At the end March 2005, European Commission criticized Slovakia and nine other EU member states for failing to implement European legislation regulating the telecommunications market. Slovakia has two months to comply before the case is forwarded to the European Court of Justice. Slovak current telecommunications law is outside the EU norms designed to protect against privacy infringements, such as electronic advertisements (spam). It also warns that Slovakia’s market environment is not accessible enough to alternative network operators.
Slovakia belongs among less EU developed countries in telecommunications. At present, here is no implementation of alternative fixed telephony services (interconnected with the Slovak Telecom network), VoIP services through public fixed network are blocked by legal obstacles (since May 2000), carrier selection and carrier pre-selection services are not provided and local loop unbundling regime is not implemented in real. In previous three years, there were two activities of few members of parliament to submit legislation ensuring improvement of regulatory regime, but after first adoption by parliament it was given back to the parliament by veto of president – finally amendments were twice not approved after president veto (2002 and 2003).
Current telecommunication market is characterised by rapid decrease of customers in fixed network (current 23% of penetration represents status in 1996), duopoly regime in mobile networks (80% penetration) and by latest positions in EU in internet use, ADSL implementation (penetration 1%) and in use of eGovernment services (23rd position in EU-25).
Capgemini has published its 5th Report on the Development of eGovernment Services in the EU-25 and Norway, Iceland and Switzerland.
During 2004, the sophistication of online eGovernment services in the EU-25 reached 65%, in the EU-15, 72% (an annual increase of 5%, compared to 7% for the previous year). In the new EU member states the result was just 53%. Full availability of eGovernment services in the EU-25 reached 40%, in the EU-15, 46% and in the new member states just 29%.
From a total of 28 countries monitored in this study, Slovakia was ranked at 26 – the last two positions belong to Poland and Latvia.
The issues of “thinking and acting locally” have taken a back seat in the UK Government’s drive for regional democracy and representation in England. While London and a handful of other cities have opted for directly-elected Mayors, there’s been little appetite elsewhere for measures that are widely-perceived to constitute increased bureaucracy rather than increased service and accountability.
It’s interesting and refreshing then to see businesses voting at a local level to increase the taxes they pay ( a 1% increase on their business rates – a method by which local authorities levy an ‘open for business’ tax upon businesses in their area) – in return for increased services. Continue reading ‘Businesses vote to pay more tax for services: local issues’
Reverting to the publication of the comparative survey study about e-Government in Central Europe, let’s keep in mind that the Austrian Computer Society (OCG) will organise the third Eastern European eGov Days in Budapest on March 17-18 2005, in conjunction with the fourth Austrian eGov Days in Vienna (14-16 March 2005). The Eastern European eGov Days are jointly managed by the Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration.
The 2005 eGov days will address a number of topics including the opportunities and potentials existing for SMEs in doing business with government.
For more information:
Forum for European e-Public services
In August the Economist Intelligence Unit published a comparative survey study focused on introducing e-government in the Central Europe. The white paper style publication covers the new member states from Central Europe, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.
Seven weighted criteria were examined for each of the countries ranked, collectively comprising 35 separate qualitative and quantitative indicators – Connectivity and technology infrastructure, Business and legal environment, Education and skills base, Government policy and vision, E-democracy, Online services for citizens and for businesses. The survey methodology was based on in-depth interviews with programme managers and direct participants in the local development.
Continue reading ‘e-Government in Central Europe’