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EU may tap blockchain to overhaul bureaucracy throughout 27-nation bloc

EU may tap blockchain to overhaul bureaucracy throughout 27-nation bloc
Regulation
The European Commission, under President Ursula von der Leyen, plans to revamp the EU's administration. Credit: OLIVIER HOSLET/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
  • European Commission report says digitalisation effort may tap blockchain.
  • Overhaul would cover administrations at local, national, and regional levels accounting for half of the EU's GDP.

The European Commission may use blockchain technology to overhaul the bloc’s bureaucracy throughout the 27-nation bloc, according to a report released on Wednesday.

“Public administrations need to adopt digital technologies while changing the way in which they operate,” the commission’s report said.

To be sure, nothing has yet been decided, and blockchain is just one of many digital technologies that may be employed in the revamp.

Yet starting in the first quarter of 2024, the European Commission plans to “promote the sustainable and effective use of emerging technologies” such as distributed ledger technologies, the report said.

Streamlining administration

The European public sector – which local, national and EU administrations manage – accounted for just over half of the union’s GDP in 2021.

Now, the EU’s executive arm wants to streamline administrations’ efficiencies to attract more business as well as to manage crises like the Covid-19 pandemic.

The EU has set aside €11.2 billion for “digital services and digitalisation of business and public administrations” from its Cohesion Policy pot of funds, which helps the EU reach its 2021 to 2027 set goals like improving mobility, meeting climate targets, plus digitalisation.

That coming out of the fund’s €39 billion budget saved for the EU’s broader digital transition objective.

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Digitalisation goals include preparing for EU citizens to hold a digital identity wallet, or an app that would store their admin data.

Digital agenda

Member states will also be encouraged to join so-called European Digital Infrastructure Consortia, or political bodies made up EU countries that are specialised in pushing forward the bloc’s digital agenda, the report said.

“We’re now in the process of finalising an EU-wide blockchain service infrastructure which will be under the responsibility of public authorities as conveners that will bring together the blockchain communities,” Pearse O’Donohue, director for the future networks at the European Commission’s department for communications networks, content and technology, told an event in Brussels last month.

There are nine member states committed to the blockchain consortium led by Belgium, O’Donohue said at the time.

Inbar Preiss, DL News’ Brussels correspondent, covers crypto regulation and policy. Have a tip? Contact her at inbar@dlnews.com.