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Politics

Greece Moves Away from Abacus Age, Speeding Digital Transition

ATHENS – Once known for public offices where files were piled on the floor or stowed away in boxes, Greece is accelerating a transformation into the electronic age and going digital faster.

Speaking to the Technology Summit: Shaping the Digital Transition conference organized by Money Review, Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis said the Gov.gr portal begun in April 2020 – already offers around 1,400 online services, but added that more needs to be done.

“Reform is not something that can be copy-pasted from what other countries are doing,” but needs to go through the time-consuming process of being adapted to the needs and realities of each individual state,” he said.

Indeed, Greece’s COVID-19 vaccination program, for example, was a model of of efficiency, making appointmens online with automatic notices on cell phones and confirmations and follow-up reminders.

Pierrakis said more is coming. “The result of this exercise has yielded successful results to an extent, but there is quite a bit of work that remains to be done, which will be facilitated by the new systems stemming from the Recovery and Resilience Facility,” he also said.

He said there are more than 440 digital projects being funded, the New Democracy government also recently announcing that state ID cards and driver’s licenses will go online and can be put on mobile phones instead of carrying paper documents.

He called it a “’Digital transformation bible,’ covering the vacuums and tying up the loose ends of many, many years in the country and particularly in the public sector – from the issuance of pensions, which requires the digitization of all the data, to the operation of central ERP (Enterprise resource planning) and HRMS (Human Resources Management) systems,” said Kathimerini.

He said that legislation aimed regulating emerging technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, 3D printing and unmanned aerial vehicles is being drawn up and will be presented to Parliament in July.

The legislation, he said, not only seeks to define precisely what constitutes each of these technologies, but also how they are used and applied in a professional capacity. “We are saying, for example, that drones can be used by the postal service for the islands,” Pierrakakis said.

He also lauded the National Procedures Register, nicknamed Mitos, which will provide information on how different state procedures work, how long they take and how much they will cost for the services.

“It is, effectively, a map of procedures of the Greek state which, when ready, will allow the administration to check itself, but also citizens to carry out tasks related to the public sector faster and more efficiently,” Pierrakakis said.

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