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Cross Border Digital Services (CBDS) Programme

The CBDS Programme is a strategic initiative from the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) that aims to accelerate the digital transformation of the Nordic-Baltic region. The program will increase mobility and integration across the region through the development and deployment of cross-border digital services. This will benefit citizens, businesses, and public authorities in the region.

    Coming up - the 2023 Seminar on cross-border services!

    A bridge in Iceland
    A bridge in Iceland

    The CBDS Programme invites experts in digital transformation, civil servants, public officials, and interested parties in digitalisation and cross-border mobility to participate at our full day seminar. Throughout this event, we offer you the opportunity to immerse yourself in topical developments in the field, partake in interesting discussions and workshops, and to network with likeminded people from around the Nordic and Baltic region.

    For more information about this event and how to participate, please follow the link below.

    About the Programme

    The CBDS Programme was launched in 2020 by NCM. It supports the vision of making the Nordic-Baltic region the most integrated region in the world by 2030. The program facilitates close co-operation on selected digital services and data exchange between public authorities in region.

    The Building Blocks of the CBDS Programme

    The CBDS Programme contains four building blocks:

    1. Building secure and trusted eID interoperability
    2. Promoting cross-border data-exchange between authorities
    3. Enabling digital services across borders
    4. Open funding mechanism – CBDS Fund

    Nordic-Baltic e-ID – Building secure and trusted e-ID interoperability

    A key component supporting cross-border digitisation, is the use of national electronic identities (e-IDs) by citizens and businesses to gain access to digital services in other countries. The framework for Nordic-Baltic e-ID cooperation is the Nordic-Baltic eID Project (NOBID), which gathers e-ID experts from the whole region.

    The NOBID project is headed by the Norwegian Digitalisation Agency (Digitaliseringsdirektoratet) and aims to deliver legal and technical e-ID interoperability in the region. The project establishes service concepts for digital cross-border exchange of authoritative information for natural persons and legal entities, including semantics and Service Level Agreements (SLAs). NOBID has succeeded in establishing e-ID interoperability between Nordic and Baltic countries and continues the cooperation to ensure compliance with the eIDAS regulation.

    Contact information for the NOBID project:

    Project Manager: Tor Alvik, Norwegian Digitalisation Agency


    Promoting cross-border data-exchange between authorities

    The secure cross-border exchange of both personal and other data is essential for the mobility of citizens and business transactions. To achieve this, the project “Achieving the World’s Smoothest Cross-Border Mobility and Daily Life through Digitalisation” will create a shared model and practices for improving the effectiveness of cross-border data-exchange. During the project period (2021–2023), permanent solutions for cross-border data-exchange and cooperation between authorities will be created.

    The Swedish and Norwegian border

    Contact information for the project

    Project Manager: Anne Kari, Digital and Population Data Services Agency, Finland


    Enabling cross-border digital services

    The CBDS programme focuses on digital services supporting three life events: studying abroad, working abroad, and doing business abroad. Value-adding and beneficial projects related to all these life events are the core of the CBDS programme. Each of these life events will be headed by one lead country. Currently, the life event studying abroad is headed by Finland and managed by the Finnish Agency for Education. Projects for the other two life events are still under consideration.

    Studying abroad

    Student mobility and attracting international students are priority areas for Nordic-Baltic cooperation on education. The CBDS programme aims to enhance this cooperation, strengthen student mobility in the region and increase the attractiveness of the Nordic and Baltic region. It will achieve this by streamlining administrative processes, fostering seamless exchange of student data and by giving students easy access to digital services for education.

    Examples of digital services that this project will support include the submission of initial applications for public tertiary education, requesting academic recognition of diplomas, certificates or other proof of studies or courses, and applying for study grants and loans from public institutions. The project is headed by Finland and managed by the Finnish Agency for Education.

    Contact information for the project

    Project manager: Riikka Rissanen, The Finnish National Agency for Education


    Finalized projects

    Project testing the Single Digital Gateway Once-Only Technical System

    To help both citizens and businesses in cross-border situations, the Single Digital Gateway Regulation (SDGR) calls for full digitalisation of 21 procedures and the establishment of a user-friendly digital gateway that guides users to the services they need. The regulation also calls for establishing Once Only Technical System (OOTS) that will help users submit evidences required in the listed procedures.

    Projectathon, Once only technical system
    European Commission

    To ensure the SDGR’s suitability and functionality with the Nordic and Baltic countries, and to ease the process of implementing its designed architecture at the national level, the Single Digital Gateway (SDG) Once-Only Principle (OOP) Proof of Concept (PoC) Pilots project was established.

    Funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers and ended June 2023, this former CBDS project assembled legal and technical experts from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden.

    Between 2021 - 2023, the project successfully assessed and tested the proposed OOP architecture in the SDGR to which they have proposed recommendation and good practices for exchange of information between the Nordic and Baltic member countries.

    Within the scope if the project, six different PoCs were selected for piloting and testing. These are:

    1. eDelivery Access Point (for the cross-border exchange of evidence)
    2. Identity Matching (what attributes create a solid identity)
    3. Common Services (APIs to test using the common services in the process)
    4. Evidence Request Service (one that can be customised for all the participating countries)
    5. Simulation/test service for Data Service (to ensure data can be exchanged from data services)
    6. Preview Service (simple user interface for evidence preview: one interface customised for each country)

    The project was managed by the Development and Administrative Services Centre (KEHA Centre) in Finland, and while having finished their term, the group of experts continue to meet regularly.

    Regulation (EU) 2018/1724 establishes a Single Digital Gateway in Europe for online administrative processes. This regulation creates the requirement for all EU Member States to enable the automated exchange of evidence in 21 specific cases.

    The goal of the regulation is to help EU citizens and businesses in cross-border situations, and to improve the functioning of the EU internal market. In practise, this will be achieved by providing citizens and businesses an easy access to the information, the procedures and the assistance and problem-solving services they need to use their rights in the EU internal market. The regulation establishes an easy-to-use interactive digital gateway that guides the users to the services they need.

    Contact information for the project

    Project manager: Mervi Kylmänen-Paakki, Development and Administrative Services Centre (KEHA Centre)


    The Open Funding Mechanism

    The Open Funding Mechanism is the Programme's financial tool. Set up in 2021, the OFM supports the realization of cross-border mobility in the Nordic-Baltic region by launching cross-sectoral projects. Such projects are realized through specific call for tenders.

    In April 2023, a call for tenders to award a contract for an analysis on identity matching in the Nordic-Baltic region was launched. For this call, Civitta Eesti and SK ID Solution delivered the winning bid.

    The report resulting from project will identify and describe present national barriers related to identity and record matching, which inhibit the provisioning of online services in the SDGR, and for service provisioning in general.

    Their report will further map the availability of relevant data and provide best-practice suggestions to the overall region as well as national administrations, policy makers, and relevant projects of the Cross Border Digital Services Program on how identity and record matching can be implemented across the Nordic and Baltic countries.

    For general inquiries about the programme or projects in the portfolio

    CBDS Secretariat

    The CBDS secretariat is managed by the Norwegian Digitalisation Agency.

    See also the following relevant programs and organisations