When the Ministry of Digital Governance was established a year ago, its name seemed to refer to the preparation of each country for the changes and challenges brought on by the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the digital transformation of the state. Yet if one were to take a closer look at the content and scope of our portfolio, they would find that, beyond the obvious, there was another goal, and that is to fulfill past priorities.
The mission of the Ministry of Digital Governance has been twofold from the very beginning, but our ultimate goal is just one: to empower citizens and businesses, as well as their relationship with the state. Especially in a country such as a Greece, where there was a substantial backlog of digital loose ends from the past, we had to move swiftly and precisely, implementing an extensive program of reforms and digital transformation, with our work focused on two key areas: streamlining procedures and establishing interoperability.
Our ultimate goal is just one: to empower citizens and businesses, as well as their relationship with the state
As evidenced by all the successful examples, everyone benefits from this policy. However, particularly when it comes to business, where conserving resources and time is a top priority, the benefits have already become apparent and will soon be manifold. Indicatively, our work during the first year includes the following measures that support businesses:
- We launched gov.gr, which offers services for businesses, significantly streamlining interactions with the state. During the pandemic, citizens and businesses were able to access all digital services through a single portal. We have gone from 501 to 584 services in 120 days, while five million website visits and tens of thousands of documents that have been issued digitally prove that Greece is ready to move into the digital age.
- We created the proper organizational infrastructure for Greece to enter the 5G era: we made a series of simplifications in the cell tower regulations, specifically in the legal framework for licensing. This allowed us to encourage the development of an entire ecosystem of innovation around fifth generation networks.
- We designed the Εθνικό Πρόγραμμα Απλούστευσης Διαδικασιών, which has two goals: to record and to simplify the life events of citizens and businesses.
- We implemented the interoperability of the Independent Authority for Public Revenue’s register with municipal registers across the country for non-tax data to allow municipalities access to up-to-date data on individuals as well as corporations.
- We started, through the General Secretariat for Telecommunications and Post at the Ministry of Digital Policy, the competitive dialogue on the Ultra Fast Broadband (UFBB) project.
- We designated the Ministry of Digital Governance as an in intermediary for the “Public Sector Reform” and “Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship, Innovation” operational programs, giving it access to the management and implementation of the NSRF’s operational programs with a total value (until the end of 2023) of €738,697,217.
- Starting in early 2020, tax certificates were made available digitally to all public bodies, meaning that suppliers for the public sector are no longer obligated to submit these documents in person.
- We extended the Superfast Broadband (SFBB) program to businesses allowing them to easily access to the internet at high speeds, with a total subsidy of €360 per connection.
- We established a system of automated offsetting between the central government and suppliers.
We want to make interoperability between state services and records the rule rather than the exception
The above is just the beginning of what we want to accomplish. There will soon be more initiatives from the Ministry of Digital Governance as well as other projects in which the Ministry will participate, the pivotal of which are:
- At the end of the year, there will be a public auction of 5G spectrum. Greece is one of the few countries in which the pandemic only slightly interfered with the relevant timeframe, and this gives us a significant advantage over many other countries.
- Unified digital maps will be drawn up, allowing investors to find out about permissible land use in each area of the country.
To conclude, the key ambition and goal of the Ministry of Digital Governance is to operate in such a way as to make interoperability between state services and records the rule rather than the exception; essentially, what we want is at the end of these four years for a system to be in place that exchanges not information rather than documents. This will contribute to accelerating all procedures, particularly those relating to business activities and the everyday life of citizens.
At the same time, we also want to act as a horizontal organization that not only facilitates the creation of businesses but also allows them to swiftly interact with the state and citizens at all stages of their operations. We have the will, the plan and the tools to achieve all the above. Businesses are a necessary and valuable ally in this endeavor, and we want to stand by them in a mutually beneficial collaboration.