The e-SENS project has been tasked – among other things – with looking beyond the term of the Connecting Europe Facility (after 2020) and proposing a long-term governance model that will enable the interoperability and delivery of cross-border public e-services within EU countries. Currently, one of the chief emerging issues is to find answers to these challenging but very important questions:
- What should the future IT governance structure in Europe look like?
- What would be the best option to ensure the sustainability of the e-SENS Building Blocks?
- How will the European community deal with the solutions developed within e-SENS in the long-term perspective?
The purpose of the European long-term IT governance structure proposed by e-SENS is to coordinate and ensure coherence and sustainability of the technical solutions used in the EU to facilitate public electronic services. e-SENS proposes a governance model that will support technical and domain-specific communities in aligning their respective evolutions and creating new synergies.
The envisaged governance structure will enable synergies across communities at the policy, organisational and technical levels in a resilient (e.g. flexible and self-adapting) and efficient way. The long-term governance model will support the delivery of integrated and interoperable public electronic services in the EU by the communities, and will help new potential BBs and domain communities to become mature in order to join the shared governance structure. The delivered cross-border and cross-community public services will have a positive impact on the establishment of the European Digital Single Market.
The proposed governance model is intended to ensure proper information and knowledge sharing in a pro-active manner among all interested communities, so as to provide proper coordination. The communities will remain autonomous and continue operating in their respective fields, with full responsibility for maintaining and developing the use of common solutions which they deem useful.
Regardless of the community’s actual legal, organisational or operational structure, it is expected that each BB and domain community will be able to (and aim to) deliver public electronic services or cross-domain BBs, and cooperate with other communities under the future joint governance model.
Considering that in the long term non-monetary contributions will be needed, the funding structure proposed for the whole governed ecosystem will evolve successively from the current set of EU projects into a hybrid scheme that aggregates revenues of different natures to finance its operations and development:
- Countries (via their administrations) and enterprises contributing in kind: expertise, BB components, training materials and more.
- Public funds used to fund important efforts, such as the integration of a new (BB or domain) community.
- Commercial revenues generated from the delivered services (co-designed/standardised in the long term) and the licensing of assets.
CEF (mid term) vs. e-SENS (long term)
Since short- and medium-term preferences for a governance structure are already covered by e-SENS and CEF, the e-SENS proposal focuses on the long-term governance structure, meaning beyond 2020, i.e. after the expiration of CEF. There is a strong link between e-SENS and CEF due to the fact that the CEF Building Block DSIs (Digital Service Infrastructures) have emerged from the previous Large Scale Pilots (PEPPOL, SPOCS, STORK/STORK 2.0, epSOS and e-CODEX), which are related to e-SENS. As a logical consequence, e-SENS monitors and considers the developments within the framework of CEF, which has already implemented a mid-term governance structure (existing until the expiration of CEF). The next step is to define and implement the e-SENS long-term IT governance structure.