EC Aims To Slash Red Tape With IT

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Around €14 million has been earmarked to improve online services across several European countries

The European Commission says it is investing around €14 million in a pilot project to develop IT systems designed to make it easier for companies to do business across multiple countries.

In a statement released late last week, the EC said it wants to improve cross-border services by using online tools. Driven by Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland, the project known as “Simple Procedures Online for Cross-border Services” (SPOCS) is designed to help the public sector better integrate its online services. If successful, the technologies and procedures used in the pilot will be rolled out across the rest of Europe, the EC said.

“Investment in the latest information technologies is the right tool to help cooperation between public administrations and make it easier for businesses to access markets in other Member States,” said Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for information society and media. “Providing services online and without red tape will allow European businesses to expand to new markets, boosting trade within the EU. The result will contribute to more growth and more jobs in the single market.”

For example, the project should make it easier for a Belgian company to open a business such as a cafe in the Netherlands. According to the EC, the programme is part of the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation Programme which is designed to improve the competitiveness of European enterprises and has a budget of more than € 3,6 billion for the period from 2007 to 2013.

The UK government has been focusing on its use of the internet lately including hiring web pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee as an adviser along with the founder of Lastminute.com Martha Lane Fox.

The web inventor will lead a panel of experts that will help the government “create a single online point of access for government held public data and develop proposals to extend access to data from the wider public sector,” the government said.