“Our goal is that by the end of the second four-year period, more than 90% of the approximately 5,000 state services have been digitized and joined gov.gr” emphasizes the Minister of State and Digital Governance in his interview on “Vima tis Kyriaki” Kyriakos Pierrakakis. The dilemma of the next elections, he adds, “It’s about whether we’re going to keep accelerating in the future or whether we’re going to go back to rearguard action.”
How far can the digital transformation of the state go? What do you think are the most important steps taken so far?
“The goal is clear: to digitize – with a few exceptions – all interactions between citizens and businesses with the state. And this planning as early as 2019 had been described as a two-term plan. Already in these four years , we have done a lot in this direction. gov.gr and the interconnection of state registers is not just a digitization action, but a vast program aimed at simplifying citizens’ interactions with the state. gov. gr is the new face of the state, it is a modern and citizen-friendly state.The first handwriting samples are here.The declaration of birth required attendance at several services that could be located in all corners of the country. Now it’s done with just one statement, inside the maternity ward. Starting a sole proprietorship required a five-line wait. Now it’s done via gov.gr with just a few clicks.”
On a scale of 1 to 10, where are we? Are we far from citizens dealing with the government only via computer or mobile phone?
“From 2019 to today, out of 501 digital services, we have exceeded 1,540, prioritizing the most frequent check-in counters. This tripling has translated into approximately one hundred times more digital transactions with government – from 8 .8 million in 2018 last year we reached 772 million, while with financial transactions we reach 1.2 billion digital transactions This number is actually “queues” in which citizens didn’t have to wait. So we currently have 1,543 digital services. “By how much? is the reasonable question. No country knows. Thanks to ‘Mito’, the national register of administrative procedures, Greece will soon know.” We currently have a total of over 5,000 registered. Well, we have an order of magnitude of the challenge ahead of us. And we now have both the know-how and – thanks to the Recovery Fund – the funds to respond over another four-year horizon. The goal is that by the end of the second four-year period, more than 90% of state services will be digitized and integrated into gov.gr”.
In terms of reducing the “digital divide” which mainly concerns seniors, what should be done?
“With regard to the ‘digital divide’, the tripartite on which we operate are: the simplest possible digital platforms, programs to acquire and develop digital skills and alternative service ‘channels’. gov.gr a was designed in a very simple and user-friendly way.This is proven by the fact that more than 8,100,000 citizens (i.e. the largest part of the country’s population) have been served digitally at least once and we are constantly improving the digital environment, at the same time we have launched digital skills programs in the friendship clubs of the municipalities and, from my experience in Athens, I can tell you that we are seeing great results. And finally, we are constantly improving the KEPs, so that they are the only physical “point of contact” between the citizen and the State, and at the same time we are setting up the one-call center of the State, from which everyone can be served by telephone.”
You are a candidate in the legislative elections for the first time. What do you think are the stakes of the May 21 election?
“The dilemma of the election is whether we will continue to move forward into the future or return to rearguard battles. Essentially, the question is whether we want a modern, strong and outgoing Greece or a country at the back of the pack. And in this context, the New Democracy of Kyriakos Mitsotakis asks for the vote of the citizens to fight the battles of our generation, to fight the battles of the future and not to remain in those of the past. We believe that the country must move forward, by definitively resolving our arrears with the past and by responding to contemporary international challenges. And this requires a government that has the knowledge, the plan, the will and the parliamentary majority to bring the country towards the ‘coming.”
What messages do you receive from the citizens you meet during your visits to A’ Athens?
“What I perceive is that citizens recognize the progress the country has made in the first four years of Kyriakos Mitsotakis and they know the criticality of the upcoming elections. From 2019 to today, we have established our credibility through the implementation of our pre-election program and the clear responses that we have given to the challenges that have arisen. And I believe that this is the guarantee that will bring citizens to trust us again, highlighting New Democracy as an independent government and Kyriakos Mitsotakis as a strong prime minister”.
And one last question… Artificial Intelligence: “Blessing” or “Curse”? How do you see the public debate that has been developing lately?
“Technological developments in themselves are neither a ‘blessing’ nor a ‘curse’. Their imprint depends on the context we define and how we use them. Already in this four-year period, we have established a first legislative framework – with a very large majority, in fact, and thanks to a particularly productive discussion with the opposition parties. At the same time, Greece participates in the dialogue that is taking place at European Union level, promoting our own human-centric values and moving in the direction that technology can improve the lives of citizens. After all, history has shown that this is what industrial revolutions achieve, and artificial intelligence is part of of the fourth industrial revolution.