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European Commission

Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ

Vice-President of the European Commission

Responsible for Interinstitutional Relations and Administration

Opening remarks to the annual ICT conference

DIGIT ICT Conference

4 October 2012

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to welcome you to this traditional event, annual ICT Conference organized by the Directorate-General for Informatics. The number of registrations (I have been informed that almost 550 participants have been registered for the first day and more than 800 for the second day of the conference) proves that ICT as such, new challenges and developments in this field and concrete plans and impacts which ICT has for EU institutions are of the interest of all of you.

For example, yesterday, the European Commission adopted Single Market Act II, putting forward 12 key actions which are concentrated on four main drivers for growth, employment and confidence. One of these drivers is the digital economy. With its economic weight and important spill-over effects, the digital economy revolution remains an opportunity that cannot be missed. Our intention in this regard is to complete a digital single market by 2015. Digital Single Market is still far from achieving its full potential. The cost of the failure to complete it is expected to be at least 4,1 % GDP between 2010-2020, i.e. 500 billion euro or 1000 euro per citizen. Therefore we are obliged to use its full potential, especially in the time when we need to boost our economy.

This year's edition of the conference will focus on two key topics: eCommission (with a sub-title: Digitization for Growth) and "Future@Work".

Today you will attend a lot of interesting presentations and will have an opportunity to discuss specific aspects of the ICT contribution to achieve the Commission´s political and organisational objectives.

Tomorrow´s programme is oriented for ICT community. Social media, mobile ICT, the Cloud etc are offering huge possibilities and tools, undreamed of by public servants of previous generations. You will examine some of these developments and trends in order to make the "future work" for better European public administration in a very demanding environment.

Information Technologies (IT) are now omnipresent in our society and citizens expect and demand more from us, their public administrations, as we all enter the connected world.

IT is an essential element of the European Union’s initiatives to boost economic growth and engage with its citizens. The Digital Agenda for Europe targets the delivery of sustainable economic and social benefits.

For example, last week's approved Strategy on Cloud computing under the Digital Agenda outlines actions to deliver a net gain of 2.5 million new European jobs, and an annual boost of EUR 160 billion to EU GDP.

Both the European Parliament and Council have recognized the role, Information Technology will have in improving our economies. In June, the EU leaders asked the Commission to continue working to achieve a well-functioning Digital Single Market and to give priority to measures aimed at further developing cross-border online trade and promoting the cross-border use of e-identification and other e-services, like the e-identification project STORK or PEPPOL, the electronic procurement network, and e-PRIOR, a system we are currently using to pay some of the Commission's invoices and that will gradually become a complete end-to-end electronic procurement solution to be used also in Member States.

One example – PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement Online) - If we were to use such a system across the entire EU, it is expected that European countries would save about 50 billion euro per year in the procurement of goods. Small and medium enterprises would make an additional saving of approximately 40 billion euro in transaction costs.

A lot of things have happened since our last symposium and as Member States reminded us over the last year's ministerial e-Government conference in Poznan - it is time to show concrete results, especially now, when global economic crisis obliges us to implement our policies and to use our resources in the most effective way. Needless to say, that IT domain is able to play a key role in this "exercise".

That is why the Commission has also embarked on a rationalization process that will lead to a wiser use of our IT resources (budget and staff) and that should allow us to make better use of our scarce resources. The overall process is ongoing and I hope to see concrete results very soon.

And let me say a few world about the strategy which has been adopted by the College in August and which is an important element behind our moving forward. It is entitled "e-Commission 2012-2015. Delivering user-centric digital services". As you all know, in fact, eCommission means gradual introducing of eGovernment services within the EC but it is important to mention its external dimension as well. It has the vision that the Commission will lead by example in bringing about efficiently, effectively and transparently user-centric digital services both internally (to our own administration) and, more importantly, externally (in supporting EU policies).

This new strategy is guided by the principles of user-centricity, making an effective and efficient use of resources, ensuring the security and the privacy of citizens and businesses and establishes a preference for openness and reusability.

It also aims to:

strengthen operational effectiveness and efficiency and guarantee continuity of the Commission’s IT services; reduce costs and create value for the Commission; contribute to reducing administrative burdens in the Commission and in Member States;help to improve the transparency of the Commission; and eliminate the digital barriers between public administrations in Europe.

For all I would mention the following concrete practical examples (programmes/projects) which will be covered by the eCommission Action Plan 2012-2015:

Grant Management Information System that will deliver corporate solutions to support Horizon 2020, our flagship research programme

or

Internal Market Information System that will be extended to cover new policy areas like the posting of Workers, Electronic Commerce and Intellectual Property Rights.

As you will have noticed, the e-Commission is an ambitious initiative and is the underlying theme behind both strands of our conference.

I am sure, that Directorate General for Informatics, Mr. Francisco García Moran and his team, has prepared a programme and invited speakers which will make today and tomorrow´s presentations and discussions vital and challenging.

We are all part of the transformation in modern public administration – whether we work on IT or not. And we will lay the digital foundations for modern public administrations. That will be our contribution to the growth that is needed today.

I hope you will have fruitful discussions.


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