Entries in the business register, ship certificates or details about procurement processes - the EU collects a lot of data from commercial life. A study conducted by Ernst&Young, a consulting company, estimates that if implemented, the Once-Only Principle would spare companies and organizations work-intensive reporting procedures and reduce administration costs all over Europe by 5 billion euros. An EU-wide research project launched at the beginning of 2017 aims to find out if and how this “Once-Only-Principle” can be implemented for cross-border data gathering and data processing. The e-Governance experts at Danube University Krems are part of the research team. The first results show that national systems would not have to be given up if they meet certain requirements.

Citizens or companies only supply their data to public administrations once. Public bodies share this data with each other and use it in many ways, across sectors and borders, while of course respecting all data protection rules. The “Once-Only-Principle”, or OOP for short, is one of the future perspectives derived from the digitalization strategy for the public sector. According to the European Commission, the objective is to reduce the burdens of administration not only for administrations themselves, but above all for the populace and businesses. The consulting company Ernst & Young identifies enormous cost-saving potential from the OOP. This new data processing method could save Europe five billion euros.

In the meantime, many EU member states have begun implementing the OO Principle in their administrations, including Austria. While progress is good within national borders, cross-border implementation is still faltering. The European Commission is currently focusing its efforts on this obstacle standing in the way of establishing a digital single market in Europe. The same is foreseen by the “eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020”.

Demonstrating the function
Alongside the SCOOP4C project, which focuses on the role of the populace and its contribution to OOP, the TOOP project targets exploring and demonstrating the cross-border exchange of business-related data. The goal is to simplify sharing this type of data, for example entries in business registers, ship certificates or details about procurement processes, to reduce administration costs.

The project, headed by the Tallinn University of Technology, comprises 51 institutions from 21 countries, among them countries outside the European Union such as Turkey or Norway. In Austria, these institutions are the Federal Chancellery, the Ministry of Finance and Danube University Krems as the research partner. Their contribution is managing the research data for the entire project, as well as identifying drivers and hurdles in connection with executing the Once-Only Principle, its long-term implementation, participating in the technical development of the required federal architectures, and rolling it out in pilot projects in Austria.

Following the successful conclusion of the first project year, the architecture’s development stage is hitting the home stretch. Subsequently, by fall, the pilot partners will have implemented the architecture in their national infrastructures, ready to start the actual pilot run.

According to Thomas Lampoltshammer, researcher at Danube University Krems’ Department of eGovernance and Administration, and responsible for the project: “We are currently facing a huge technical and organizational task. The coming months will show whether the intensive work carried out on the architecture, including incorporating the political, legal and technical requirements, has paid off. However, we are optimistic that a successful pilot run in Austria will be an important milestone for the future of the Once-Only Principle in Austria.”

The Project:
The Once-Only Principle Project, Large-Scale Pilot Initiative
Funding budget: 8 million euros
Funding: European Commission
Duration: 2017-2019
Coordinator: Tallinn University of Technology
Project Leader Danube University Krems: Dr. Thomas Lampoltshammer
Website: www.toop.eu

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