“Europe without paper?” The online edition of the Huffington Post recently asked this question and gave some examples that prove: Europe will never make it without paper, simply because the use of raw materials belongs to our cultural heritage. Less paper? Yes, that could be something.
Europe-wide digitising initiatives
The article delivers heaps of evidence. For example in Germany, where administrative and branch initiatives, such as “Digital Government 2020,” the electronic invoice, “Digital Agenda” and development of the e-government approach, are among the driving forces.
The Post also cites Great Britain, where the health and judicial system will be digitised by 2018, and Poland, which wants to cross the finish line already in 2017 with similar projects. According to the article, France is introducing the pharmaceutical act “Dossier Pharmaceutique” and at the same time is pushing the initiative “France Numérique 2012” to digitise the administration. And Italy – with remarkable resources – is pressing ahead with e-invoicing, which was reported here in the EASY Blog earlier this year.
Tempo, Tempo, Tempo
Presumably, several such examples could be found if one were to look more closely at individual European countries. This is hardly surprising; after all, the technological prerequisites have long been available on the software side, even though the hardware side – keyword infrastructure development – still has some way to go almost everywhere in Europe. Accordingly, the EU is active in the field.
Irony of history: to a large extent, administrative departments are trying to eliminate paper. Paper – according to common consensus – was invented by a Chinese official. Around 105 A.D. Cai Lun described the basic production process that still exists today. He was active, for the sake of completeness, in the department of instruments and weapons production at the Chinese imperial court.
Europe very capable of acting
But apart from this historical side note, it can be stated that in times when the theme of Europe is temporarily reduced to the intensified crisis in Greece, it is good to reiterate for a change: Europe doesn’t just regulate the curvature of cucumbers. It also deals with sensible subjects and is advancing the economy and society. This is encouraging for the future.