The Portuguese Minister for Modernisation of the State and Public Administration, Alexandra Leitão, and the Secretary of State for Innovation and Administrative Modernisation, Maria de Fátima Fonseca, have taken part in the online conference “Challenges and opportunities for public administrations in times of recovery”, organised by the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA). They discussed the main priorities of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union with regard to the modernisation of public administrations and the challenges and opportunities arising from the recovery and resilience plans.
In her pre-recorded speech, Alexandra Leitão paid particular attention to the Informal Meeting of European Union Public Administration Ministers, which is scheduled for June. She recalled that at this time “many of the recovery and resilience plans will already be under way and the public administration sector will be playing a critical role in the success of recovery and resilience”.
The Minister also emphasised the four major reforms that the Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan envisages in the field of public administration:
-digital public services that are simple, inclusive and secure for citizens and businesses (this reform is aimed at fostering a closer relationship between citizens and the State, redesigning the response of public services to users by means of the creation of the Single Digital Portal)
-a connected, secure and intelligent public administration (this aspect of the digital transformation will take into account the challenges associated with the cloud, data science and cybersecurity)
-functional and organic reform of the public administration
-a public administration with the capacities to create public value (which includes raising the level of public employees’ qualifications and skills, in particular digital skills)
According to the speaker, as a member of the Government, the present situation means that it is more important than ever “to pass on the message that, in the 21st century, the public administration sector must be prepared to respond to the needs of those who live, work and invest in our countries”.
In conclusion, Alexandra Leitão made reference to the concept of solidarity as a founding value of the European Union, revealing her conviction that by combining solidarity with resilience the “European Union will manage to emerge from this crisis stronger and even more united”.
When the Secretary of State addressed the conference, she took the opportunity to underline that “the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union are perfectly aligned with the strategy drafted by the Portuguese Government for innovation and modernisation in the public administration”, along its four axes: investing in people; developing management; exploiting technology; and strengthening proximity.
Maria de Fátima Fonseca also stressed that the Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan “provides for unprecedented investment in the modernisation of the public administration”, with a significant slice being attributed to the “digital transformation of public services”.
The conference was officially opened by the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, who underscored the idea that “a high-quality public administration is indispensable for the economic recovery, a green and digital transition, and a strong and resilient Europe”.
More information on the conference is available here.