Interoperability among European Union countries grew in 2016 compared to previous years. The “State of Play of Interoperability in Europe – Report 2016” report, drafted by the NIFO (National Interoperability Framework Observatory), states that the degree of alignment with the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) has reached 75%. Among the countries analysed, 23 had reached 50% and 12 of them exceeded 80%.
Although the figure on average is positive, the study notes that there are still great differences between regions. Estonia is the most interoperable country (100%), followed by The Netherlands (99%) and Spain (97%). On the other side of the scale are others such as Ireland (18%), Belgium (32%) or Portugal (41%).
These percentages refer to the total level of alignment with the actions set out by the European Interoperability Framework (EIF), which is divided into 5 main dimensions: the conceptual model, interoperability levels, interoperability agreements and interoperability governance.
Analysed individually, the least developed aspects are the levels of interoperability (64.33%) and interoperability agreements (66,32%). Even so, in all cases there is at least one country that achieves 100%. Another notable figure is that the level of interoperability worldwide has grown by 9% compared to 2015.
The NIFO report also studied the implementation of national interoperability frameworks. In this area, Spain leads the way (100%) with the National Interoperability Scheme. Next up are Denmark (88%), The Netherlands (87%) and Luxembourg (85%). The average is, however, at 56%, although it rose by 12 points compared to the previous year. Of the 26 countries analysed, 16 scored over 50% and 5 were above 80%.
Another aspect assessed in the study was monitoring. In other words, the ability of countries to analyse trends and adapt to changes. In this sense, the states that achieved the highest score were those with their own agencies specifically dedicated to interoperability. This is the case of Austria (100%), Denmark (88%) and Spain (88%).
The Digital Single Market strategy, designed to foment a more technological and interconnected European Union, acknowledges interoperability as a basic prerequisite. Yet the paperless revolution in the different countries has taken place over the years in fragmented form, hampering communication between the businesses and agencies of each state.
To address this problem, the ISA2 programme (Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations) was created, to run from 2016 to 2020. Through this initiative, the European Commission will coordinate and monitor implementation of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF). This action plan is based on a conceptual framework including 4 levels of interoperability and 47 recommendations for Member States.
In addition, the rollout of Directive 2014/55/EU, promoting the use of the European standard and e-procurement by 2018, will be a further definitive impetus for interoperability.