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June 22, 2021

Austria is the partner country of the Smart Country Convention

▪ Austria’s Federal Minister for Digital Affairs Margarete Schramböck to visit the event

▪ The Smart Country Convention will take place from 26 to 28 October 2021 at hub27

An app for visiting local authorities and an e-Card for showing one’s identity: as one of the pioneers of the digital transformation, Austria is this year’s official partner country of the Smart Country Convention. From 26 to 28 October 2021 on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds, our neighbours will be presenting innovative digital applications for local government and the public sector and digitization at town, municipal and county level. This was announced today by the digital association Bitkom and Messe Berlin. The Smart Country Convention is Germany’s leading event for digitization in the public sector. In a 2020 E-Government Benchmark comparison undertaken by the European Commission, Austria occupied third place. In Austria, acceptance of E-Government services by companies and the public stands at 81 per cent, 11 percentage points above the EU average. The introduction and implementation of digital public services has an approval rating of 87 per cent, an incredible lead of 15 percentage points. “In Austria, public services have long been available online and have naturally been accepted by the public. Digitization has long since consigned bureaucracy to history“, says Achim Berg, president of Bitkom. ”In Germany, we have grand visions of a digital state – but the path to online services replacing in-person appointments is still a long one.“

Austria’s Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs Dr. Margarete Schramböck will visit the Smart Country Convention in October and says: ”Digitization is the key to added value and work in the future, which is why it must become part of our DNA – whether of people, companies or the state. My vision: a tightly organised, digitally efficient state that exploits tomorrow’s technology.“

Commenting on Austria’s role as the partner country Dr. Michael Scherz, Commercial Counsellor for the Austrian Embassy in Berlin, says: ” I am delighted that after the many months of the pandemic Austria will be back in the role of partner country on the stage that is the Smart Country Convention 2021. Many years ago, Austria already began digitally transforming many areas of local government, ranging from the e-Card, the electronic filing of court proceedings and tax declarations, to parking by smartphone. Austrian companies will be presenting their outstanding know-how and innovative drive at the Smart Country Convention 2021.“

The Smart Country Convention gathers representatives of politics, business and municipalities. The object is to speed up digitization and implement it according to people’s needs. Martin Ecknig, CEO of Messe Berlin: ”With Austria, it gives us great pleasure to welcome a partner country to the Smart Country Convention again. Be it interconnecting rural areas or solutions for smart cities – digitization does not stop at national borders. As a platform devoted to the entire range of topics surrounding the digital transformation of local government and public welfare, the Smart Country Convention offers an ideal opportunity to exchange views and learn from the best in this field.“

The Smart Country Convention takes place annually in October on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds. Online information can be found at www.smartcountry.berlin.