefixes for phone numbers or national postal codes, payment of fees that can only be done through systems which are not (widely) available for cross-border users, the lack of detailed explanations in a language understood by cross-border users, the lack of possibilities for the user to submit electronic evidence and the lack of acceptance of electronic means of identification issued in other Member States.

In certain areas (e.g. Services Directive, Professional Qualifications Directive, Public Procurement Directives), non-discriminatory access to procedures for cross-border users is already a legal requirement in addition to the principle of non-discrimination enshrined in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

In 2020, the Commission provided an explanatory note on cross-border accessibility of procedures and the topic will continue to be addressed during coordination group meetings.

How and when?

When

What

Who

Q1-Q2 2021

Share information on progress towards full cross-border accessibility of online procedures with the coordination group

Competent authorities

National coordinators

Q2 2021–Q4 2022

Address remaining barriers

Competent authorities

National coordinators

p.m. Q4 2023

Online procedures accessible for cross-border users in a non-discriminatory way

 

Objective 2.3: Contributing to the development of the EU level IT tools and ensuring interoperability between EC and national IT tools

Reference: Articles 8, 15, 18, 19, 21 of the Regulation on responsibilities for the ICT applications supporting the gateway

Background

As foreseen by the Regulation, the functioning of the gateway is enabled by technical tools that include: a search facility and a common assistance finder guiding end-users towards information, procedures and assistance services; a user feedback tool on quality of services; a user feedback tool on obstacles in the Single Market; a tool to collect statistics of use; and a dashboard as the interface for public authorities.

The Commission adopted in July 2020 an implementing act on user feedback and statistics (Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1121) and ensured availability of all these tools in 2020. National authorities had to ensure compliance with the implementing act, to provide information necessary for the functioning of the tools, and to link to some of them from their national websites. Guidelines were provided on the insertion of the links on national websites.

How and when?

When

What

Who

Q1-Q2 2021

Monitor the collection of feedback and statistics

Monitor the addition, on national pages that are part of the gateway, of links to:

the common user feedback tool on pages which do not have a national feedback tool

the assistance service finder

the tool on single market obstacles

Commission

National coordinators

Q1 2021-Q4 2022

Maintain and further improve the SDG IT tools on the basis of the user feedback and statistics collected

Commission

Q1-Q3 2021

Explore the demand for and the feasibility to develop common IT tools for the automatic collection and transmission of statistics by municipalities and to support digitalisation of procedures

Commission

National coordinators

Q2 2022

Depending on this analysis, develop the tools

Commission

p.m. Q4 2023

Implement workflow in IMI for administrative cooperation (art. 15)

 

Objective 2.4: Once-only

Reference: Article 14 of the Regulation

Background

The Commission will, in cooperation with Member States, establish a technical system for exchanging evidence for the online procedures listed in Annex II to the Regulation and for the procedures provided for in the Services Directive (1), the Professional Qualifications Directive (2) and two public procurements Directives (2014/24/EU and 2014/25/EU).

In 2019 and 2020, the Commission developed an architecture for the system, and worked with Member States through a number of work packages on technical and operational solutions. The Commission also conducted studies and pilots to support this work.

How and when?

When

What

Who

Q1 2021

Final review of the deliverables produced by the work packages

Coordination group

Q1 2021

Propose a draft implementing act setting out the technical and operational specifications of the technical system

Commission

Q1 2021

Preliminary work on the implementing act

Coordination group

Q2 2021

Provide opinion on the draft implementing act and on the core and generic services under development

Committee

Q2 2021

Adopt the implementing act

Commission

Q1 2022

Publish more detailed technical specifications and the governance framework, to complement the implementing act, on the basis of the input provided by specific work packages and after discussion with the coordination group

Commission

Q1 2022

Implement the governance framework for the technical system

Commission

National coordinators

Competent authorities

Starting Q3 2021

Develop the core components and technical enablers of the technical system and put in place the necessary operational arrangements at EU level

Commission

Starting Q3 2021

Develop and adapt the national-side of the technical system including authentic sources of information, eGovernment brokers / intermediation platforms and eGovernment portals, as well as the necessary operational arrangements at national level

National coordinators

Competent authorities

p.m. Q1 2023

Testing and on-boarding

Commission

National coordinators

Competent authorities

p.m. Q4 2023

Once-only technical system in place and ready for use

 

Objective 2.5: Reporting on the functioning of the gateway and the single market

Reference: Articles 19, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 36 of the Regulation

Background

The Regulation foresees that Member States and the Commission analyse and investigate the problems raised by users through the Single Market obstacles (SMO) tool and address them, wherever possible, by appropriate means.

The Regulation also foresees that the Commission publishes online summary overviews of the problems which have emerged from reports provided by users of the gateway through the SMO tool as well as highlighted by collected user feedback and statistics.

In addition, the Regulation requires the Commission to review the application of the Regulation by 12 December 2022 and draft a report assessing the functioning of the gateway and the internal market on the basis of the collected statistics, user feedback and reports on the Single Market obstacles.

The Regulation foresees several tools which will help the Commission collect relevant information related to the digitalization of public services in the EU. The summary overviews of problems and the bi-annual reports will support the Commission in taking informed decisions in the field of the internal market, together with other tools (i.e. statistical report based on selected indicators published on an upgraded Single Market Scoreboard; the Annual Performance Report on the Single Market; etc.). They will also help Member States identify and address in the appropriate way the problems reported.

How and when?

When

What

Who

Follow-up on statistics and user feedback

Q1 2021-Q4 2022

Follow-up on the feedback and statistics

National coordinators

Competent authorities

Commission

Follow-up on the SMO tool feedback

Q3-Q4 2021

Integrate the feedback collected via Assistance Services in the SMO tool

Commission

Publication of gateway datasets as open data

Q4 2021

Publication of data on statistics

Commission

Q4 2021

Publication of data from the links repository

Commission

Online summary overviews

Q4 2021

Publish summary overviews, after discussion with the coordination group

Commission

Report on the gateway and the single market

Q2 2022

Discuss input for the draft report provided by the Commission

Coordination group

Q4 2022

Submit it to Parliament and Council

Commission

Indicators for the Single Market Scoreboard

Q1 2021

Provide SDG indicators for publication in the 2021 Single Market Scoreboard

Commission

Coordination group

Q1 2021

Define a set of SDG indicators for the Single Market Scoreboard in 2022 and following years

Commission

Coordination group

3.   Assistance services

Objective 3.1: Ensuring availability of information about assistance services and their quality

Reference: Articles 7, 11 and 16 of the Regulation

Background

The gateway, via the assistance service finder launched in 2020, offers users easy access to a broad range of assistance services, informs them about what they can expect from the service and guides them towards the most appropriate one.

In addition to the services listed in annex III, other assistance services opted in to also join the gateway as of its launch: Europe Direct, the European Consumer Centres and the IPR Help Desk.

The Commission supported assistance services in this process by providing a check-list and an assessment of the state of play in 2019.

How and when?

When

What

Who

Q1 2021-Q4 2022

Monitor the information provided on assistance services and their quality with the help of collected user feedback and statistics, and follow-up

Commission

National coordinators

Competent authorities

Objective 3.2: Widening the network

Reference: Article 7 of the Regulation

Background

In addition to the assistance services listed in annex III, the Commission and national coordinators may opt-in other assistance services if those fulfil the conditions foreseen in the Regulation.

Where necessary to meet the needs of the users, national coordinators may also propose to the Commission to opt-in private or semi-private assistance services if they fulfil the quality requirements of the gateway.

In 2019 and 2020, priority was given to the inclusion of assistance services that are funded or co-funded and/or managed by the Commission. This resulted in Europe Direct, the European Consumer Centres and the IPR Help Desk to be opted-in.

In 2021, priority will continue to be given to preparing for the inclusion of further services that are funded or co-funded and/or managed by the Commission. In parallel, national coordinators will have the possibility to opt-in national-level assistance services after checking whether these fulfil the quality requirements of the gateway and whether they are complementary to the services already part of the gateway.

As of 2022, national coordinators will have the possibility to propose to the Commission to opt-in private or semi-private assistance services.

How and when?

When

What

Who

Q1 2021

Provide the practical details of an opt-in procedure for assistance services

Commission

4.   Promotion

Objective 4.1: Promoting the gateway

Reference: Articles 22 and 23 of the Regulation on promotion, name, logo and quality label

Background

The gateway was launched on 12 December 2020.

In 2020, a communication plan to advertise the gateway was prepared together with Member States. It foresees the roll-out of a campaign at both EU and national levels in 2021, and the coordination of activities to promote the gateway and the websites that are part of it. The campaign includes a digital roadshow with online information sessions across Europe in national languages. The aims are to:

Establish Your Europe as a brand among citizens and businesses

Increase findability of the gateway

Inform Europeans about EU and national rights and rules within the single market

Get them actively involved in claiming those rights and reporting problems they encounter

Encourage users to send feedback on public services

How and when?

When

What

Who

Q1 2021

Run launch events

Commission

National Coordinators

Competent authorities

Q1-Q2 2021

Run further promotion activities

Commission

National coordinators

Competent authorities

Q4 2021

Evaluate the success of the campaign

Commission

Q4 2021-Q1 2022

Review the communication plan

Commission

National coordinators

Q1-Q4 2022

Implement the revised communication plan

Commission

National coordinators

Competent authorities

Q1 2021-Q4 2022

Further search engine optimisation of Your Europe and of national websites in search engines accessible to the wider public

Commission

National coordinators

Competent authorities

Q1 2021-Q4 2022

Further promote the gateway to national and local competent authorities

National coordinators

Commission


(1)  Directive 2005/36/EC.

(2)  Directive 2006/123/EC.


Top