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European Week of Regions and Cities

Digitalisation – hope for citizens in vulnerable places

How can digitalisation help improve the lives of citizens in vulnerable regions and city areas? The selected area for which we would like to demonstrate concrete examples is Jesenicko, Czechia's north-east region, and the city of Bílina (Ústí nad Labem Region, RE:START region). The purpose of the meeting is to trigger a debate with other Member States about inspirational and innovative approaches in public services (such as e-health, civil protection and cross-border cooperation) to promote places' resilience. 

Wed 13, October 2021
16:30 - 18:00 CET
Věra-Karin Brázová, Urban Policy and Strategy Unit leader, Ministry of Regional Development.
Eva Betlachová, Project manager, Fire Rescue Service of Olomouc Region.
Ondřej Knotek, Member of the European Parliament, European Parliament.
Zuzana Schwarz Bařtipánová, Mayoress, Bílina city.
Miloš Táborský, Head of the Czech National eHealth Center, Czech National eHealth Center, City of Olomouc.
Digital Transition
Ministry of Regional Development of Czechia (MoRD), University Hospital Olomouc and Medical Faculty of Palacky University
English (EN)
Replay – English

Session summary

The workshop, organised by the Ministry of Regional development of the Czech Republic, provided the audience with examples of good practices touching on how digitalisation can help improve people's lives in vulnerable places. The ministry is focusing on decreasing regional disparities.

The session began with a welcome speech by Ondrej Knotek MEP, who emphasised that digitalisation is necessary for the economic growth of the regions.

The city of Bílina was represented by its mayor, Zuzana Schwarz Bartipanova who presented the Smart city concept in practice. As Bílina is involved in the "5G for 5 cities" project, the presentation focused on the usage of 5G technologies for the security purposes of the city and its citizens in public places.

One of the presentations tackled a cross-border project. Eva Betlachová from the Fire Rescue Service of the Olomouc region described the cooperation between the Czech Republic and Poland on crisis management, civic protection and prevention. Digital technology had the power to bring together people from both sides of the border to enable them to cooperate effectively in crisis situations in the hilly terrain of Jeseníky.

E-health, digitalisation in medicine or telemedicine: telemedicine aims to bring fast and professional medical care to people in need, as explained by Professor Miloš Táborský from the National Telemedicine Centre in Olomouc. He explained how digitalisation helps provide medical care to the citizens of Jeseníky region without them having to make physical appointments at the doctor's surgery. 

Take away message

All panelists agreed that improving citizens' lives in vulnerable places is not only a matter of sufficient resources. The ability of citizens to use digital technology, education about the services provided, citizens' motivation and building trust in new digital means and services are also key.