Spain deploys seven standards for technical interoperability

October 27, 2011  |  Europe, Government, Standards

Spain published seven standards as part of its National Interoperability Framework. Such standards are aimed at ‘operational interoperability among public administration authorities, and between the Spanish public authorities and its citizens. Public authorities from all levels must conform to the standards, read: they must use these standards.

A bit of South America in Europe?

The legal basis for the technical interoperability standards is found in the Royal Decree 4/2010 of 8 January 2010 which regulates the National Interoperability Framework (‘Esquema Nacional de Interoperabilidad’ in Spanish).

This law also compels Spanish public authorities from all levels to conform to the standards, read: they must use these standards. As far as we can see, it is not even a matter of ‘comply or explain’. From that perspective it seems like Spain introduced a bit of South America into Europe.

Scope of the current and future standards

The seven standards were officially published last July in the State Gazette cover the following topics:

  • Digitisation of documents
  • Electronic documents
  • Electronic files
  • The public administration’s electronic signature and certificate policy
  • Procedures relating to authentic copies and the conversion of electronic documents
  • Requirements for connecting to the Public Administration network (Red SARA) interconnecting all levels of government in Spain
  • Data models for the exchange of information between public registers

And, even more technical interoperability standards are under way:

  • Catalogue of standards
  • Data intermediation protocols
  • Common data models in the Public Administration
  • Electronic document Management policy
  • Reuse of public sector information


To facilitate the implementation of each of these standards, the Spanish government published guides/user manuals targeted at the public authorities that provide explanations and orientations:

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1 Comment

  1. The ‘Technical Interoperability Standards’ that develop the Spanish National Interoperability Framework should be understood more in the sense of ‘Interoperability Agreements’, concept used in the European Interoperability Framework (EIF).

    These ‘Interoperability Agreements’ describe specific aspects of a wide range of topics such as e-documents, e-files, e-signature policy, catalogue of standards, brokering services, data models, e-document management policy, requirements for the connection to the communications platform of the Spanish Public Administration.

    These topics are wide in scope and it can be seen that the notion of ‘standard’ here is not exactly what is currently understood as a specification coming from official standardization bodies or from ICT industry fora or consortia.

    These ‘Interoperability Agreements’ have been developed with the collaboration and consensus of all Public Administrations in Spain (General State, Regional Governments, Local Entities, Universities, Justice).

    There is more info available in English in:

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