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Funding programmes in the European Union

Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), Horizon 2020 and large scale projects like e-SENS and TOOP

Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) was set up by EU Regulation 1316/2013 and makes available around EUR 30 billion in the period from 2014 until 2014 for the expansion of trans-European networks in the fields of energy, transport and telecommunication and for digital services. The topic of eGovernment is dealt with in the formation CEF Telecommunication. This sector is to promote projects in connection with the topics of electronic identity and authentication, electronic delivery, electronic invoice, cyber security, etc. A project eligible for funding must have reached a certain degree of maturity and represent added value for the EU.

In contrast to this, new ideas are to be developed or tested with the aid of the programme Horizon 2020. Horizon 2020 also has a term from 2014 until 2020 but has considerably greater funds at its disposal (around EUR 80 billion). It is thus the largest European funding programme for research and development ever launched.

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Large Scale Pilots

With the help of the (expired) Framework Programme for Competitiveness and Innovation (CIP), Funding goes mainly to pilot actions, involving both public and private organisations, for validating in real settings, innovative and interoperable ICT based services in areas such as:

  • ICT for health, ageing and inclusion,
  • digital libraries,
  • ICT for improved public services,
  • ICT for energy efficiency and smart mobility,
  • multilingual web and internet evolution.

Networking actions for sharing experiences and preparing the deployment of innovative ICT based solutions in such areas were also supported, as well as the monitoring of the Information Society through benchmarking, analyses and awareness raising actions.

In the eGovernment field Austria is participating/participated in the following Large Scale Pilots of the European Commission:

  • e-CODEX (e-Justice Communication via Online Data Exchange),
  • epSOS (Smart open Services for European Patients),
  • PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement Online),
  • STORK 2 (Secure idenTity acrOss boRders linKed),
  • eSENS (Electronic Simple European Networked Services).


e-SENS (Electronic Simple European Networked Services) was launched as a further measure in the development of an EU-wide internal digital market.

The background to the project is the existence of a large number of barriers that impede cross-border usage of public electronic services. This results in an increased bureaucracy for citizens and businesses respectively and potential remains untapped. Without interoperability between the public administrations of the various European states, it is virtually impossible to offer citizens and businesses public digital services across Europe.

The new large-scale project is not a stand-alone project; rather, it builds on the work done up to now in other large-scale projects, consolidates and expands on their results on electronic identity, electronic signature, electronic delivery and on electronic documents. The task of the new project will be to link national digital service networks and expand digital services in the public sector that exist on a European standard infrastructure.

The goal is to make it easier for businesses to conduct activities in their own country and in another Member State (for instance, setting up a subsidiary) and improving support for citizens who, for instance, are residing in another Member State for professional or educational reasons.

The more than 100 project participants come from 20 European countries, including Norway and Turkey, Organisations such as ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) and OpenPEPPOL also contribute.

Further information

e-SENS website

The “Once-Only” Principle Project (TOOP)

What is TOOP?

The “Once-Only” Principle Project was launched by the European Commission in January 2017 and focuses on data from businesses. It is an initiative of about 50 organisations from EU Member States and Associated Countries to explore and demonstrate the “Once-Only” principle across borders with the aim to reduce administrative burden for businesses and public administrations. TOOP will enable better exchange of data or documents of businesses with and between public administrations.

How does TOOP do this?

TOOP implements multiple sustainable pilots by using a federated IT architecture on cross-border aspects. Three pilot areas are implemented:

  • Cross-border e-Services for Business Mobility,
  • Updating Connected Company Data and
  • Online Ship and Crew Certificates.

TOOP aims at connecting registries and e-Government architectures in 21 countries across Europe. The solutions will be based on already existing systems in Member States and Associated Countries.

Why was TOOP created?

TOOP provides the basis for the implementation and wider use of the “Once-Only” principle. In the European “e-Government Action Plan 2016-2020” one of the underlying principles states that public administrations should ensure that citizens and businesses supply the same data only once to a public administration.

From these political documents as well as various empirical studies it follows that one of the major impediments to a well-functioning single European market is the grinding daily friction of procedures and paperwork imposed by the public sector. Often, compliance costs are caused by fairly simple issues, such as proving one’s identity and the possession of required or claimed attributes, such as a license or a certificate. This data usually already exists in the public sector, whether in another agency in the same country or in another country. Thus, the “Once-Only” principle (OOP) has become a viable way to reduce the administrative burden throughout the EU Member States and make the Digital Single Market a reality.

What is the “Once-Only” principle?

The “Once-Only” principle in the context of the public sector means that citizens and businesses supply diverse data only once to a public administration. Public administrations take actions to internally share these data - also across borders - , so that no additional burden falls on citizens and businesses. The application of this principle needs to be in compliance with the EU data protection legislation. Implementing the “Once-Only” principle across borders contributes towards the efficiency of the Digital Single Market in Europe. 


  • Businesses will benefit from the solutions developed by TOOP. The key words are: time-savings, lowering administrative burden and reducing costs for businesses, fulfilling legal obligations faster. The shared data between public administrations remain under the control and the consent of the businesses involved.
  • Administrations will benefit through improved service quality and administrative efficiency.

General Facts

  • Project: The “Once-Only” Principle
  • Project Acronym: TOOP
  • Project coordinator: Tallinn University of Technology (Estonia)
  • Participants from: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, Turkey
  • Project Start: 1st January 2017
  • Duration: 30 months (until June 2019)
  • Project Budget: 8 Mio. Euro
  • Funding Programme: Horizon 2020
  • Project key words: data reuse, public administration innovation, cross-border public services, interconnection, interoperability

Further information

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