Why do you see the necessity to coordinate the digital transformation of the public services at the European level? And why should regions and cities have a say?
The transformation of our society following the new possibilities of a digitalized world will come whether we prepare for it or not.
I strongly believe Europe should be at the forefront of this development to harvest all the possibilities this new era brings.
In fact, the digital single market does not really fully function online in Europe yet, for consumers. There are many digital obstacles still to be tackled, from geoblocking to barriers in e-commerce, online customer disputes. What do you see as main digital barriers ahead of public services in Europe?
The main obstacle is in fact in our own minds. The hardest thing is to see how we could offer public services with the new possibilities that now present itself. Instead of how we always have conducted business.
After that - and closely related - we have the issue of governance. Given the fact that digital solutions have no geographical or organizational boundaries unless we put them there. We need to rethink the whole structure of how we organize public sector in how information is collected and managed.
Is the fact that the development of the e-government in Europe has been uneven between Member States mean that we have failed to coordinate it early enough at the European level?
Not at all.
What Europe need is more initiative and drive to excel which can not be obtained by coordination.
In this context it is important to assist the laggers but never hold back the leaders.
Data protection and cyber security are extremely important and sensitive. What is there that Europe could do to help its Member States, regions and cities to provide e-infrastructure and e-services secured enough and not sensitive to data hacking or cyber terrorism?
This is a very important issue. We need to manage the fact that openness is at the core of digitalization while some information absolutely must be kept in a secure way.
How to secure the digital inclusion and prevent the digital divide?
This important issue is beautifully taken care of within the principle of "digital first". Let's be clear,
It is digital first, not digital only and the resources saved by providing a service digitally can instead be used to offer even better services to those who can not take advantage of digital services.
Could you tell us a little about e-services in your municipality and region?
I would like to highlight the virtue of working together and rethink how public services can be delivered.
And therefore I take an example from the joint e-health work of the Swedish county councils.
At a first glance it might look like a websites. Well it is, but it is also the first line of the Swedish health care system.
Instead of 21 different "first lines" giving advice on health and self-care we have one really good on www.1177.se which also is the phone number.
we have also gathered a whole bunch of personal e-health services.
And all this to a fraction of the cost compared to if each of the county council would manage their own web channel.