1 January 2010, for various reasons, will be a date in which it is necessary to review the targets reached, with a national scope as European as well. An area in which both scopes of revision are crossed is that of Pan-European Electronic Government services (PEGS). “Action plan on Electronic Government i2010 – To accelerate the electronic administration in Europe for the benefit of all (COM/2006/0173)”, within the line of action ” Services of high impact for citizens and companies”, sets the following target:

Between 2006 and 2010 cooperation on additional high-impact eGovernment services will be agreed with Member States

The reasons for which the European Commission this aim was marked, are framed within the general policy of the European Union to promote the single market as a tool for the promotion of economic growth and to create a common area of harmonised civic rights. It means, finally, and advance on the extension of the right of the European citizens to choose the channel of relation with the Public Administrations as a driver of effectiveness and effectiveness.

The need to satisfy in a coordinated way all the dimensions of a public service (policy, financier, organizational, technical, legal) in the areas of cooperation and and conjugate this need with the interests of the Member States, has given way to the birth to a Two-speed Europe in each PEGS. The development of each service requires an effort in human and economic resources, both in the identification and the overcoming of barriers of sustainability, confidence, interoperability, multilingualism and governance. It is not surprising that the effort is is only assumed by a Member State if one of the following circumstances is given:

  • Existence of a legal obligation to satisfy
  • Appreciable efficiency gains, either for the Administration or in the reduction in administrative burdens for the citizens
  • Successful in the previous implementation of a national version of service
  • Existence of a target group of citizens of high social or economic interest (students, unemployed people, entrepreneurs, elderlies person)

A uniform progress in the development of a PEGS has been only produced when the European Commission has exercised a role of leadership, either establishing a clear policy or a legal obligation. It is the case, respectively, of eProcurement and the Single Point of Contact for Establishing Services (Services Directive). The approach has been always not to reduce the diversity but the cost of the existence of the latter.

The landscape described serves to learn lessons for our national environment. The Citizens’ Electronic Access to Public Services Act (Law 11/2007) establishes for the national government the obligation to satisfy for the citizens the right to choose among the electronic or face-to-face channels. This and other legal obligations derived from Law 11/2007 are subject to the availability of resources for the regional and local Administrations. Only the existence of a national target similar to the one established on the European level in the “Action plan on Electronic Government i2010 – Accelerate the electronic administration in Europe for the benefit of all (COM/2006/0173)”, and the leadership in its completion by the national government, can avoid the birth of a socio-economic and rights divide in the Spanish State.