The Council of the European Union on Thursday adopted its position, or general approach, on setting up a single digital gateway which will provide online information, procedures, assistance and problem solving services to citizens and companies.
A Council general approach enables negotiations with the European Parliament to begin, the Council said in a press release.
"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 digitalization of public services in cross-border situations and a further move towards making the digital Europe a reality," Kadri Simson, minister of economic affairs and infrastructure of Estonia, said.
The single digital gateway will integrate several networks and services that have been established at national and EU level to assist citizens and businesses in their cross-border activities. These include: European Consumer Centers, Your Europe Advice, SOLVIT, Intellectual Property Rights Helpdesk, Europe Direct and Enterprise Europe Network.
The user interface will be user-friendly and available in all official EU languages.
The interface will ensure centralised access by EU citizens and businesses to information they need to exercise their rights to mobility in the EU, as well as to full access to online procedures in a non-discriminatory way.
A basic principle of the gateway is that if a procedure is available for a citizen of one member state it should also be accessible to users from other member states.
Fourteen key administrative procedures however have to be made available online to all, both national and cross-border users. These procedures cover situations which are relevant for starting a business or doing business, working or studying or moving from one location to another, for example registering a business, registering an employer/employees for compulsory pension and insurance schemes, applying for study loans and grants, recognition of academic titles, getting an European Health Card and registering a motor vehicle.
The new internet portal will help reduce administrative burden on citizens and businesses.
The functioning of the gateway will be supported by technical tools developed by the Commission in cooperation with national administrations.
The institutional negotiations under the ordinary legislative procedure will begin next year, once the European Parliament has agreed its position.
Editor: Dario Cavegn