E-Government can be a remedy for the crisis

Participation of José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, in the "Simply innovation: EU Government and Innovation" conference(EC Audiovisual Services)

Participation of José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC,  in the “Simply innovation:                                                                           EU Government and Innovation” conference

Since the dawn of the 21st century it has been clear that Information Communication Technology (ICT) would be a significant driver of modern society. Let’s not go far. Think about your first cell phones at the beginning of the millennium that were as big as a ping-pong racket, indeed very inconvenient, while mobile communication was insanely expensive. Later on we moved towards smaller sizes that would effectively fit one’s pocket and step by step we even witnessed cool gadgets like coloured screens or mobile games. Those phones today seem like devices that Homo Sapiens was using during the Neolithic era when many people can have access to low-cost enormous computing power not only for phone conversation but also for multimedia communication, web surfing etc. And all this in an elegant and stylish smart phone at the size of your palm.

This ICT revolution that we are currently living is certainly transforming the modern way of living on personal and social level but also on the interactions of the citizen with the government. Europe has been one of the champions in what is universally called e-Government that aims at facilitating the life of the citizen by minimizing the time and cost of government transactions. The European Commission has also set a 2011-2015 e-Government strategy plan. Its aims are the following:

1)       Empower citizens and businesses

2)       Reinforce mobility in the Single Market

3)       Enable efficiency and effectiveness

4)       Create the necessary key enablers and pre-conditions to make things happen

The big question is whether besides the facilitation of the Europeans’ lives, which is not at all negligible as target, the EU has grasped the importance of the digitization process in cutting down costs significantly and lead poor country members out of the crisis. A very good example is Ireland, one of the first stricken European countries from the economic pandemy. This country has noted tremendous progress in cutting costs through e-Government. Sean Shine, senior managing director of Accenture’s Health & Public Service, in his interview at Silicon Republic acknowledges the substantial progress of his country in e-Government. More interestingly he notes that Ireland, a crisis hit country, has developed an electronic tax collection system, named Revenue Online Service (ROS), reputed to be one of the best tax collection processes in the world. Thanks to this system, Mr. Shine, underlines that Ireland is saving huge amount of money in tax collection, rendering the Irish Government one of the most cost efficient governments globally in tax collection. This is well understood if one estimates that 90% of the country’s tax revenues are collected through ROS.

I am wondering then, since e-Government has such big financial  benefits in crisis stricken countries like Ireland that have received the bailout bittersweet gift, why then don’t we hear any good e-Government news for countries like Greece or Portugal? Did the taskforce ever present any plan to the South with a middle-long term strategy to decrease the cost of their hypertrophic Public Sector by digitizing the government’s processes? Maybe my ears fail me but I have never heard anything like that whatsoever. The only thing that the Troika demands is firing people, cutting down salaries, increasing the retirement age and generally the impoverishment of European societies so that their assets become cheap for the European north to buy.

Is it the case that everyone likes to talk about e-Government but no-one really believes in it? Someone would say that the cost reduction that e-Government strategic plans bring come very slowly. I do not understand why there is so much rush, though, to destroy a European economy? Isn’t there any alternative to the austerity measures or perhaps a reduction of them and an addition in the bailout mix of alternatives like e-government? E-government is not at all wishful thinking. It is actually being implemented in many countries globally and is proved to save a lot of money from the budget. Let’s not forget the Commission’s February announcement about how everything goes incredibly well in e-Government for the north of Europe. ICT really does miracles in countries like Denmark where public servants save time and the country cuts down significant amount of cost while the citizen does not have to queue for hours to receive a public service. But again, this is the north of Europe, where everything seems to work smoothly despite the “crisis”.

Nobody can deny the social and economic benefits of e-Government. The million euro question is why it has to be only the privilege of the wealthy European countries. Why a country like Portugal cannot benefit from the reduced public cost that an intense strategic e-Government plan would bring? How many positions or pensions would have been saved in Lisbon if the Commission had a specific action plan for the South incorporated in the Troika bailout mechanism? Technology nowadays is not only a reason to admire our new BMW in our garage in Berlin, but also a way to cut down costs and assist European governments that desperately try to save costs even from pencils. E-government today in Europe should not be considered as a new gadget on a Danish smart phone but rather as a real remedy for the real financial crisis.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Coronavirus: European standards for medical supplies made freely available to facilitate increase of production

Excise duties: Commission welcomes agreement on rules governing alcohol

The British are the most positive in Europe on the benefits of immigration

One million facing food shortages, nutrition crisis after Mozambique cyclones: UNICEF

Climate change is threatening Switzerland’s stunning scenery

UN chief ‘deeply saddened’ by Ethiopia plane crash which killed 157, including at least 21 UN workers

Back to the Basics: Primary Healthcare

These are the 10 most in-demand skills of 2019, according to LinkedIn

How tech is helping the agriculture sector curb carbon emissions

Can the US-Iran rapprochement change the world?

“TTIP can boost the European project”; the Sting reports live from EBS 2015 on TTIP

Catalysing change for gender equality, co-authored by two United Nations Under-Secretary Generals

Betazone: The Beauty of Inclusion

Security Council urges countries to factor child protection into conflict prevention efforts

Coronavirus Global Response: EIB and Commission pledge additional €4.9 billion

Amazon fires: Health Effects, Near and Far

How close is Eurozone to a new recession which may trigger formidable developments?

The European Brain Drain: a truth or a myth?

The UK remains in the EU until a new Brexit date is set

Austria: reforms will be necessary to uphold high well-being levels

Migration crisis update: lack of solidarity not only among EU leaders but also EU officials

$683 million appeal to deliver reproductive health services, where they’re most needed

Colombia: ‘Terrible trend’ of rights defenders killed, harassed; UN calls for ‘significant effort’ to tackle impunity

The real cost of addiction

Reimagining the future for skills: What we learned from young people

5 ways students can graduate fully qualified for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Eurobarometer: Not a single answer about what the Banking Union will cost to citizens

COP21 Breaking News_10 December: the final sprint of the Final Agreement Negotiations

How civil society can adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution

EU and Overseas Countries and Territories boost cooperation at annual Forum with €44 million

EU members commit to build an integrated gas market and finally cut dependency on Russia

Mine action is at ‘the nexus’ of peace, security and development: UN official

Coronavirus: truth and myth on personal risk perception

Terrorist content online: companies to be given just one hour to remove it

EU revengefully shows no mercy to Cameron by demanding a fast and sloppy Brexit now

Opponents of constitutional change in Burundi face torture and execution: UN investigators

Scientists have created biodegradable microneedles to fight eye disease

UN Member States overwhelmingly support end of US embargo against Cuba

Von der Leyen on EU long-term budget: our opportunity to make Europe fit for the future

Food safety: more transparency, better risk prevention

Discovering Europe: Free EU rail pass for 18 year olds

Mirrored classroom display highlights scale of massive education crisis

Failure to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia is a mistake

Why the evolution of blockchain reliability is critical to protecting your digital assets

ECB offers cheaper money despite reactions from Germany

Friday’s Daily Brief: UN chief in China, counter-terrorism, updates from Bangladesh, Mali and Mozambique

Mental health and suicide prevention – what can be done to increase access to mental health services in my local area?

Why Eurozone can afford spending for growth

Can cybersecurity offer value for money?

How to promote Primary Healthcare to the Young Healthcare Workforce?

Here’s what you need to know about the UK’s booming second-hand economy

Tsipras doesn’t seem to have learned his “almost Grexit” lesson and Greece faces again financial and political dead end

EU-Vietnam trade agreement enters into force

Venezuela migrant crisis begs a ‘coherent, predictable and harmonized’ response: UNHCR

OECD Secretary-General: coronavirus “war” demands joint action

Stress, overtime, disease, contribute to 2.8 million workers’ deaths per year, reports UN labour agency

Towards seamless patent registration and protection in 25 EU countries

A new dawn for Europe: Joint op-ed by President von der Leyen, President Michel and President Sassoli

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate Change needs to be demystified”, Anneli Jättenmäki Vice President of European Parliament underscores from Brussels

More Stings?

Advertising

Comments

  1. Hi everyone, it’s my first pay a quick visit at this web site, and paragraph is really fruitful for me, keep up posting these content.

  2. you’re in reality a excellent webmaster. The site loading pace is amazing.
    It kind of feels that you are doing any unique trick. In addition, The contents are masterpiece.
    you’ve done a magnificent job on this subject!

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s