The Guest Blog

Guest post by Geert BOURGEOIS, Vice-Minister-President of the Flemish Government

ABSTRACT:

In his speech at the opening ceremony of the 20th Global Forum , held on 7 November 2011 at the Flemish Parliament in Brussels, Minister Geert Bourgeois, Vice-Minister-President of the Flemish Government stressed out the Citadel Statement, a pan-European declaration initiated by the Flemish Region during Belgian Presidency of the EU (2010) that aims to identify what local governments need to deliver to meet the vision set forth by EU Ministers in the Malmö Declaration during the Swedish Presidency of The EU (2009).

Citadel comes from “Citta Ideale”, Italian for the ‘ideal city’. Citta Ideale and Citadel fits perfectly with this statement ambition: to help local governments to provide better services and to achieve their goals by using modern technology.

The Citadel Statement urges the EU and national decision makers to provide tangible support for local eGovernment across Europe in 5 key areas:

  1. Common Architecture, Shared Services and Standards
  2. Open Data, Transparency and Personal Rights
  3. Citizen Participation and Involvement
  4. Privacy and Identification of Individuals
  5. Rural Inclusion

The Citadel Statement now resulted in the “Citadel on the Move” project. Citadel on the Move is a European project coordinated by the Flemish eGovernment administration with the co-operation of 15 partners (including Fondation EurActiv PoliTech as Dissemination Leader) and cities like Manchester, Gent, Issy and Athens.

Citadel on the Move will unite Europe’s leading local government organizations with Living Lab experts, ICT specialists and researchers and expert SMEs in a common effort to harness the power of ‘Open Data’ and User-Driven Innovation Systems to develop ‘high speed’ Mobile Applications that can be shared by citizens across Europe. In so doing, Citadel on the Move aims to help deliver on the key objectives of both Malmö and the Citadel Statement by empowering citizens to use open data to create ‘smart’ mobile applications that can be potentially shared across Europe cities – large and small.

The Flemish strategy is clear: eGovernment is not “digitizing bureaucracy”. Flanders wants to lower the administrative burdens and increase the government service level by using modern technology, changing from passive public service into proactive rights and as soon as possible to comply with the principle: “don’t ask what the government already knows”. Flanders is not only aiming to improve the efficiency of the government itself, the real goal is to improve education, environment, mobility and so on.

 

SPEECH: Minister Geert Bourgeois, Vice-Minister-President of the Flemish Government and Flemish Minister for Administrative Affairs, Local and Provincial Government, Civic Integration, Tourism and the Vlaamse Rand

TITLE: “Citta Ideale”: helping local governments to provide better services and to achieve their goals by using modern technology.

The Flemish Government is involved in the “Citadel Statement” and the “Citadel on the Move” European project co-funded by the European Commission.

The Citadel Statement

The Citadel Statement, we launched in December 2010 with the support of 64 organisations – including every major local government association in Europe – from over 200 cities across five continents. It urges the EU and national decision makers to provide tangible support for local eGovernment in five key areas:

  1. Common Architecture, Shared Services and Standards
  2. Open Data, Transparency and Personal Rights
  3. Citizen Participation and Involvement
  4. Privacy and Identification of Individuals
  5. Rural Inclusion

The launch of the Citadel Statement generated widespread interest across Europe from sponsor organizations and external observers. Senior officials at the European Commission have called the Statement “an excellent piece of work,” and have asked to “work with those supporting the Citadel Statement in order to re-use the knowledge and experience available via the various organizations of local and regional administrations.”

In most countries throughout Europe, local governments have the closest contact with citizens and businesses, and are the front players for the service delivery to them. The Citadel Statement is a pan-European declaration that aims to identify what local governments need to deliver to meet the vision set forth by EU Ministers in the Malmö Declaration.

The name Citadel Statement refers to the European preconference the Flemish government organized during the Belgian Presidency of the European Union in 2010. The event was organized in the conference centre ‘the Citadel Park’ in Ghent. More important is that Citadel comes from “Citta Ideale”, Italian for the ‘ideal city’. Citta Ideale and Citadel fits perfectly with our ambitions: to help local governments to provide better services and to achieve their goals by using modern technology.

The goals of the Citadel Statement are perceived to be very important, but until now each community, big and small, has to face this challenge and the problems on its own. As I am responsible both for eGovernment and for local communities in Flanders it is an obvious priority for this administration to support local communities in their eGovernment policy.

We are not only writing statements and planning but in a modest way we are already implementing the recommendations of the Citadel Statement. We have built some applications, which we offer for free to the communities. We have opened our contracts with ICT and telephony providers to the local governments so they can also profit from the good conditions because of the scale of the Flemish government.

 

Citadel on the move

The Citadel Statement now resulted in the “Citadel on the Move” project. Citadel on the Move is a European project coordinated by my eGovernment administration with the co-operation of 15 partners and cities like Manchester, Gent, Issy and Athens. It was developed with the intention to advance the Citadel Statement.

Citadel on the Move will unite Europe’s leading local government organizations with Living Lab experts, ICT specialists and researchers and expert SMEs in a common effort to harness the power of ‘Open Data’ and User-Driven Innovation Systems to develop ‘high speed’ Mobile Applications that can be shared by citizens across Europe. In so doing, Citadel on the Move aims to help deliver on the key objectives of both Malmö and the Citadel Statement by empowering citizens to use open data to create ‘smart’ mobile applications that can be potentially shared across Europe cities – large and small.

Nowadays, mobile phones and smart phones are widely used and hold one key to ensure e-inclusion for every European citizen. At the same time social media and the evolution towards more open data are rapidly joining together to unleash the tremendous innovation potential of citizens to build the type of mobile services they want and need. Three major gaps must be filled to realise this potential:

  • TECHNOLOGY: there is a need for standard mobile applications that citizens will be able to access easily and use anywhere,
  • INNOVATION: there is a need to create a specific link between the Living Labs, open data and the Mobile world
  • OPEN DATA: there is a need for standard templates to aggregate data from various sources and transform it into a publicly useable format – or move beyond ‘open data’ towards ‘open access.’

The goal of Citadel on the Move is to demonstrate that it is possible to combine open access data and mobile application tools to create ‘smart’, innovative citizen-generated services that can be used in differed European cities, big and small. The goal is to support, in a digital way, the European integration. In doing so, Citadel on the Move aims to help deliver on the key objectives of both Malmö and the Citadel Statement.

 

The vision of the Ministry about Digital Future in Flanders

The Flemish strategy is clear: eGovernment is not “digitizing bureaucracy”. We want to lower the administrative burdens and increase the government service level by using modern technology, changing from passive public service into proactive rights and as soon as possible comply with the principle: “don’t ask what the government already knows”. We are not only aiming to improve the efficiency of the government itself’ the real goal is to improve education, environment, mobility and so on. The government’s programme is already very ambitious in fields like e-learning, e-health, e-mobility. Conferences like this can inspire us to go further in that direction.

I am responsible for stimulating and supporting e-Goverment within the Flemish government and towards local governments. The Flemish eGovernment Authority, CORVE, is part of the soon to be established Flemish Information Authority and will continue to drive the overall innovation effort. The MAGDA platform from CORVE was a pioneer some years ago but now still integrates and shares data in a “classical way”. It will be transferred to an open innovation environment:

  • With respect for the sensitivity of the data and the privacy of the users,
  • Aware of the need for organizational mechanisms to guarantee the quality and “linkability” of the data,
  • And able to integrate data coming from different data sources.

 

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0
Author :
Print