„Digital Europe“ program presented to eGovernment Alliance members

The European Union program "Digital Europe", which aims at the comprehensive digitization of European society and economy, was presented today to the members of the eGovernment Alliance within the regular session of that working body. In addition, regulatory news and a revised draft of the Alliance's Action Plan were also on the agenda.

The "Digital Europe" program was launched by the European Commission with the idea of supporting the development of digital technologies, infrastructure and skills to ensure competitiveness and innovation in the digital economy. In June of this year, by signing the agreement in Brussels, Serbia officially joined this program, which will last until 2027.

Milan Dobrijević, State Secretary for Electronic Communications, Information Society and European Integration at the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications, pointed out that the project's budget is 7.5 billion euros, and that the funds are distributed according to the components: high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, cloud and data. cyber security, advanced digital skills and development and best practices.

- Out of all the mentioned components, Serbia, as an associate member of this program, can only participate in the component concerning cyber security, because it is a sensitive topic for full members of the European Union, while for all other components, both public and private entities are free to apply when the call opens. It is especially important to create a consortium between different institutions, the academic community, scientific and technological companies, innovative companies and public administration - pointed out Dobrijević.

One of the first things to be worked on will be the establishment of European Digital Innovation Hubs. In October, the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications will open the first public call for their establishment, and by the end of the year, the selection of candidates will be carried out. The implementation of the call for application of the selected hubs is planned until the middle of next year, and the signing of the grant agreement is expected for December 2024.

- We will especially take into account consortia that will include the cooperation of science, business, civil society and public administration, and that from the territory of the whole of Serbia. In order to help companies when applying for the invitation, we opened an email address for support - digtal.europe@mit.gov.rs - added Dobrijević.

The President of the eGovernment Alliance, Dragana Ilić, presented the new draft of the Law on Information Security, specifically referring to the two most important - the establishment and role of the future Office for Information Security and the division of ICT system operators of particular importance. According to her, it is expected that the draft Law will soon be before the Government and MPs.

Finally, the members were presented with a revised draft of the Alliance's Action Plan for eGovernment, reached in agreement with the presidency and heads of working groups.

Ana Milovanović, Policy Coordinator in NALED, presented the priorities and activities that will be worked on in the next year and a half, until the end of the mandate of the current leadership. She explained that the main reason for revising the Action Plan was the need to align it with the new eGovernment Development Program and ongoing project activities.

In the following period, the proposal of the Action Plan will be forwarded to the members for comments and possible additions, before the official finalization.

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