The EESC welcomes the continuous progress and support provided by the European Commission in the further development of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF). Some earlier reservations from Member States about the EIF have now largely been resolved and although there is still some way to go, the main difficulties in implementation revolve around resources and legacy issues rather than matters of principle.
The Committee nevertheless notes that interoperability capacity varies considerably between and within Member States. The current consensus is that regulation or mandatory governance procedures remain off-limits but this places a greater responsibility on Member States to voluntarily engage in every possible way with the spirit and substance of the EIF and its implementing programmes. The EESC would welcome the full engagement of the Member States and the European Union institutions to implement the EIF.
At the same time, the EESC urges Member States to take up the specific and pragmatic proposals to continue with paper or multi-channel service delivery where necessary and to allow trusted third parties to act on behalf of those who would otherwise be excluded.
Greater clarity is needed on how the requirement for a focus on the needs of business and the citizen (user-centric services) can be implemented.
Although cyber security does not fall within the competences of this Communication it is clear that reassurances need to be provided in other EU legislative instruments to ensure that greater interoperability and public access does not mean greater vulnerability by penetration from the increasing threat of cyber-attack.