The CEF teams visits Greece to discuss eIDAS and the CEF building blocks

This week the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Digital team visited Athens to deliver an information session on the eIDAS regulation and showed how – in conjunction with the CEF building blocks – public administrations can build user centric digital public services for citizens and businesses.

The CEF team was met by Nectarios Koziris, Dean of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, who had organised the session and assembled participants from across academia, industry, startups and different levels of the Greek public administration. Mr Koziris opening remarks highlighted the importance of building communities of people interested in working together for the public good.

Athens, an inclusive Smart City

The session began with an opening speech from Konstantinos Champidis, Chief Digital Officer for the city of Athens who explained that Athens was determined to ensure the city would leave no one behind in their journey to become an inclusive smart city. There are many projects on-going ranging from large scale infrastructure projects to ensure everyone has access to fast broadband to digital skills training with a focus on the elderly, the unemployed and refugees.

Mr Champidis insisted that collaboration between all relevant stakeholders was key to delivering digital transformation the public sector. In 2017 Athens formed the Digital Council and invited professors and top ten IT companies to discuss how they can work together to move things forward.

How can eIDAS help government’s digital transformation?

At the heart of the digital transformation of public administrations is the shift from paper based public services to digital public services.

The transition to digital services brings with it new challenges. How can we ensure that citizens, businesses and public administrations can securely identify themselves and complete transactions online?

The eIDAS Regulation defines a legal framework that ensures a digital version of a service has the same legal validity as as traditional paper based process.

How do the CEF building blocks speed up government digital transformation?

Public administrations use the CEF building blocks to ensure they can implement the legal framework into their digital services as the building blocks are based on open European standards that ensure trust, security and cross-border capabilities can are built into your digital services.

This means that citizens, businesses and public administrations can benefit from the convenience of a digital service and make the most of the opportunities the digital single market has to offer.

What are some of the most obvious services the CEF building blocks can help deliver?

  • Submitting tax declarations
  • Enrolling in a foreign university
  • Remotely opening a bank account
  • Setting up a business in another Member State
  • Authenticating an online payment
  • Bidding to online call for tender

These are examples of digital public services that public administrations can design and deliver to meet the vision laid out in the Tallinn declaration.

What is the Tallinn declaration?

In 2017, Member States signed the Tallinn declaration where they committed to working together to deliver high quality, user-centric digital public services for citizens and seamless cross-border public services for businesses.

What’s next for Greece?

The session generated lots of ideas, including how eTranslation could be used to translate digital public services for the many tourists that visit Greece. One of the start-ups in attendance suggested that they had already been analysing how the the context broker could support a smart agriculture project they are working on in partnership with the public authorities.

Are you interested in a CEF building blocks workshop?

The energy, pragmatism and emphasis on collaboration between public and private sector to improve public services for all citizens of Greece was clear for everyone in attendance. The presentations on eIDAS, the CEF building blocks and how projects can apply for grants via INEA was welcome on the day. This is just the first step, we hope that in the near future, we’ll see lots of Connecting Europe success stories coming from Greece.

If you are interested in setting up a Member State workshop, please contact us.


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