Skip to main content
Shaping Europe’s digital future logo

Smart public services and environments

Smart public services refer to the use of technology to provide services to citizens at local, regional and national level.

iStock by Getty Images - 1146418702 metamorworks

Smart public services refer to the use of technology to provide services to citizens at local, regional and national level.

Smart public services, also referred to as “digital public services” or “eGovernment”, help citizens and businesses in their day-to-day tasks. They offer many opportunities to EU citizens: you can file taxes with the click of a button, open a company, receive a birth certificate, manage bank accounts online or apply to study abroad, as EU-level coordination brings even more benefits, letting us benefit from e-services also across borders in full certainty.

The future of digital public services has huge potential for us, particularly in healthcare. If used correctly, digital public services can help us address challenges such as the increase in chronic diseases and unequal quality and access to care by encouraging exchanges of best practices, empowering citizens with digital tools to monitor health and creating collaborative projects for health research. They can also help us accelerate research into diseases, design personalised medicine, and have a better response to epidemics as health data can be shared safely and securely across the EU.

The EU is working to help local, regional and national public services make the change to digital so we can achieve this potential It coordinates actions, policies and funding at EU level to support public services in their transition. The EU is also focusing on reducing digital barriers to public services so citizens can play a greater role in public life. For example, it is taking action to ensure we can use our electronic identification wherever we are in the EU and fostering the development of user-friendly digital tools

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

Just like smart public services, smart cities use digital 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 monitor a building’s environment, ensuring it is heated efficiently and the ventilation system is optimised. Or, another example, capturing data on transport can help us improve road capacity and environmental friendliness.

Smart cities also create more direct benefits for citizens, such as safer public spaces, and support for an ageing population. A smart city can use data from sensors to detect where pedestrian crossings are needed. Moreover, a smart city can help detect risks related to cognitive impairment or frailty by using smartphones, sensors and the smart city infrastructure to collect data in an unobtrusive manner.

Related Content

Dig deeper

Procurement of ICT innovation

The European Commission supports innovation procurement as a tool to deliver solutions to economic and societal challenges.

Smart Cities and Communities

Smart cities and communities are helping to tackle urban challenges, foster local economies, and meet targets set in the European Green Deal.


The European Commission is working to provide citizens with access to safe and top quality digital services in health and care.

European Open Science Cloud

The European Open Science Cloud is a trusted digital platform for the scientific community, providing seamless access to data and interoperable services.