Discussing the delivery of digital government – why Athens?

29 March, 2011

 

David Landsman, HM Ambassador to Greece, writes:

What prompted us in Athens to suggest to Wilton Park this theme for its first conference in Greece?  First, the realisation that the Greek and British Governments, both elected in the last 18 months, had focused on e-government as part of the solution to pressing challenges the need for greater efficiency in public services, and for greater transparency in the States dealings with citizens. Yannis Ragkousis, the Minister in the Greek Government responsible for e-government shared my view that we had a common interest and was very enthusiastic when I took the idea to him. In the end, as Richard Burge observes, one of the most interesting conclusions was that, although the particular challenges can be very different, policymakers in both countries share a confidence that the digital dimension can make a real difference.

The reason for asking Wilton Park to take the lead was that we wanted to transform a bilateral initiative into something international: contributions from Portugal and Estonia showed that throughout Europe Governments, business and civil society are enthusiastically taking up the new challenge. Just as the rapid spread of mobile telephones in almost every part of the world is bringing radical change going well beyond just being able to make a call, so with e-government it seems its less about where youre starting from and more about how ambitious you are about where you want to go. Im grateful to all the participants, as well as to Wilton Park, for finding the time and making the journey to the British Embassy in Athens. We hope to see Wilton Park back again before long, to focus on another subject in which Britain and Greece, but also others from around the world, share a common interest. Any ideas?

 

David Landsman

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