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V4 Digitization Leaders at ITAPA: Change comes fast. We must collaborate and react

Bratislava, November 14– „Digital world is changing faster than we can react. It is therefore crucial to quickly and flexibly regulate it on Europe-wide level.“ with these words Peter Pellegrini, Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Informatization of the Slovak Republic opened 16th year of ITAPA International Congress -Technology & HumanITy.

For the first time ever in history of Slovakia he met on the stage his counterparts, other top representatives of information society, digitization and eGovernment from V4 countries. Krzysztof Szubert, State Secretary, Deputy Minister for Information Society and governmental plenipotentiary for single digital market, Ondřej Malý, Coordinator of digital agenda in Governmental Office of the Czech Republic and Ákos Péter Mernyei, Deputy Secretary of State for European Union and International Relations.
From now on the laws that define the direction of digitization and information society will be general and adaptive. Peter Pellegrini considers this an important consent that applies also to digital service taxation when profit leaves the European Union and also to the huge amount of data we have today. Deputy Prime Minister thinks it is pivotal to maintain free flow of data as well as their security and residency in European Union. „We need to find reasonable compromise between security and privacy. Today it is not just about telephone tapping. We know that today we can basically strip a man naked when it comes to information.

Security is closely connected with data and technologies. Krzysztof Szubert, State Secretary, and Deputy Minister for Information Society and governmental plenipotentiary for single digital market highlighted its importance. He pointed out that this is also the reason why Poland while presiding European Union promoted the request to include digital agenda to permanent EU topics. “We need to develop secure cyber space in Europe. This is one of the top priorities. „ said Szubert at ITAPA. Data are another priority. He compares importance of data with basic energy products. “Soon data will be as important for the economy as oil and gas once was.”

Economy and society Alliance 4.0 will bring to Czech Republic proposals for faster development of digitization of Czech, for example in automotive. This is the key industry for V4 countries and digitization brings its fundamental transformation. “Free data flow, legislation, and start-up promotion is very important for automotive in V4,”says Ondřej Malý. Upcoming cyber package supported by Czech government should bring significant help.

Ondřej Malý reminded that it is necessary to manage communication also in the smallest villages. “I spend lot of time doing education in municipalities. In Czech Republic we have more than 6200 communities; many consist of just few dozen families. Internet is crucial for them. Mayor is doing his job and doesn’t have a chance to visit all of them and let them know about all the news; digitization can significantly help him.” In Czech Republic they have opted for mass education and promote digital skills not only in the schools but also among common people.

Bratislava Mayor, Ivo Nesrovnal talked at ITAPA about importance of digital readiness in cities. “Right now cities are facing big and quickly changing problems. Digital technologies enable us to solve mobility, social support, security, climate changes and education, „stated Nesrovnal.
By the way, Pellegrini highlighted at ITAPA the fact that Digital Alliance was founded in Slovakia; it is an alliance of 25 subjects of public administration, government, universities and firms. Alliance will fight for enhancement of IT skills across the social spectrum, and first of all in education system. “Slovak government wants to support further development of digitization also in legislation. For example, 5G network infrastructure will be considered as public interest investment. This should ease its construction in terms of building licenses and territory decisions.”
Ákos Péter Mernyei, Deputy Secretary of State for European Union and International Relations said that recent development is just a beginning of something bigger. It is a fact that our dependency on technologies and data is growing and every failure brings big economic damage. “We have to be ready for that and know how to react. And that’s why we need to collaborate.” explained Mernyei and added that today IT industry makes 20 percent of GDP and 15 percent of employment rate in Hungary. “For this reason we strongly advocate for digital agenda – whether in V4 or in European Union. „concluded Ákos Péter Mernyei.

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