CORE Days 2022: Slavica Grkovska


Slavica Grkovska, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Good Governance, North Macedonia 

Esteemed guests, 

It is my distinct honour and pleasure to adress you at this international conference that underlines the importance of digitalization in advancing the economic development of a country, but also in advancing the qaulity of services provided by the central and local authorities. Being a deputy president of the Government in charge of good governance policies, 

I would like to emphasize that digital transformation of society, as well as efficient, transparent, and professional services for the citizens are my priority. That is why I would like to welcome this initiative offering excellent opportunity for international cooperation and exchange of experiences needed for fast progress and economic development of every society. Digital technology touches all aspects of our lives. It provides new opportunities to connect, and it improves the quality of living but also it is an excellent tool in combating corruption. 

Exactly this is the reason why digital transformation of the society is high on the agenda of the Government. Digitalization of public services is a precondition for building transparent and accountable institutions and quality public services that will meet the citizens’ needs. 

The digitalization will add quality to the public services, and it will significantly reduce the time needed for completion of the administrative procedures, and thus, the public administration and the institutions will become more efficient. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for the central and local power to closely cooperate in order to implement digitalization on each level. The quality of life of the citizens is one of the top priorities while the services provided on local level are key for improvement and advancement of the everyday functioning of the citizens. 

The primary objective of power decentralization and transferring large part of the competences from central to local level is to improve the everyday lives of the citizens. To advance the services in child-care, education, urbanism, utility services and several other areas under the authority of the municipalities. The mayors’ obligation, but also the obligation of all employees in the public sector is to be creative and while using digital technology to invest efforts in improving the services for the citizens. I would like to underline that all of us here, on both central and local level, as well as the employees in state administration and public sector are here for the citizens and not the other way around. 

Of course, it is necessary to have close cooperation with the business sector because this sector is an important stakeholder in the development and progress of any society. When speaking of digital transformation of the society, the Republic of North Macedonia concluded that it needs coordinated and harmonized approach on all levels. For that purpose, we established the National Council for Digital Transformation of the Society that, beside the ministers from the Ministry of Information Society and Administration, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Finance, and Ministry of Defence, involves representatives of the chambers of commerce and the local self-government units because it is not a political process but the society process and it is not the obligation of one government but for all. Only in this way, through close cooperation and consultation with all stakeholders, will we achieve progress. The Government of the Republic of North Macedonia and I myself commit to significantly increasing the range of electronic services thus increasing the institutions’ efficiency. 

Therefore, with the assistance of the Estonian Centre for International Cooperation and with the US we are defining the plan and procedure for introducing electronic ID that is of utmost importance for digitalization of the services and processes. Unfortunately, we are in the very beginning of this process, but the experience that Estonia and most of the European countries have, is our advantage. That is why all these shared experiences are particularly important. In the very end of my remarks, I would like to refer to another segment that is of great significance and is closely related to the digital transformation of the society. And that is TRUST. This process requires that the citizens trust the institutions. The citizens must trust the institutions that their data is protected, that they shall not be misused and that their privacy shall not be violated. That is why every country, parallel with the process of digital transformation, must work on cyber security and cyber resilience. This is especially imposed now, by the latest geopolitical developments because the aggression over Ukraine raised the need of joint activities and actions in cyber security and protection of digital data. 

We are all together in this process, both the central and local power, the business sector, the academia, the civil sector, the media, the whole region and that’s why I am encouraging a regional cooperation as an opportunity for much more comprehensive and coordinating activities. By investing joint efforts, ideas, and experiences, all of us together, can give significant contribution for accelerated and more successful processes in all areas, but especially digital transformation of our societies that will naturaly lead to the change of the mindset of our civil servants, of our culture of living and working, of total transformation of our behavior. Thank you