Bold steps forward
The European Commission’s 2021 eGovernment Benchmark report, produced by Capgemini, its subsidiary Sogeti and consortium partners IDC and Politecnico di Milano, has found that while there is still much more work to be done, European governments demonstrated “resilience and innovation” in swiftly moving vital services online, to assist citizens and businesses to cope with the impacts of the pandemic, providing a template for further action that can be applied across Europe.
The Commission’s annual review, now in its 18th year, is Europe’s most comprehensive and authoritative assessment of the digital transformation of government and public services, providing fascinating insights into one of the EU’s key priorities within its 2030 Digital Decade ambitions.
The eGovernment Benchmark compares the progress of the public authorities of 36 European countries – the 27 EU member states, plus nine others including the United Kingdom, collectively known as EU27+ – in transitioning to digital services.
Almost 8,000 webpages, from 93 citizen and business services, across more than 2,625 distinct local, regional and national administrations, were visited, tested and evaluated, to inform this year’s report.
Catalyst for digitalization
The Commission’s overall eGovernment maturity score for 2021, taking an average from all 36 countries, stands at 68%, with the most digitally enabled government being Malta’s at 96%. Overall, 81% of services under evaluation are now available online.
Although the pandemic provided a catalyst for digitalization in some areas, the crisis has not been a panacea to digitally transform public authorities, with important disparities remaining, such as:
- 85% of central government services are available online, compared to 59% of local services
- 91% of services for businesses are online, compared to 77% for citizens
- Less than half (43%) of services can be accessed online by cross-border users
Earlier this year the Commission launched its €672.5 billion Recovery and Resilience Facility, for large scale public investments and reforms by member states, to enable recovery from COVID-19 and to promote economic, social and territorial cohesion. Member states are investing a share of this facility in digital transformation, which together with other reforms and investments, will enable them to seize more digitalization opportunities. With reinforced efforts and guided by European values, public administrations will enter a new digital government era.
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