OPP Meeting Summary: Competitiveness Council – Single Digital Gateway (30 November 2017)

A summary of the adoption of the general approach is now available.

Competitiveness Council – 30 November 2017
Regulation on Single Digital Gateway

General approach
14401/1/17 REV 1
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The Estonian Presidency made the following opening remarks

  • the proposal was an important step towards the digitisation of public services and making Digital Europe a reality;
  • it would make it easier for citizens and business to make use of their internal market freedoms through seamless online public services;
  • the proposal was one of the top priorities of the Estonian Presidency in the field of the internal market, and an important part of the Digital Single Market (DSM);
  • the work on the proposal had started under the Maltese Presidency, and work had intensified under the Estonian Presidency in the past 3 months;
  • the single digital gateway should facilitate access for citizens and businesses on existing national online and offline services, which were listed in Annex 1;
  • a number of procedures would need to be fully digitised in all Member States (MS). These procedures were listed in Annex 2;
  • MS had shown a large degree of support for the latest Presidency compromise text during the Coreper meeting on 24 November, and a number of final modifications had been made;
  • the Presidency believed that the text now should be acceptable to all delegations, allowing the general approach to be adopted.

Commissioner Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska 

  • access to information was still highly fragmented across the EU, and the national governments who had sophisticated eGovernment websites often discriminated against cross-border users;
  • she stated that the cross-border functionalities of the gateway were of the utmost importance to the Commission;
  • the Commission also proposed the creation of user-friendly feedback tools, in order to find out whether the proposed services were fit-for-purpose;
  • in the spirit of the Tallinn Declaration, she was certain the gateway could be implemented within an ambitious time frame;
  • as the Parliament had not yet finalised its position, she stated that the Commission was reserving its position but she thanked the Estonian Presidency on the “fantastic job” that it had done on the proposal.


  • he was ready to support the general approach. It was an important element of the DSM strategy;
  • the proposal introduced a several innovations, such as the one-only principle;
  • he thanked the Estonian Presidency for its efforts, and hoped that agreement could be found with the Parliament during the Bulgarian Presidency.


  • Germany supported the general approach;
  • he thanked the Presidency and the Commission for their willingness to compromise on a number of issues, although he regretted that not all of Germany’s key issues had been supported;
  • Germany would be making a statement for the minutes of the meeting on several issues;
  • overall, the text provided “good synergies for the digitisation of public administration”;
  • the proposal would allow European citizens to engage with the internal market.


  • Belgium was in favour of strengthening eGovernance, with a view to improving the functioning of the internal market, as well as the objectives of the proposal;
  • he stated that language played an important role in Belgium’s public structures. The rules on the use of language in Belgium needed to be strictly applied;
  • Belgium “unfortunately” needed to enter a reservation on the language requirements in the proposal, and he thanked the Presidency and the Commission for its efforts to address Belgium’s needs;
  • Belgium would be abstaining and would deliver a statement to be included in the minutes of the meeting.


  • Ireland’s own initiatives on eGovernment complemented the proposal on the gateway;
  • he believed that when implemented, the gateway would be a key facilitator in citizen participation in the digital single market.


  • Italy was satisfied with the work done under the Maltese and Estonian Presidencies;
  • the general approach was balanced, and took into account the need for flexibility;
  • national efforts to promote digitisation of public services needed to be taken into account;
  • he confirmed Italy’s support for the general approach.


  • there were still issues that needed to be discussed in more technical detail, but Malta supported the general approach;
  • he stated that the internal market could not function properly without cross-border accessibility. Businesses needed to be helped to operate across borders, in order to boost Europe’s innovation and competitiveness.


  • Portugal supported the compromise text but there were some concerns about the technical and financial implications for national administrations. He stated that Portugal would be relying on the Commission for assistance;
  • Portugal had invested heavily in digitisation of public services and wanted to share experiences and knowledge.

Czech Republic

  • the gateway would ensure that public services complied with the digital age;
  • he stated that the Czech Republic would have been in favour of an even more ambitious gateway, especially regarding the scope, but supported the general approach.

United Kingdom

  • the Presidency compromise text respected the ambition of the Commission’s proposal;
  • the United Kingdom was fully committed to delivering digitised public services;
  • user experience needed to be at the core of the gateway.


  • Slovakia supported the general approach, but she stressed that the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity needed to be respected.


  • the gateway would foster competition and strengthen the internal market;
  • Latvia had already digitised a large number of public services, both for citizens and businesses, including a majority of the procedures set out in the proposal;
  • Latvia supported the general approach.

The Netherlands

  • she stated that the Netherlands had initially believed that reaching a general approach during the Estonian Presidency would have been “rather ambitious”;
  • the Netherlands supported the general approach.


  • France’s concerns about the security of personal data had been taken into account, and France was now ready to fully support the general approach.


  • Slovenia had supported the proposal since the beginning. He stated that Slovenia’s concerns had been addressed during the discussions, and that the general approach could be fully supported.


  • Croatia supported the Presidency’s compromise text;
  • the gateway would be an additional incentive for Croatia to continue the process of removing barriers at the national level;
  • he stated that it would also be an administrative and financial challenge, and investments would need to be made;
  • Croatia supported the implementation period of 5 years of some of the provisions, such as the digitisation of cross-border procedures. In this regard, he raised the issues of e-commerce and the collaborative economy;
  • he stressed the importance of data protection and cybersecurity in the implementation of the Regulation.


  • Finland was able to support the general approach;
  • work would have to continue on the implementation of the single market and the DSM strategy, and she stated that it was also necessary to look beyond them. Digitisation was crucial for the future.


  • digital solutions could help to future.proof the internal market;
  • Denmark supported the high ambitions of the proposal but it was important that the costs of the gateway were in line with the genuine value added;
  • Denmark supported the general approach. The Presidency’s compromise was a good balance of reasonable obligations and added value and it was important to keep that balance during the upcoming trilogues;
  • the possibility of MS to apply alternative and effective national solutions needed to be maintained in the negotiations;
  • it was important to be specific on the scope.


  • Poland strongly supported the general approach;
  • work on the proposal was done very quickly but that was necessary in order to ensure that European citizens and businesses benefitted from the Regulation as soon as possible;
  • there might be problems in the implementation of procedures and services, but Poland would try to have them in place.


  • he thanked the Presidency for its flexibility on several issues such as the translation of the information;
  • Hungary welcomed the deletion of Article 48 from the proposal, and supported the general approach.


  • digitisation of public services was crucial for businesses to succeed in the single market;
  • he welcomed the pragmatic approach of the proposal, as it aimed to strengthen existing procedures;
  • Luxembourg fully supported the general approach.


  • citizens expected user-friendly digital procedures and services and this needed to be delivered, as it would boost EU competitiveness;
  • a majority of Lithuania’s public services were already digitised, but he understood that swift implementation would not be possible for some MS;
  • Lithuania could agree on the proposed extension of the deadlines, and supported the general approach.


  • Bulgaria supported the general approach.


  • Greece supported the general approach;
  • he raised the issue of interoperability of the gateway with national systems;
  • Greece favoured an extension of the implementation period;
  • the Commission needed to carry out an impact assessment of the associated costs and eventual benefits;
  • he stressed that the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity needed to be respected;
  • he concluded that a number of issues would have to be specified through implementing acts. A link needed to be established between this proposal and other legislative texts to avoid any overlap.


  • Estonia’s “digital chairmanship” was delivering, and Sweden supported the general approach.

The Estonian Presidency made the following closing remarks

  • the Council had agreed on the general approach, and mandated the Presidency to enter into interinstitutional negotiations with the Parliament with a view to reaching an agreement at first reading.

Source: One Policy Place

The simultaneous interpretation of debates provided by the European Parliament serves only to facilitate communication amongst the participants in the meeting. It does not constitute an authentic record of proceedings. One Policy Place uses these translations so this text is only a guide and should not be relied on as an official account of the meeting. Only the original speech or the revised written translation of that speech is authentic.

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