Minister Koritnik with Head of the Representation of European Commission in Slovenia on Cooperation in Field of Digitization and Coping with the Covid-19 Epidemic
On Wednesday, 15 April 2020, Minister of Public Administration Boštjan Koritnik held a videoconference with Zoran Stančič, Head of the European Commission Representation in Slovenia. They discussed cooperation between the Ministry of Public Administration and the Representation in the field of digitalization of public administration and measures to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic. They agreed that the cooperation is constructive and will continue in the future. The head of the representative office, Zoran Stančič, also praised the operation of e-Government during the epidemic.
The Ministry of Public Administration is already cooperating with the European Commission's Structural Reform Support Service (SRSS). With the help of the SRSS, we conducted workshops for public administration employees in the areas of measuring the performance of civil servants, an efficient salary system and joint public procurement in health care, where we exchanged experiences and good practices with selected EU Member States. In 2019, in cooperation with the OECD, we carried out a project with the SRSS to review and approach the systemic thinking in public procurement. A brochure with the results was issued in April 2020.
In the field of digitalisation, the interlocutors spoke mainly about the priorities of the digital age in the EU. They touched on the realization of the opportunities offered by the digital age within secure and ethical frameworks, ensuring EU technological sovereignty, investment in new technologies: blockchain technologies, high-performance computing, algorithms and tools for data exchange and data use. “Europe must become a global digital leader and strategically autonomous,” stressed Minister Koritnik.
Since the beginning of this term of office, the Ministry of Public Administration has been prioritizing the preparation of measures to prevent and mitigate the negative consequences of COVID-19. Under the auspices of our ministry, a call center for COVID-19 has been established since the very beginning of the outbreak. In the field of digitalisation, we provided equipment and remote access for many civil servants, thus enabling them to work from home. The head of the mission, Zoran Stančič, praised the operation of e-Government during the epidemic and the proactivity of the ministry. “The virus epidemic has shown how important digitalization is and how important it will be in the future,” the minister added.
In the last month, we have prepared a number of measures for the first legislative package for civil servants, the non-governmental sector, municipalities, residents and the field of public procurement, such as:
- establishment of a system of remuneration of employees and those active in critical activities in the public sector,
- exemption from payment for public services not provided,
- freezing the enforcement of contractual penalties for delays in the provision of supplies and services under contracts with the public sector and freezing certain administrative procedures,
- shortening payment deadlines for private suppliers from public funds,
- a 30% reduction in the salaries of officials during the epidemic,
- more flexible public procurement for municipalities and raising the thresholds for record procurement.
In the future, some activities carried out by the European Commission to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the areas of greater flexibility in the use of funds, mobilization of investments in health systems and financial assistance to the state may also help us.