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Digital public services and environments

The Commission is using digital technologies to improve public services and develop smart cities.

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Smart public services, also known as digital public services or eGovernment, refer to the use of technology to provide services to citizens at local, regional and national levels. They bring many opportunities to both citizens and businesses: students can apply to study abroad, citizens can open bank accounts online, and workers can file taxes with the click of a button.

The EU is working to help public administrations across Europe to make the change to digital so all citizens can enjoy the benefits of smart public services during the Digital Decade. It is focusing on reducing barriers to public services and ensuring they are accessible across borders. 

Actions already taken by the Commission include:

  • ensuring European platforms can work together and interact with one another
  • funding large-scale e-participation projects
  • encouraging public services, businesses and citizens to share solutions through the JoinUp platform
  • standardising electronic health records

One key aspect of digital public services is ensuring we have a secure digital identity. Having a digital identity allows us to prove who we are – or what business we own – to online services.

The EU is also supporting the development of smart cities across Europe.

Just like smart public services, smart cities use technology to become more efficient. They do this by using sensors to collect data, and using this data to improve how the city works. For example, smart energy meters help us to see if a building is being heated efficiently. Meanwhile, data collected on transport can help us improve road capacity and reduce the impact on the environment. 

Smart cities also create direct benefits for citizens, such as safer public spaces and support for an ageing population.

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