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Single digital gateway will make it easier to do paperwork online

Single digital gateway would make it easier to do paperwork onlineProposals put forward by MEPs today will be making it easier for citizens and businesses to do their paperwork online. The aim is for key administrative procedures to be fully accessible online to all Europeans.

Some of the examples include: birth certificates, car registration, permits for business activity and registering social security benefits, resulting in time and money saved for citizens and companies.

New procedures were also added by MEPs to the 13 proposed by the EU Commission, these included requesting a residence certificate, enrolling in a public university, requesting recognition of professional qualification, declaring income taxes, and also VAT registration for companies.

The MEPs said that a single digital gateway would help citizens and firms to access information and administrative procedures online, e.g. to request a birth certificate or register a car.

The European Parliament said that the proposal sets up a single digital entry point, available in all EU languages and to be integrated in the “Your Europe [1]” portal. It would provide access and links to relevant national and EU websites and webpages, making it easier to find information, forms and assistance for people moving to or doing business in another EU country, but also for those staying at home.

It added that , member states would be required to grant online access to the most important and frequently used procedures, such as requests for a birth certificate, car registration, permits for business activity or registering for social security benefits.

Parliament said that the information would be available in at least one additional EU language, “broadly understood by the largest possible number of users.”

It went on to say that in “justified exceptional cases, of general security, public health or the fight against fraud,” member states could require the user to appear in person for a “procedural step” related, for instance, to the request or renew of a biometric passport or identity card.

MEPs also amended the proposal to make sure that the information, online procedures and assistance services provided are of high quality standards and accessible to users with disabilities. A user feedback tool would also be available.

The European Parliament explained that the “once only” principle aims to ensure that citizens and businesses are asked to submit information only once to a public administration, which can then be re-used in other procedures, upon the user’s request.

MEPs approved provisions to make sure that this principle is implemented in line with the new data protection rules.

“Easy access to improved online information, administrative procedures and problem-solving solutions are key elements for the success of the digital single market. People and companies often waste precious time and money tangled up in red tape, with information and procedures that are often scattered, incomplete and not transparent,” said Marlene Mizzi, lead MEP on this file.

She remarked that, “the gateway will be paramount when starting a business, accessing finances, taxation rules, accessing pensions’ rights and social benefits, as well as other information which citizens may need to access for their cross-border activities. It will also provide access to assistance and problem-solving services in case further help is needed,”

“This is a new important step towards providing responsive, inclusive, border-less, user-friendly digital public services to citizens and businesses at national and European level”, she added.

The committee’s vote gives its negotiating team, led by Ms Mizzi, a mandate to start talks with EU Ministers in order to reach an agreement on the final law.

The mandate was approved by 32 votes to three, with no abstentions.

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