Presented as a time saver for citizens and companies, the Single Digital Gateway (‘SDG’) is meant to help to access information (as to employment and tax rules or cross-border activities for instance) and administrative procedures online, e.g. business permits or social security notifications. Not only EU businesses will face fewer barriers when entering new markets within the EU, but it will also help companies in their home country.
This European single entry point will be integrated in the ‘Your Europe’ portal, available in all EU languages. It will provide access and links to national and EU websites to enable users to exercise their rights and to comply with their obligations within the single market.
In order to achieve such objective, EU Member States will be required to grant online access to the most important and frequently used procedures. The proposal also intends to implement a “once only” principle in line with the new data protection rules. This means that businesses will be asked to submit information only once to a public administration, which can then be re-used in other procedures, upon the user’s request.
The Single Digital Gateway deals with the “front office” of public administrations (i.e. the link between the administration and the user) by ensuring easier access to them, but it does not harmonize the actual procedures which remain in national competence.
The single digital gateway proposal is part of the “compliance package”, aimed at enhancing the practical functioning of the EU single market. This package also includes the introduction of a Single Market Information Tool (‘SMIT’) and a free of charge service which provides rapid and pragmatic solutions to people and companies all over Europe when they experience difficulties with public administrations while moving or doing business cross-border in the EU. According to the European Commission, this legislation could help companies to save more than EUR 11 billion in total per year.
The single digital gateway regulation will be put to a vote at the 2018 September’s Parliament plenary session.