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Politics

E-Governance Min. marks Greece’s Digitisation Anniversary

February 15, 2023

ATHENS – The Digital Governance Ministry celebrated the three years of operation of the government’s public services online platform, gov.gr, at a special event held at the Athens Concert Hall on Tuesday.

Launched at the start of 2020 – almost at the same time as the onset of the coronavirus pandemic – the electronic platform has grown to offer more than 1,500 digital services to citizens, including the issuing of digital certificates or legal status and identity documents.

It has also expanded into several accompanying smartphone apps, such as a wallet for storing all types of electronic documents, including coronavirus vaccination certificates and the police identification card (taftotita).

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who attended the event, spoke about the Greek State becoming a state which “respects its citizens, and builds a relationship with them based on trust.” He added that the transition to digital governance “happens to enjoy universal recognition in Greece.”

The coronavirus pandemic acted as a catalyst in launching gov.gr as swiftly as was feasible, he said, while he spoke of the introduction of more advanced technologies like AI to facilitate vaccination appointments.

Αddressing the event, Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis said that through gov.gr there were 1.2 billion online transactions in 2020, the pandemic’s first year.

Outlining the ministry’s unrolling of digitised and automated services, Pierrakakis noted that universal access to the European emergency number 112 “was given first priority,” while the 13033 text messaging number provided permits for leaving one’s home during the long pandemic lockdowns.

Fascimile technology was finally abolished in the public sector, replaced with online issuing of documents and certificates to people, such as birth certificates, which were also simplified. In addition, doctors’ prescriptions were all moved online and issued electronically.

Finally, Pierrakakis also spoke of the unfolding installation of fiber optic lines for internet access across the country. There are currently 1.3 million fiber optic lines, he said, and the goal is to reach 4.8 million by 2027. The digitisation of government services “is an across-the-board policy that affects all ministries, and is an acquisition of the entire public administration,” he noted.

European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, responsible for digital issues, acclaimed Greece for moving fast to use technology in ways that improve the daily life of Greek citizens, who should be technology’s focus anyway. The progress achieved was encouraging for other EU countries as well, she added.

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