Brussels, 1 February 2006
Vice-President Siim Kallas is undergoing a three-day visit to Portugal dedicated to the crucial role of ICT in the achievement of the Lisbon goals, a few days after the Commission adopted its contribution on the revised Lisbon strategy to the Spring European Council
During his visit, Commissioner Kallas reiterated the importance of the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in this field for both the private and the public sectors. He reaffirmed the commitment of the Commission to lead by example by applying to its own administration the European e-government policy that member states adopted within the i2010 strategy. In-depth discussions on the issues of transparency, security and interoperability in relation to e-government practices were held in a meeting with Eastern European ministers as well as with the ministers of ICT and education of the 25 member states, during the Microsoft Global Leaders Forum session, and in a meeting with Bill Gates, President of Microsoft.
This visit constituted a good opportunity to exchange views with ministers of ICT and education on e-government initiatives promoted by member states, following up on discussions held at the ministerial e-Government conference in Manchester last November.
Vice-President Siim Kallas presented initiatives taken by the Commission in promoting the use of ICT within its own house in line with the Lisbon strategy, and in particular, the adoption of a new strategic framework for 2006-2010 to step up its e-government maturity and provide better service to customers and business, the setting up of a political sponsorship inside the Commission’s for a “e-college” prototype, with the accent put on staff culture so as to ensure commitment from base to top.
The role of ICT in ensuring trust and strengthening transparency was further stressed by Siim Kallas during the Microsoft Global Leaders Forum : “Making information more accessible is where ICT can really help. E-administration is about communicating with citizens through all possible channels so as to ensure inclusion and to provide services to simplify and improve their own life. This a critical success factor to build trust in our democratic system“.
Much has already been already done; the Europa site receives over 11.000.000 visits per month. A lot of specific information is supplied to businesses and citizens, e.g. statistical information; customs tariff codes or validation of VAT numbers. The web site “Your voice in Europe” allows for listening to the opinion of citizens and businesses on the Commission’s different policies. More will be done, for instance in the field of end beneficiaries of EU budget funds.
In the security area, all organizations face the same main threats, such as viruses or spam. It is a priority of the Commission to increase the security level of its ICT systems. As these systems are built on products from our ICT solution providers, the Commission expects security improvements in those products as well.
For more information on the Commission’s e-government policy: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/informatics/ecommission/index_en.htm
 “E-college” specifically aims to provide optimal ICT support for decision-making procedures at College level.