Is the Single Digital Gateway the next big step in e-government?

E-government is an important priority of the European Commission. A 2016 study, commissioned by the European Commission to evaluate the progress of e-government implementation in the EU, found that, in the recent past, members of the EU had, on average, made significant progress in e-government implementation. However, there was large variation in this progress, with some EU members making headway towards advanced stages of e-government implementation, and other countries still struggling to move past the initial stages.

To address this disparate progress and advance e-government implementation more uniformly, the EC introduced a number of initiatives, including the Single Digital Gateway (SDG) regulation, which came into force in 2018. The SDG aims to ensure that EU citizens moving to another EU state, and EU-based businesses aiming to conduct business across state boundaries, can easily access online information regarding administrative procedures in their host country. This SDG objective had to be implemented by the end of 2020. By the end of 2023, citizens and businesses moving across state borders also need to be able to perform a number of procedures online and should have access to assistance services related to these procedures.

In light of this background, this white paper by doctoral researcher Hamza Aurangzeb provides an overview of the current state of e-government and SDG implementation in Belgium. Specifically, this paper aims to highlight major challenges that are hindering e-government and SDG implementation as seen by government representatives. Identification of these challenges could aid policymakers and public service strategists in addressing them, thereby removing barriers that are hindering the advancement of e-government and ensuring the optimal and timely implementation of SDG within Belgium.

The paper is the result of research conducted by Vlerick Business School in the scope of a broader R&D project titled FAST (referring to the goal of FAST-tracking e-government deployment). The FAST project was commissioned under the imec.icon research programme. This project was co-funded by imec with project support from Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen.

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