eGovernment in times of economic challenges
The Centre for eGovernance Development in Ljubljana and the Austrian Computer Society in Vienna have co-organised the 9th Eastern European eGov Days on "eGovernment in Times of Economic Challenges”.
This year, the conference looked at how public sector views IT applications from a range of different perspectives. The conference made it clear that the economic crisis has made a crucial impact on how eGovernment is perceived in Europe today. Stakeholders view it through the lens of the two priority goals facing impoverished governments in Europe today: performance efficiency and effectiveness of the public sector in delivering high quality services. Government representatives, public administration officials and public sector representatives all recognised the importance of ICT in not only saving costs, but also restoring trust in the institutions by providing tools to encourage greater transparency and participation, providing greater data access, embracing civil society, and improving international cooperation.
The interesting and innovative eGovernment initiatives discussed in this symposium provided a better understanding of particular issues related to eGovernment and offered lessons that can be applied to eGovernment efforts around Europe. Throughout the conference it became apparent that whilst facing many challenges as it continues to develop, eGovernment in Europe continues to be very successful in assisting governments to successfully address the profound challenges they currently face; eGovernment improves public sector efficiencies and regulation and may contribute to economic recovery.
The event was opened by a welcome address by Tina Teržan, Secretary of State to the Slovenian Ministry of Public Administration, Niko Schlamberger, President of the Slovenian Computer Society, Jelica Minic, Deputy Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council and Blaž Golob, Chairman of the Centre for eGovernance Development. Discussions covered topics such as eGovernment/eAdministration and eJustice, eHealth, Electronic Citizen Participation, eEducation, Information Society and Narrowing Digital Divide followed.
Over the years, the annual Eastern European eGov Days have become a recognized platform for dialog and knowledge transfer between Western and Eastern European countries. The event traditionally brings together hundreds of professionals from both private and public sectors with competitive paper presentations and inspiring panel discussions.
The two organizing countries, of course, took center stage. For Slovenia, like for other EU countries, eGovernment
is one of the features of the modern face of public administration. The Slovene eGovernment has established an efficient and reliable information and telecommunications infrastructure for electronic services for citizens, businesses, other legal entities and public employees. Slovenia is committed to the principle of one-stop shops: all the information and public administration services are assembled in a single eGovernment portal. Austria has made great progress in e-government development during the last few years and has particularly raised its position in international eGovernment benchmarks. Austria’s leading role in the area of identity management was also stressed. The success of eGovernment is attributed by Austrian officials to a number of pillars: a clear legal basis (eGovernment Act) and institutional framework, cooperation between all layers of government (joint e-government), attention for security
and data protection
, reorganization of back and front-office processes, and close cooperation with research centers.
Invited participants and speakers included high level government representatives, public administration officials, public sector representatives from SEE countries, research and academia representatives, business representatives (IT sector and insurance companies) and NGO representatives from SEE.