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Successful Conclusion of the Major Event of the Ministry of Public Administration during the Slovenian EU Presidency

»E-Government Days«, organized by the Slovenian presidency of the EU and the European Commission which began on Monday, were concluded today at Brdo pri Kranju. It is the major event of the ministry during the presidency of Slovenia to the EU Council. At the same time, e-Government was the highlight theme of the Slovenian presidency. It was also the major European event this year in the field of public administration, since e-Government is vital for developing a high-quality public administration. It also constitutes one of the basic elements of a competitive economy, which is the objective of the European Union, namely to become the most competitive economy worldwide. The conference »e-Government Days« which was attended by over 300 participants from the EU Member States, focused on the operation of e-Government at the level of EU Member States, and the interoperability of e-governments or the provision of services across the EU Member States. With this event Slovenia proved that, as a presiding state, it can largely contribute to a further development of e-Government within the EU. With the examples of its own good practice it can also stimulate and invite other Member States to develop high quality in their public administrations, as well.

Following the opening projection of e-Government in the space as a sphere of unlimited possibilities, »e-Government Days« were opened by Dušan Kričej, Deputy Director General of DG for e-Government and Administrative Processes at the Ministry of Public Administration. In his opening speech, he presented the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency in the field of e-Government (interoperability, e-cooperation, e-inclusion, and removal of administrative barriers), and some practical achievements, including the contribution of the Slovenian e-Government. He turned the attention of the audience towards users who should be placed at the heart of all procedures, therefore the real alliance with users is extremely important. The focus of the first conference organized on Monday by the Slovenian presidency with the title »Alliance with Users« was on the relationship between the public administration and users. In the opening session, the participants were addressed by Minister of Public Administration Dr Gregor Virant who stressed that e-Government can improve the satisfaction of users, facilitate access to services, increase efficiency, lower the costs and enhance transparency, and speed up access to public information. He expressed his pride over the fact that the Slovenia e-Government is achieving great results which was proven also by the second place (shared with Malta) according to the EC measurements of the level of e-Government services. E-Government is an important part of simplifying unnecessary bureaucratic procedures. Dr Virant stressed the role of the project for removing administrative barriers which is also the commitment of the European Union. A good example of good practice is Slovenia which efficiently removes barriers in the existing regulations, preventing their occurrence in the first place. The Minister also presented the eVEM project for commercial companies, which allows the founder to perform all the necessary procedures at one place, in no time, without filling forms, and completely free of charge in case of a sole-partner limited liability companies. At the end the Minister stressed that these services have to have a great impact on users (both the companies and the citizens), they have to be user-friendly and simple, and above all, they have to satisfy the customers.

Antti Peltomäki, Deputy Director General at the European Commission from DG Information Society and Media stressed in the introductory speech that in the field of e-Government, Member States have made a huge progress, and the quality of services has also been improved. Nevertheless, he estimates that some great challenges are still there, especially the implementation of the Services Directive, in particular Article 8 which stipulates that Member States should allow service providers to perform all the necessary procedures electronically.

»E-Government Days« were attended by Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of administrative affairs, audit and fight against fraud. At the press conference he stressed that beside free flow of goods, capital and persons, the European Union also needs a free flow of electronic services. In this context he stressed the problems with mutual recognition of digital identity and electronic signature. He also mentioned the possibility of easier access of companies to public tenders in other Member States which should increase the competitiveness of these tenders. Vice-President of the European Commission also stressed that on the one hand, the e-Government sphere is an exclusively national issue where the EU has no mandate to impose regulation, while on the other it is becoming more and more clear that the cooperation of Member States in the field of e-Government is extremely important for the modernization of public administration and strengthening the competitiveness of the EU Kallas added.

Within the framework of the conference »Alliance with Users« several papers were presented with practical examples connected with e-Government, like the removal of administrative barriers, e-public procurement, the future of e-Government, financial perspective of the e-Government sphere, and the Centre for e-Governance Development for South-eastern Europe. From the Slovenian side Ms Tea Batagelj from the Ministry of Public Administration successfully presented an example of interoperability: »Establishment of a Company at Any Time from Any Place – Reality or Fiction?«. Some interactive demonstrations of good practices were also presented, among other the »Interoperability in Pan-European Pilot Project«. An Estonian citizen entered his data into the population register and received the identification number which he then used for registering a temporary residence and establishing a limited liability company. A large part of this presentation was practical, while the second part was carried out in a pilot method, since certain law amendments still had to be carried out in some Member States. The conference »Alliance with Users« was concluded with the Knowledge Transfer Section led by State Secretary at the Ministry of Public Administration Mag. Roman Rep who, together with Dr Davorka Šel and Domen Bizjak from the same ministry, presented resumes of this very successful conference and stressed the role of the recently established Centre for e-Governance Development for South-eastern Europe.

The conference »e-Government Services: IDABC and Beyond« within the framework of »e-Government Days« which started on Tuesday and was organized by the European Commission, was devoted to the EC programme IDABC which supports the operation and interoperability of e-Government services in Europe. In the opening speech the Minister stressed among other things that »even before taking over the presidency, Slovenia promised to make a big step ahead in this field within the European Commission Programme IDABC; that is, to develop the first actually operational pan-European services. »We have decided to choose two important services - the registration of a temporary residence for foreign persons, and the establishment of limited liability companies with sole partner«. As regards interoperability of e-Governments, Dr Virant mentioned the pilot project which Slovenia prepared inviting all the EU Member States to join. The countries which responded were Austria, Estonia, Finland and Portugal. These five states are developing the first actually operational pan-European services, including the registration of a temporary residence for foreigners and the establishment of limited liability companies with sole partner. According to Virant, the core of this project is mutual recognition of digital certificate which allows individuals to carry out public administration services in other Member States.

He reminded the audience about the implementation of pilot project at the first conference – live demonstration when an Estonian citizen entered his data in the population register and based on these data received identification number which he then used for registering a temporary residence and establishing a limited liability company. The Minister added that »we deliberately entered this project with the countries which were prepared for it, because we think that this will launch the snowball effect - once this possibility is introduced in most developed countries, others will also become interested in joining the project. Consequently, this will speed up the progress of the IDABC project«.

The IDABC conference and, consequently, the »e-Government Days« were concluded by Francisco García Morán, Director General of DIGIT (DG Informatics) at the European Commission. In yesterday’s initial part of the conference he pointed out that IDABC has been and will remain one of the most important instruments of the European Commission for establishing the e-Government at the EU level and also in connection with e-governments of Member States. He added that the European Commission is committed to amend the legislation on interoperability among states and the removal of unnecessary (electronic) barriers. In addition, one of the projects of IT Directorate is also the establishment of the »e-European Commission« with the purpose to increase its efficiency and transparency.


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Date: 20.02.2008