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Mariya Gabriel about the importance of technological development

The improvements should be applied throughout the Union

  • November 14, 2017 17:05
  • Author A. Petrov
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Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for digital economy and society, speaks about the development of EU regions when it comes to technological improvements and the protection of personal data.

Ms Gabriel, what will the benefits from the WiFi4EU initiative be for the European municipalities?

This is an innovative project and for the first time it will work directly with the municipalities. We have a budget of 120m Euro which will allow for 6 to 8 thousand municipalities to gain vouchers for free wi-fi in public places all over Europe. The municipalities will decide if they will be for parks, hospitals, or a tourist attraction. The principle will be”first come, first served”, therefore I rely on the active participation of all Bulgarian cities. But we well also watch for the geographical balance. Our goal is to be ready with the first 1000 vouchers by February next year. We are in the final phase of developing the application form and the website which municipalities can use for information about the specifics. I still have a lot of work with the operators because they have to be familiarized with the terms. I myself will demonstrate how to register and fill out an application form. The goal is to make it as simple as possible because the administrative capacity of a smaller municipality is not the same as the one of a bigger region.

It is very important for us that this project works and it also has something new in it – once registered it will be automatically registered in Europe. This means that in the following years this will attract investments, the creation of new services and making other part of Europe familiar with the beauty and the attractions of the Bulgarian municipalities. I rely heavily on so that the project works.

When will municipalities be able to apply for the project?

Our goal is to get the project working in February 2018 and about two months before, the municipalities will be able to familiarize themselves with the terms. All municipalities can join – big and small.

What will the European Commission do about the Personal Data Protection Regulation and are we really protected?

The European Commission stated that the protection of personal data is our major value and to be protected is something that every citizen wants. That is the reason why we have a common regulation which will apply from May 2018. It is very important to maintain information campaigns so that citizens can be sure that their personal data is protected on EU level. This regulation allows for the free movement of data throughout the Union.

Just about a month ago we applied something new – the free movement of non-personal data – it is the potential for the economy of data. Today, this is about 2% of the GDP of the Union. If we release it, it would bring 4% of the GDP, or 739 billion Euro. We all know how important this money can be for other sectors of the Union.

The administrative procedures in Bulgaria can be quite problematic for Bulgaria. Do you think, as a person for digitalization, that we a going in the right direction and the measures we take are enough so that we keep up with the technologies?

They are not only right, but also directed towards the future. We all have to be aware that without applying digitalization in the governing of the country, there cannot exist a single digital market. Electronic services in the administration mean transparency, efficiency and putting an end to the time every citizen wastes for the procedures. This can unlock the potential of citizens and of businesses, too. This is the direction the EU is taking.

We are all working on electronic identification to be implemented by September 2018. The leading principle is “once and for all” and here is Bulgaria, too. Bulgaria shows in a very positive way that we are aware of what is going on throughout the Union. If we want digitalization to be beneficial for the economy and the society we have to speed up the pace.



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