Pierrakakis: Greece carried out digital reforms and is now in the sphere of the desirable

Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis

Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis said in his address to the Athens Digital Economy Forum on Tuesday that with 220 digital projects representing an investment of 2.3 billion euros put to tender since the government came into power in 2019, more than 400 million euros given in support and more than 700 million euros for Public-Private Sector Partnerships, Greece was now moving beyond covering absolute essentials and moving toward "the sphere of the desirable."

Outlining the work done in the last 3.5 years, Pierrakakis highlighted the crucial contribution of the Recovery Facility: "We started by doing what is known as gap analysis, finding out what the gaps were for each ministry, each service. Then came the Recovery Facility, coronavirus and allowed us to finance the sum total of what was necessary and enter the sphere of the desirable. With works, in other words, that relate to what comes after, not just the immediate needs of the country that was in our hands at that moment."

The minister voiced his conviction that IT and technology can have the greatest possible social contributions, the greatest possible impact for changing and affecting society's problems, as well as his own preparation before taking over the ministry, starting with what had already been done and was working and those areas that were less successful, as well as seeking to learn from the mistakes made by other countries.

He said the policy had identified the problem of excessive bureaucracy in Greece and employed simple digital tools to make it less bureaucratic, establishing systems that allowed all public sector registries to "talk" to each other. This had started with an assessment of what digital services the state already provided, which at the time was not known, and which were measured at 501.

"Today there are 1,500, therefore the first step was a tripling of the services. What did this tripling produce? It is multiplied by 100 in usage. We had 8.8 million digital transactions in 2018 and we have one billion digital transactions this year. Divide this by the population and this reflects the queues you have avoided. This alone is the extent of this entire reform," he said.

Pierrakanis spoke about reforms in telecommunications, noting that Greece presented a "split" picture, ranking 25th in the world for mobile telephony but 93-95th for landlines but was now making significant progress.

Talking about the coronavirus crisis, Pierrakakis said that "this was one of the best versions of the Greek state and I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to see and participate in it," particularly highlighting the successful rollout of vaccines.

"The needle is moving and, in fact, moving at a faster speed than it has ever moved before. It is an unexpected reform, not as regards its direction but as regards its speed and acceleration," the minister said, talking about the progress made.

"The main issue is for this reform of infrastructure to be able to continue independently of the political cycle in the coming years, that will be the greatest possible conquest for all of us," he concluded.

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