Greece set to present its Digital Strategy Plan by end of 2019

Greece set to present its Digital Strategy Plan by end of 2019

The Greek Ministry of Digital Governance has stated, on the 3rd September 2019, that its Digital Strategy Plan will be ready by end of 2019 (https://www.stockwatch.com.cy/el/article/elliniki-oikonomia/olo-shedio-psifiakis-stratigikis-tis-kyvernisis).

Greece sets an ambitious goal of reaching EU average in the Digital Economy & Society Index (DESI) over the next four years. This will be done by a new model of IT implementation in the public sector, as well as initiatives at the level of administrative redeployment.

This is an objective that the Minister of Digital Governance, Mr. Kyriakos Pierrakakis and his associates believe can be achieved, not only through big and complex technology projects, but also through initiatives to enhance interoperability in public technological systems as well as institutional or other interventions that will change administrative processes.

It is important to note that the Committee of Experts will also undertake a role in the new design, involving Greek and foreign digital governance experts, and its recommendation will be provided in the forthcoming Ministry of Development bill. One of the members of the panel will be former Estonian President, Mr. Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who successfully turned his country into the most advanced digital society in the world during his term in office (https://greece.greekreporter.com/2019/09/03/estonian-president-who-digitized-his-country-appointed-adviser-to-greek-government/).

The new design will be based on the Digital Transformation “Bible”, a task undertaken by the Deputy Minister of Digital Governance, Mr. Gregory Zarifopoulos, who left Google to take a government post.

As the competent executives point out, “it will not be brainstorming but a tool for implementation. It will reflect today’s needs, where we are today and where we should be, at the level of action and with a specific timetable for implementation”. This Digital Transformation “Bible” needs as much help as possible from international consultants, an international network for access to good practices, as well as access to companies that might want to participate in the projects” (https://www.stockwatch.com.cy/el/article/elliniki-oikonomia/olo-shedio-psifiakis-stratigikis-tis-kyvernisis).

The so-called “Bible” will be ready by the end of the year, so that by the beginning of 2020, the proclamations of specific major projects can be made. In the meantime, institutional or other interventions, at the level of administrative procedures, will be implemented, so as to have immediate results in the citizen’s daily contact with public services.

The role of coordinating the effort to simplify and substantially redesign administrative procedures has been assumed by Deputy Minister for Process Simplification, Mr. George Georgandas. One of the challenges that Mr. Georgandas currently faces is the interoperability between various state-of-the-art technology systems, in order to prevent the citizen running from one institution to another.

Mr. Pierrakakis has recently argued in Parliament that “we have not come up with a philosophy of canceling what has been done to date, but to build on them” (https://www.stockwatch.com.cy/el/article/elliniki-oikonomia/olo-shedio-psifiakis-stratigikis-tis-kyvernisis).

Among the ongoing competitions, however, is the EUR 870 million project for Ultra-Fast Broadband, through which approximately 2.5 million citizens, who are not included in today’s telecommunications providers’ plans, will acquire access to next generation telecommunications networks, with speeds of at least 100 Mbps, upgradable to 1 Gbps. The event of interest, in order to launch the competitive consultation, is set for 22nd October 2019.

The above-mentioned project is under the responsibility of the General Secretariat for Telecommunications and Post, Mr. Antonis Tzortzakakis, who will also coordinate the effort to develop 5G mobile telephony networks. The aim is to launch the spectrum competition towards the end of 2020.

On a final note, after the meeting between the Minister of Digital Governance, Mr. Pierrakakis and the visiting US Commerce Secretary, Mr. Wilbur Ross, on the 5th September 2019, the former declared that the talks also focused on issues related to Greece’s “digital transformation” as well as the conservative administration’s telecommunications strategy (http://www.ekathimerini.com/244257/article/ekathimerini/news/pierrakakis-meets-us-commerce-secretary-in-athens).