The European Interoperability Framework (EIF) is a set of recommendations for national governments aimed at making – and keeping – digital public services within the EU interoperable.
The 47 recommendations are also endorsed within the context of the Belgian Interoperability Framework, as a valuable foundation for the definition of architecture, applications and solutions for data exchange and interoperability within and between the federal government and the communities and regions.
1. NIFO alignment
Ensure that national interoperability frameworks and interoperability strategies are aligned with the EIF and, if needed, tailor and extend them to address the national context and needs.
2. Open data
Publish the data you own as open data unless certain restrictions apply.
3. Open source
Ensure a level playing field for open source software and demonstrate active and fair consideration of using open source software, taking into account the total cost of ownership of the solution.
4. Open specifications
Give preference to open specifications, taking due account of the coverage of functional needs, maturity and market support and innovation.
5. External interfaces
Ensure internal visibility and provide external interfaces for European public services.
6. Solution reuse
Reuse and share solutions, and cooperate in the development of joint solutions when implementing European public services.
7. Information reuse
Reuse and share information and data when implementing European public services, unless certain privacy or confidentiality restrictions apply.
8. Technological neutrality
Do not impose any technological solutions on citizens, businesses and other administrations that are technology-specific or disproportionate to their real needs.
9. Data portability
Ensure data portability, namely that data is easily transferable between systems and applications supporting the implementation and evolution of European public services without unjustified restrictions, if legally possible.
10. Multiple channels
Use multiple channels to provide the European public service, to ensure that users can select the channel that best suits their needs.
11. Single Point of Contact
Provide a single point of contact in order to hide internal administrative complexity and facilitate users’ access to European public services.
12. User involvement
Put in place mechanisms to involve users in analysis, design, assessment and further development of European public services.
13. Once-only principle
As far as possible under the legislation in force, ask users of European public services once-only and relevant-only information.
Ensure that all European public services are accessible to all citizens, including persons with disabilities, the elderly and other disadvantaged groups.
15. Privacy framework
Define a common security and privacy framework and establish processes for public services to ensure secure and trustworthy data exchange between public administrations and in interactions with citizens and businesses.
Use information systems and technical architectures that cater for multilingualism when establishing a European public service. Decide on the level of multilingualism support based on the needs of the expected users.
Simplify processes and use digital channels whenever appropriate for the delivery of European public services, to respond promptly and with high quality to users’ requests and reduce the administrative burden on public administrations, businesses and citizens.
18. Long-term preservation
Formulate a long-term preservation policy for information related to European public services and especially for information that is exchanged across borders.
Evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of different interoperability solutions and technological options considering user needs, proportionality and balance between costs and benefits.
20. Holistic governance
Ensure holistic governance of interoperability activities across administrative levels and sectors.
21. Standards process
Put in place processes to select relevant standards and specifications, evaluate them, monitor their implementation, check compliance and test their interoperability.
22. Standards assessment
Use a structured, transparent, objective and common approach to assessing and selecting standards and specifications. Take into account relevant EU recommendations and seek to make the approach consistent across borders.
23. Standards catalogues
Consult relevant catalogues of standards, specifications and guidelines at national and EU level, in accordance with your NIF and relevant DIFs, when procuring and developing ICT solutions.
24. Active participation
Actively participate in standardisation work relevant to your needs to ensure your requirements are met.
25. Governance structure
Ensure interoperability and coordination over time when operating and delivering integrated public services by putting in place the necessary governance structure.
26. Interoperability agreements
Establish interoperability agreements in all layers, complemented by operational agreements and change management procedures.
27. Digital legislation
When drafting legislation to establish a European public service, seek to make it consistent with relevant legislation, perform a ‘digital check’ and consider data protection requirements.
28. Process alignment
Document your business processes using commonly accepted modelling techniques and agree on how these processes should be aligned to deliver a European public service.
29. Organisational relationships
Clarify and formalise your organisational relationships for establishing and operating European public services.
30. Data management
Perceive data and information as a public asset that should be appropriately generated, collected, managed, shared, protected and preserved.
31. Information management strategy
Put in place an information management strategy at the highest possible level to avoid fragmentation and duplication. Management of metadata, master data and reference data should be prioritised.
32. Cross-sectoral communities
Support the establishment of sector-specific and cross-sectoral communities that aim to create open information specifications and encourage relevant communities to share their results on national and European platforms.
33. Open specifications
Use open specifications, where available, to ensure technical interoperability when establishing European public services.
34. Services model
Use the conceptual model for European public services to design new services or reengineer existing ones and reuse, whenever possible, existing service and data components.
35. Loose coupling
Decide on a common scheme for interconnecting loosely coupled service components and put in place and maintain the necessary infrastructure for establishing and maintaining European public services.
36. Shared infrastructure
Develop a shared infrastructure of reusable services and information sources that can be used by all public administrations.
37. Authoritative sources
Make authoritative sources of information available to others while implementing access and control mechanisms to ensure security and privacy in accordance with the relevant legislation.
Develop interfaces with base registries and authoritative sources of information, publish the semantic and technical means and documentation needed for others to connect and reuse available information.
Match each base registry with appropriate metadata including the description of its content, service assurance and responsibilities, the type of master data it keeps, conditions of access and the relevant licences, terminology…
40. Quality assurance
Create and follow data quality assurance plans for base registries and related master data.
41. Open data processes
Establish procedures and processes to integrate the opening of data in your common business processes, working routines, and in the development of new information systems.
42. Machine-readable data
Publish open data in machine-readable, non-proprietary formats. Ensure that open data is accompanied by high quality, machine-readable metadata in non-proprietary formats, including a description of their content and the licence terms under which it is made available.
43. Standardised licenses
Communicate clearly the right to access and reuse open data. The legal regimes for facilitating access and reuse, such as licences, should be standardised as much as possible.
44. Public service catalogues
Put in place catalogues of public services, public data, and interoperability solutions and use common models for describing them.
45. External sources
Where useful and feasible to do so, use external information sources and services while developing European public services.
46. Risk management
Consider the specific security and privacy requirements and identify measures for the provision of each public service according to risk management plans.
47. Trust services