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Czech Presidency helps remove further barriers – this time in eGovernment

On 7th April 2009, an international conference on “eID and Public Registers” was held as part of the 12th annual ISSS Conference (Internet in the Public Administration and Self-government). 

The conference was attended by Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer, Deputy Interior Minister for European Affairs Lenka Ptáčková Melicharová and the Director General for Information Society and Media (DG INFSO) of the European Commission, Fabio Colasanti.
The objective of the “eID and Public Registers” conference was above all to strengthen the interoperability of national systems so that the services provided by eGovernment could be accessed from anywhere in Europe, regardless of state borders. The possibility of clear and legally verified identification in electronic communication between two entities is a key to access to the data in public registers as well as to electronic services offered by public administration.
By helping to remove obstacles that hinder the use of electronic services provided by public administration - the “eGovernment” - across the Member States, the Czech Presidency has taken another step towards a “Europe without barriers”.
The conference was launched by Interior Minister Ivan Langer. In his opening speech, the Minister presented revolutionary measures in public administration that are aimed to rank the Czech Republic among the five best in Europe: “When I came into office three years ago, Czech eGovernment was, in many respects, the bottom of the league in Europe and computers on the desks of some administrative staff were often nothing more than a rather costly alternative to typewriters. At that time, I and my colleagues pledged to bring the Czech Republic among the five most advanced EU countries in the area of eGovernment and to overhaul the way public administration works and the services it provides to citizens”, said Minister Langer.
The Minister’s words were taken up by Fabio Colasanti, Director General for Information Society and Media (DG INFSO) of the European Commission, who stated that finding efficient systems is important not only for the information society as such, but also because of our responsibility for the development of the whole society.
However, many steps need to be taken both at national and at European level to guarantee mutual recognition of electronic identification documents. In Europe, the most significant initiative is the STORK project (Secure Identity Across Borders Linked), which aims to set up a compatible system for mutual identity verification among the EU Member States. “As regards removing barriers, the Czech Republic has decided to set an example to other Member States and join this project, on the wings of which further barriers are overcome and electronic identification in a Europe without barriers can become more than just a dream; it can become a reality for almost 500 million inhabitants”, said Lenka Ptáčková Melicharová, Deputy Interior Minister for European Affairs.
Following preparatory talks which were rounded off at a meeting on 6 April 2009 in Prague, six other countries took a preliminary decision to join the STORK project. In line with its motto, the Czech Presidency has thus met another of its targets and contributed to creating a Europe without barriers, this time in the area of eGovernment.
Markéta Matlochová
Spokesperson for Czech Presidency of the EU, Ministry of the Interior

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