The European Interoperability Framework defines interoperability layers.

For each of these layers it defines a number of Interoperability principles and recommendations for European public services.

The EIF interoperability model is applicable to all digital public services and may also be considered as an integral element of the interoperability-by-design paradigm. It includes:

  • four layers of interoperability: legal, organisational, semantic and technical;
  • a cross-cutting component of the four layers, ‘integrated public service governance’;
  • a background layer, ‘interoperability governance’.

The model is depicted below:


Here is more detail about each of the EIF interoperability layers and the related recommendations:

Layer or cross-cutting component Related recommendation(s)
Interoperability governance (background layer) #eif20 - Holistic governance of interoperability activities across administrative levels and sectors
#eif21 - Processes to select standards and specifications
#eif22 - A common approach to selecting standards and specifications
#eif23 - Consult catalogues of standards, specifications and guidelines
#eif24 - Participate in standardisation work relevant to your needs
Integrated public service governance (cross-cutting component) #eif25 - Ensure interoperability and coordination by putting in place a governance structure
#eif26 - Establish interoperability agreements in all layers
Legal interoperability #eif27 - Ensure that legislation is screened by means of interoperability & digital checks
Organisational interoperability #eif28 - Document business processes and agree on how processes should be aligned
#eif29 - Clarify and formalise organisational relationships for establishing and operating public services
Semantic interoperability #eif30 - Perceive data and information as a public asset
#eif31 - Put in place an information management strategy to avoid fragmentation and duplication
#eif32 - Support and encourage sector-specific and cross-sectoral communities for open information specifications
Technical interoperability #eif33 - Use open specifications, where available, to ensure technical interoperability when establishing public services

Source: European Interoperability Framework - Promoting seamless services and data flows for European public administrations, COM(2017)134, 23 March 2017, url (Available in the languages of the EU Member States)