Tuesday 4 August 2009

Digital co-operation of administrations in the EU: New developments [supplemented]

Since nothing happens in the EU, I took a look at some EU Council documents - and I could discover quite interesting details.

Earlier this year, the Czech EU Council presidency proposed the setting up of an "informal virtual discussion forum" for member states' officials as well as Council and Commission staff dealing with the execution of EU-sanctions.

The idea of this mail-based virtual forum is to informally exchange views between the different officials on how they implement EU sanctions. Officials using the forum can ask questions to their colleagues and are free to answer the questions of others when necessary.

(Very interesting to note is that journalist Bruno Waterfield had requested access to the document linked above [there: the 2nd revised version from April] in its 1st revised version from March.)

According to a new, partially public Council document from the end of June, there are one general list and three specialised (but non-operational) fora set up by now, and until the end of the Czech presidency, 72 officials from 18 member states had registered.

In the same Council document, I also discovered CIRCA (Communication & Information Resource Centre Administrator), apparently a virtual tool the Commission has set up a long time ago (which you can see from its design) to allow geographically spread administrators to work together on a wide range of issues.

Yet, it doesn't seem to be that known if the Commission still needs to present it to the member states and if it raises discussions (see Council document) because certain delegations complaine that CIRCA only exists in English.

Both initiatives show that the EU tries to foster inter-administrative co-operation through means of the 21st century (although an email-forum is still quite 20th century style) - it would be interesting to hear how these things are used in practice.


Jon Worth said...

In this, as so much at EU level, I think messages follow means (and not the other way around) - there are plenty of communication channels that national civil servants represented in working groups cooperate - creating a forum (or better still a wiki) might improve matters somewhat, but it's not going to massively change things.