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CEE e-Dem and e-Gov Days 2017

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CEE e-Dem and e-Gov Days have been held for the fourth time at the National University of Public Service in 2017. This year’s conference – under the title of „Digital Divide” – was organised in cooperation with Andrássy Universität Budapest and the University of Public Administration and Finance Ludwigsburg.

Prof. Dr. András Nemeslaki, head of the Institute of E-Government at the Faculty of Political Sciences and Public Administration opened the two-day-long conference, and greeted the participants. He explained that among others the conference covers such interesting topics such as social media, and the effect, ICT’s role in knowledge development, and digital solutions in public service.

Prof. Dr. András Patyi, rector of NUPS, talked about how important communication and IT technologies are nowadays, and that they help the spread of democracy too. The rector underlined that NUPS is a “university of cooperation” with more than one hundred international partners worldwide.

The following presenter, Wolfgang Ernst, rector of the University of Public Administration and Finance, presented his institution while also explaining that in their part-time and fulltime programs they place great emphasis on practical education and continuous development. Familiarizing students with digital services and the latest technology is a key part of this process.

As a representative of Andrássy Universität Budapest, Prof. Dr. Hendrik Hansen greeted the participants next. He explained that Andrássy Universität serves as a bridge between Hungary and other higher education institutions in Eastern and Southeast Europe where German is the language of education.  Dr. Hansen emphasised that one of the aims of the event is to showcase and discuss the widespread use of digital technologies, to learn and evolve together.

Keynote speeches were held by Wolfgang Gerstl from Austria and Dusan Stojanovic from Serbia. Mr. Gerstl, who is responsible for scientific affairs in the Austrian Parliament (der Nationalrat) stressed the danger of fake news, which is considered a by-product of the “new media”. In the Austrian Parliament they consider it really important to use digital publications, and they made an online platform on the website of the Nationalrat, that is accessible to anybody, and now they are working on the introduction of a digital ID.

He told the audience that the biggest problem with such electronic platforms is, that probably it is going to be used by people already devoted to innovation. They would like to persuade more people to use these services, and even though it is a slow process, the steps are right. Modern information technology is an opportunity and jeopardy at the same time, and we have to take responsibility to ensure that this tool is used for the sake of democracy.

Dusan Stojanovic, director of E-Governance at the Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government in Serbia talked about the state of electronic services in his country. His country is rather high up on a recent EU survey’s list as far as e-service usage is concerned, but there are still many things to do. Only 15% of Serbia’s population uses such services. Their most successful introduction so far has been the online application for kindergarten registration, which has surpassed the traditional application method. Stojanovic think that in the future traditional and electronic methods will be used simultaneously. The greatest requirements are speed, good communication and being up-to-date.

During the two-day-long event experts of the field are discussing current issues. The subjects covered include data protection, and e-democracy’s legal, social and economic aspect.