Austria takes over presidency of the Council of the European Union
On July 1st 2018, Austria took over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union for the next six months. Taking over from Bulgaria, the Austrian presidency's motto is 'A Europe that protects'. One of their main priorities is to secure prosperity and competitiveness through digitalisation. Digitizing public services through application of the once-only principle is also a goal of the presidency as well as the Austrian government.
The Austrian presidency is part of the Estonia-Bulgaria-Austria trio programme which has set up long-term goals and a common programme in order to ensure smooth transitions between the presidencies. The current trio programme focuses on job growth, empowerment of the European Union, climate change, freedom, security, and justice. Throughout the trio's work, there has also been a strong emphasis on digitalization to grow the Single Digital Market and implement the principles of the EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020.
Within the next six months, the Austrian presidency will focus on security and migration, prosperity and competitiveness through digitalization and stability in the European neighbourhood specifically the EU perspective of the Western Balkans/South Eastern Europe. Focusing on digitalization, Austria wants to finalise the proposed legislation on the establishment of the Single Digital Gateway, continuing the work of the Estonian and Bulgarian presidencies. They deem this dossier to be key in enabling users to reduce the administrative burden within the EU Single Market and provides an important first step towards the implementation of the once-only principle.
Austria itself has made strong process concerning the exploration of once-only solutions. Through FinanzOnline, Austrians can file for their tax returns online and without having to re-enter already known data and the Austrian birth registration and family allowance (ALF) allows for parents of new-born babies to receive family allowance without a bureaucratic application process. Austria therefore already has successfully implemented the once-only principle towards certain public services and can apply this knowledge in their work as they hold the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
For more information:
- Website of the Austrian presidency of the Council of the European Union (www.eu2018.at; accessed 02.07.2018)
- Information on the Trio Programme (Estonia-Bulgaria-Austria, accessed 02.07.2018)
- Link to register to SCOOP4C knowledge base for Austrian and other once-only cases (accessed 02.07.2018)