Commission launches secure pan-European platform for eGovernment services

March 6, 2002

Brussels, 5 March 2002

The European Commission today announced that it has set up a secure communications infrastructure for information exchange among European public administrations.

In line with the eEurope initiative(1) this facility, which is financed and managed under the Interchange of Data between Administrations (IDA) programme, will provide a platform for new pan-European eGovernment services to citizens and enterprises by improving co-operation between European public services at all levels of government.

At the core of the communications infrastructure lies a private European backbone network (TESTA(2)) that connects governmental intranets operated by national authorities. All but two EU countries are now connected to TESTA, and Iceland and Norway also participate. EU candidate countries are expected to hook up to it later this year. The network also provides links to the European Parliament and other European institutions, as well as to most of the European agencies.

During the implementation phase, average growth in data transmitted over the network has been 30% per month. This includes information on European job vacancies and social security, trade licences and pharmaceutical products, road accidents and communicable diseases.

In addition to carrying data, the infrastructure also makes available groupware tools (CIRCA(3)) that facilitate the effective and secure sharing of resources and documents. More than 22,000 civil servants in over 700 interest groups actively use this facility. Electronic signatures and integrity and authentication of messages are assured through IDA's own public key infrastructure (PKI).

IDA's pan-European communications infrastructure provides substantial benefits to the increasing number of administrations that need to communicate with their European counterparts. Overall network security and reliability are of prime concern for the services. Certification of compliance with recently adopted European security regulations is under way. Additional benefits include streamlining operations by providing a single interface to European administrations, speeding up implementation, greater cost-efficiency and flexibility.

IDA is a Commission-driven strategic initiative using advances in information and communications technology to support rapid electronic exchange of information between Member State administrations. The objective is to improve EU decision-making, facilitate the operation of the Internal Market and accelerate policy implementation. Additional information can be found on http://europa.eu.int/ISPO/ida/

(1) http://europa.eu.int/information_society/eeurope/index_en.htm

(2) TESTA stands for Trans-European Services for Telematics between Administrations

(3) CIRCA is the Communication and Information Resource Centre for Administrations

DN: IP/02/358 Date: 05/03/2002

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