France outlines plans for electronic administration

The French government has unveiled a four-year plan to put more national and local government services online.

Project Administration Electronique (ADELE), announced Monday, aims to simplify, secure and speed up citizens’ interactions with local authorities, national government departments, and other public bodies dealing with health and social security by coordinating and linking together the online activities of these organizations.

From 2006, the electronic infrastructure supporting the nationwide health insurance smart card system will be upgraded so that the French can securely authenticate their identity online. At the same time, an electronic version of the French national identity card will be introduced, based on a common standard. Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin announced the project Monday during a morning visit to a family benefits office in the city of Lyon, one of the government departments that will benefit from the project.

The goal of the project is to simplify life for French citizens, putting an end to the “paper tax,” or the need to take a half day off work to deal with simple administrative matters in person, Raffarin said, according to a transcript of his speech released by his office.

Although French citizens will still be able to visit government offices to deal with administrative formalities, they will have incentives for doing some things online. Next year, for example, the French will be offered a tax credit of

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