On Wed, 29th of Jan 2014, the OpenPEPPOL community met in Brussels, Rue Joseph II, EFTA building. The General Assembly was planned for the afternoon, and during the morning there were two parallel sessions. One covering the Pre-Award and e-Signature Coordination Communities, and the other covering the Post-Award and Transport Infrastructure.

Morning session – Pre-Award & e-Signature CC

I arrived late from Barcelona. Flying to Brussels, even if you wake up at 5:00 a.m., means landing around 9. However, if you start flying in circles over Brussels, you can get to the meeting venue around 11. This is what happened.

When I arrived, I decided to join the Pre-Award and e-Signature track. The pre-award is where the new challenges are, post-award is stable and being adopted in many countries.

There are lots of initiatives around pre-award in Europe, align them all together is one of the challenges that will have to be assumed by OpenPEPPOL and all the other communities/projects working on these business processes:

  • New Directives on Public Procurement and on e-Invoicing in Public Procurement
  • CEN BII3
  • e-SENS pilot project
  • Official Journal
  • XVergabe

Discussions referred to whether the OpenPEPPOL community should create a new BIS or just use the ones created by CEN BII. There were different views on this topic. It was said that there are always decisions to be made when you start using CEN BII with an specific syntax like UBL. Besides, the creation of a BIS allows a different community to analyze the CEN BII profiles when implementing them, and providing this feedback to the CEN Workshop. In this way, there is a good relationship between the theoretical, standardization work and the pragmatic, real implementation of these standards, and this has worked well in the post-award community.

There are also e-Tendering pilots to be implemented in the e-SENS pilot project. There were comments on whether the BIS should be created by someone close to the implementation of the CEN BII, and that maybe this should be e-SENS instead of OpenPEPPOL. The scope of the e-SENS pilots was explained and the option seems to be developing the pilot as a contribution from OpenPEPPOL to e-SENS.

Regarding the e-Signature, there is the willingness to move the CC forward. Jon Olnes and Thierry Amadieu explained the plans for the CC. The need for signature of tenders, attestations and VCD as a requirement in most Member States, even if this is not mandated in the Directives, makes the cross border validation of digital signatures a requirement and the main motivation for this work in OpenPEPPOL.

During the presentation, they explained the existing consolidated network of validation service providers in Europe and the initiatives on governance and infrastructure agreements. The Validation Service Architecture has 6 nodes in 6 different countries and have common interfaces from service providers to federated validation services.

5th General Assembly

André Hoddevick started the 5th General Assembly after lunch. There were 58 of 93 members present or represented so there was enough quorum. André welcomed the members, explained the primary purpose of the AISBL and listed the most important achievements in 2013.

After that, Lefteris explained the governance procedures for OpenPEPPOL and the internal regulations and then the 2013 accounts were presented to the Assembly.

There was an strategic vision for the future slot that was used by André to explain the different initiatives in Europe, the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), to be approved in April by the EU Parliament and the new directives on public procurement and einvoicing in public procurement.

The vision is that CEF will provide funding and the new directives will provide the new legal environment allowing the electronic public procurement to grow in Europe.

OpenPEPPOL has to get more PEPPOL authorities on board and include new domains and industries. There are three interested countries in becoming PEPPOL Authority: Netherlands, Poland and Italy. And I hope more to come.

There was an interesting discussion on the new vision for PEPPOL:

  • PEPPOL as THE de-facto network for electronic public procurement in Europe, or
  • PEPPOL as the de-facto network  for business document exchange in Europe, or
  • PEPPOL as the de-facto network  for business document exchange globally

After the discussion on the strategic steps of OpenPEPPOL, the budget and Operational Plan for 2014 was presented. Finally the responsible for each CC presented the report of the work done during the year.

The transport infrastructure TICC will work on the inclusion of industry sectors and communities. Provide testing services (such as the test PKI), SML operation and migration to AS2 in the technical side. They also need to engage with the e-SENS project.

The post-award PoCC main objectives are to provide feedback to CEN BII3 and align with e-SENS.

The final part of the General Assembly was devoted to the elections of new members for  the Managing Committee. As per advice from the Managing Committee  two new members were to be elected. One representing government organizations and the other service providers.

The candidates were:

  1. Scott Bell (Scottish Government) as representative of government organizations and end users
  2. Edmund Gray (IT Sligo), as representative of government organizations and end users.
  3. Tim McGrath (Tradeshift) as representative of Service Providers
  4. Niels Pagh-Rasmussen (IBM) as representative of Service Providers
  5. Mikael Ylijoki (Basware) as representative of Service Providers

Scott and Niels were the selected candidates, and became new members of the Managing Committee. Congratulations!

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