The Ministry of Communications and Information Society (MCSI) and the Iași County Council organized the High Level e-Government Conference on 19 February 2019 at the Palace of Culture in Iași, in the context of Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union (PRESRO 2019).
The High Level e-Government Conference was opened by the Alexandru Petrescu, Minister of Communications and Information Society, Maricel Popa, the President of the County Council of Iasi, and Manuela Catrina, the Secretary of State at MCSI.
“When digitization meets public administrations, both central and local, through optimal compatibility for the benefit of citizens, we practically define the concept of e-Governance. I believe that a well-implemented e-Government represents in practical terms a transparent governance, efficient and effective governance – in short, good governance, which is the desideratum of my mandate“, asserted Alexandru Petrescu in his opening speech.
Over the last decade, public administrations in several EU Member States, but also outside the Union, have accumulated a wealth of knowledge about e-Government. “Estonia, Spain and Portugal, to name just three Member States, all have DESI scores well above average in e-Governance and have been very open to support us. For example, in Romania, we are doing a thorough analysis of the legal framework for public services in order to modernize it in line with 2020 standards, thus allowing e-Governance without problems. As part of this ongoing effort, we have been very lucky to cooperate with our colleagues from Spain for what has proven to be a very productive experience exchange. We hope this will materialize in the review of legislation and new digitization projects“, stated Minister Alexandru Petrescu.
Alexandru Petrescu noted that, besides the activity of the EU and Member States’ bodies, other international initiatives were also closely scrutinized. “As such, we have made efforts to deepen our collaboration with Digital 9 countries. As for Digital 9, I would personally want to see Romania as a contributing member. Starting with last year, the group has nine members, as the new name suggests, three of which are EU member states: the UK – a true e-Government pioneer, with their GOV.UK platform, alongside Estonia, with the X-ROADS, and, more recently, Portugal. This puts us in a good position to ensure an effective transfer of knowledge and exchange of experiences that we intend to fully follow soon”, the minister said.
Alexandru Petrescu also asserted that part of Digital 9 are two countries with which Romania’s collaboration has improved a lot in recent years: Israel and the Republic of Korea.
The High Level e-Government Conference has occasioned the debate on important issues, ways to improve and develop, and to enhance European cooperation in this area.
E-Governance can stimulate innovation and growth mainly in the economic field by providing guidelines and platforms for private services, while reducing bureaucracy for all European citizens. Also, e-Government is increasingly being used to improve transparency in the administrative system and to connect communities through digital interaction.
The first important event in the PRESRO 2019 digital agenda, the meeting in Iasi, with the participation of representatives from over 13 countries, was a good opportunity to analyze the latest European achievements in e-Government, as well as the ways in which the quality and efficiency of administrative processes and public services can be improved, and to promote cooperation between the political, administrative, civil society and European citizens through information technology.
The conference was structured on three key topics: Connected Communities, Mobile Governance & Digital Interaction and Resilient Communities, and debated at expert level on the benefits and importance of the concept of e-Government at EU level.
The choice of Iasi for the organization of this great event was not accidental, the urban center being one of the oldest cities in Romania, the capital and heart of the historical region of Moldova, an important historical, cultural, religious and business center, which along the of time, had an important contribution to the development of Romania.