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Digital transformation of public administrations in Europe moving towards same direction – digital services for all as an objective

Ministry of Finance
Publication date 6.10.2017 14.10
Press release
Photo: Aron Urb (EU2017EE)

The ministers of the EU and EFTA countries responsible for digitalisation signed a Declaration on eGovernment in Tallinn on 6 October. The declaration aims to ensure that measures taken to promote the digitalisation of public administrations follow the same direction throughout Europe and pursue the joint objectives. The declaration emphasises the rights of citizens and businesses to access digital services.

The public administration is being systematically digitalised in Finland as in many other European countries. The objectives set in the declaration pull the objectives of Finland and other European countries in the same direction. The purpose is to involve citizens and businesses more closely in the development of digital services.

More effective use of information

The declaration signed today focuses on the delivery of services instead of technology. It also includes for the very first time an attachment describing the principles for design and delivery of digital public services.  

The declaration stresses the importance of the principle of digital by default, according to which all services should be available digitally whenever possible. In this respect, Finland is among the top countries in Europe, according to independent assessments, and the priority of e-services is one of the Government’s policies. An excellent example of development in this field is the roadmap for e-services published in June 2017, which consists of 112 services primarily available digitally. Different support forms will be developed for citizens who are unable to use digital services.

The principle of once only is one of the most important objectives of the declaration. It means that citizens are asked to supply the same information only once if the information is entered in one of the registers maintained by the public administration. Finland already makes an efficient use of registers across organisational borders. Efforts have been made to realise this principle, for example within the combined information management project.

Europe focuses on development of cross-border services

One special feature in the digital transformation of Europe is the development of cross-border provision of services. It means that in the Member States services would also be made available for other countries’ citizens and businesses to ensure that the European fundamental rights will be fulfilled better. Another way to support citizens and businesses is to exchange information between the administrations. It is often an easier way for European citizens to interact with public administration. This has been a common practice between Finland and Sweden and the other Nordic countries for a long time.

The declaration sets out actions to be undertaken by the Member States and tasks for the Commission and other EU institutions. The Commission’s role is to adopt joint solutions and to support the Member States in their digitalisation. The Commission’s instruments, such as the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), is used to support the promotion of digitalisation. Some Finnish projects have received support from the CEF.

At the ministerial meeting, Finland was represented by State Secretary Jari Partanen on behalf of Minister of Local Government and Public Reforms Anu Vehviläinen, and Director General for Public Sector ICT Anna-Maija Karjalainen. State Secretary Partanen signed the declaration.

Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment - Tallinn declaration (6 October 2017) 


Olli-Pekka Rissanen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 2955 30364, olli-pekka.rissanen(at)vm.fi
Sami Kivivasara, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 2955 30023, sami.kivivasara(at)vm.fi

Anu Vehviläinen Public Sector ICT