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Case study: Interoperability in the EU services directive implementation

: Breitenstrom, C.; Fromm, J.

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European journal of ePractice. Online journal (2009), Nr.6, S.15-24
ISSN: 1988-625X
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer FOKUS ()
EU services directive; interoperability; identity; federID; prototype; metasystem; simplification; point of single contact; PSC; EU-SD; standardization; identity management

According to the European Services Directive, all member states have to support a genuine market in services by simplifying the communication between competent authorities and businesses by 2010. A so called Point of Single Contact (PSC) is supposed to assist in the complete life cycle of a business. At the same time, service providers should be able to do all their interactions electronically.
The directive is an interesting move to push the member states towards a more cooperative and process-oriented electronic government. However, along with this directive, the governmental institutions at all levels - from local authorities to federal governments - have to cooperate, at least to interact with each other. Therefore one of the major preconditions to meet the overall objectives of the directive is to achieve interoperability between the competent authorities, and between PSCs and authorities.
The Fraunhofer Institute for open communication systems (FOKUS) has been working since 10/2007 on an architectural framework and has built various prototypes to show possible technical configurations to meet the requirements of the EU Services Directive in Germany. The prototypes are not complete production-ready implementations by themselves, but they are useful to discuss further details and to-do's. Current work continues with the incorporation of identity frameworks such as the federID-Open Source Project or the Identity-Metasystem.
With these results in mind, we realize that most of all there is a need for the standardization of Identity and Access Management (IAM) on the political, organizational and semantic levels. Technical interoperability between the EU-SD stakeholders is compulsory, not a feature. An appropriate means to achieve that interoperability and to discuss building blocks in an overall architecture is to create reference implementations based on open source software.