The opinion on "Digital Agenda for Europe" recognises that online government services have, to date, consisted too much in transferring paper-based bureaucracy online. The EU and Member States should be forerunners, spearheading efforts at European and national level in close collaboration with LRAs to bring about greater change in governmental procedures and structures by using ICT to improve the meaningfulness, quality and productivity of work and efficiency of public authorities and to reduce red tape for the general public and business.
The opinion also stresses that Europe's full potential for developing ICT services in the public and private sectors should be fully exploited and that ICT should be used as a means of improving local and regional authorities' services in fields such as healthcare, education, public order, security and social services. EU-backed public-private partnerships involving local and regional authorities and ICT-development SMEs in the area of public ICT services can serve as an excellent cornerstone for building up local skills and knowledge across the EU.
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- welcomes the Digital Agenda for Europe, one of the seven flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 Strategy. The overall aim of the Digital Agenda is to deliver sustainable economic and social benefits from a digital single market based on fast and ultra-fast internet and interoperable applications. The implementation of the Digital Agenda depends on the right level of ambition and commitment, which will empower Europe to build a new economic model based on knowledge, a low-carbon economy and high employment;
- notes that Local and Regional Authorities (LRAs) are amongst the main recipients of the agenda's recommendations and can be key drivers for its implementation. The priorities of the Digital Agenda for Europe at local and regional level are prerequisites for the quality of life and social and economic activity of citizens and will stimulate more efficient and personalised public services as well as local businesses;
- emphasises that the Digital Single Market is a cornerstone of the Digital Agenda for Europe that will make it possible to create a growing, successful and vibrant pan-European market for the creation and distribution of legal digital content and online services, as well as giving consumers easy, safe and flexible access to digital content and service markets;
- welcomes the Commission's initiative to simplify copyright clearance, management and cross-border licensing by enhancing governance, transparency and pan-European licensing for online rights management, creating a legal framework to facilitate the digitisation and dissemination of cultural works in Europe;
- points out that, when building the internet infrastructure and developing the services it carries, it will be crucial to ensure that security requirements are met at every level so as to guarantee optimum levels of privacy and protection of personal data. It is important here to prevent any unauthorised tracking of personal information and profiling.