A look back at our partner countries
Every year, the Smart Country Convention focuses on a particular country, as digitization does not stop at national borders. Looking beyond the horizon is worthwhile – to gain knowledge, network and exchange views. In recent years Denmark, Lithuania and Austria, all pioneers, have shown how digitizing local government and developing smart cities and regions can succeed.
Partner Country 2022: Pioneer Austria
As a pioneer in eGovernment and smart city affairs, Austria was the official partner country of the Smart Country Convention 2022. The country presented innovative digital applications for local government, public sector companies and has shown how the digital transformation of cities, municipalities and districts can succeed.
Digitalisation in Austria
Digitalisation will not take place of its own accord. In order for an intelligent, strategically organised transformation to produce long-term successful growth a clear plan is needed. Austria has achieved this with the Digital Action Plan Austria of the Federal Ministry of Finances. This has been put together with broad-based expert and stakeholder input, is regularly expanded and rigorously implemented, in order to ensure that Austria can exploit its data to the full and enjoy crisis-proof and sustainable growth.
What is important is that digitalisation leaves no one behind. The Digital Action Plan Austria means creating positive change even after the pandemic, for society, business and local government. It means generating new growth, new employment and new opportunities for everyone in Austria.
Florian Tursky, Austria’s State Secretary for Digitalisation and Telecommunications at the Federal Ministry of Finances, personally represented the partner country Austria at the Smart Country Convention.
“My policy is to simplify local government through digitalisation and eGovernment. In doing so I feel it is important to enthuse people, to bring them on board and to ensure local government is on the same page as citizens. By 2024 it should be possible for almost all dealings with public authorities to also take place online. One of the key components in establishing and expanding eGovernment services is the requirement for a positive identification of individuals in order to give them access to specific services. In that context ID-Austria was an important milestone. We are now working on digital forms of ID, in particular digital driving licences. It is essential for us in Austria to be leaders in digitalisation.“
THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IN AUSTRIA AS A WAY OUT OF THE CRISIS
E-ID – a cornerstone of eGovernment
In Austria, key elements of eGovernment were and are digital projects such as the Citizens’ Card, which functions as an electronic ID on the internet. It was this form of internet identification using the Citizens’ Card that first made it possible for public services such as electronic payment/mailing to take place online. Using the Citizens’ Card for positive identification and authentification allows requests or contracts to be signed that would otherwise require a handwritten signature. The technical side is taken care of by a free eGovernment, with open source components that are incorporated into the relevant applications. That way, signatures can be electronically checked, and documents can be signed and delivered electronically.
www.oesterreich.gv.at and an administrative app called ’Digitales Amt’
The first place to head in all matters concerning eGovernment services is oesterreich.gv.at. This online portal offers one-stop online services. oesterreich.gv.at makes handling certain matters with local authorities easy by enabling it online.
The ’Digitales Amt’ app lets Austrians conduct business with local authorities and obtain local authority information in certain situations online. Online services will in future save people visiting local authorities in person.
Service portal for companies
The service portal for companies (USP) is tailored to business owners’ needs. They can access this platform and deal with many formalities online, such as registering tax and social insurance information etc.
For business owners, the service portal for companies (usp.gv.at) is the gateway to handling information and transactions directly from a desktop computer.
FinanzOnline, the financial administration’s leading eGovernment portal for tax declarations and other applications is available free of charge 24 hours a days. Certain applications for financial support can in some cases be submitted directly via this portal. Attacks on computers and smartphones etc. are becoming increasingly complex and professional.
Partner Country 2019: Lithuania
Going to the authorities online and setting up a business in three days - that works in Lithuania. As one of the pioneers of digitisation, Lithuania was 2019 the official partner country of the Smart Country Convention. From 22 to 24 October 2019, the country showed innovative digital applications for administrations, public companies and the digitisation of cities, municipalities and rural districts in the CityCube Berlin.
"Digital technologies are an integral part of Lithuania. Lithuania re-established its independence the same year the Internet was introduced and since then intensively develops electronic public services. We have a lot of experience and Lithuanian people have got used to obtain public services online, because it is cheaper and faster.
Today's society must evolve and not be afraid to change along with technological evolution. Today we can talk about the level of digital transformation in Lithuania not only in terms of e-Governance, which simply means that governments are creating a digital versions of analog paper documents. Lithuanian institutions transform in terms of Digital Governance, which refers to enabling, improving, transforming services, operations and functions. Because we aim to create public services that are not only electronic but digital by design.
The development of the digital economy is necessary for the country's growth. For this reason, Lithuania is promoting a culture of innovation and digitalisation, both for business and public sector. This allows us to seek progress, transparency and smoother policymaking.
However, cyber- and personal data security is necessary for the state and every member of society in the digital space, Lithuania pays special attention to cybersecurity and is one of the leading countries in the world.
We want to share our experience about public sector, cybersecurity and smart cities with Germany, our main economic partner. For this reason, Lithuania has become a partner of the Smart Country Convention.
Digital Lithuania in ratings
- In Lithuania over 90% of public services are available online (European Commission, “eGovernment benchmark 2018”).
- Lithuania scores over 70% in digitalization index, (European Commission, “eGovernment benchmark 2018”).
- According to European Commission Lithuania belongs to the “Fruitful eGovernment” category of countries."
Partner Country 2018: Denmark
Be it digitally connected citizens’ service centres, electronic medical reports, internet tax declarations or gigabit networks, Denmark has become a pioneer in many areas of digitalisation. The EU’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) puts Denmark top of the list of 28 EU countries. At the Smart Country Convention 2018 this Scandinavian nation was the official partner country of the fair, and at the CityCube Berlin showcased innovative digital applications for administrations, public enterprises and for authorities at town, municipal and county level.
"Everyone needs to play a part in digitization. Digitization stopped being a choice long ago.
In Denmark, digitization has created growth, wealth and welfare among citizens and freed up resources in the public sector that can be allocated to other core societal areas, such as Health, Education or Welfare. This is the reason that we are honoured to be official partner country at the Smart Country Convention.
We look forward to meeting you at the Smart Country Convention and to sharing our experiences and digital solutions."
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