ReSPA, with support of the European Commission, will continue to provide the Western Balkans with new initiatives
8 September 2020, Online
ReSPA organised an online Ministerial Dialogue which gathered distinguished participants – ReSPA Governing Board Members at Ministerial Level, representatives of the EU Commission, senior officials and experts.
In her welcoming address, Ms Ratka Sekulović, ReSPA Director, introduced the participants with the novelties in ReSPA such as the Collaborative Digital Western Balkans Platform launched at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, the WB Public Administration Awards – a unique initiative in the region that is jointly organised with the OECD/SIGMA, and ReSPA being awarded the "Effective CAF- USER" Label as a confirmation of its overall qualitative institutional performance.
The EU will continue to support the public administrations while the WB economies have to find the best solutions to be more responsive to their citizens
Mr Florian Hauser, Team Leader at Unit A3, Directorate-General Neighbourhood and Enlargement negotiations, European Commission, confirmed ReSPA's position as an important partner to the EU, which is even more visible in these challenging times.
Mr Hauser invited the WB governments to continue to work together to re-think the way they structured their organisations to enable successful collaboration and communication as the most important preconditions for the interoperable and supportive systems based on transparency and integrity. "Public administration is a difficult topic even in the EU, where we have realised its growing importance. Without good public administration, countries can't work well, which was more obvious in the crisis," said Mr Hauser.
"Analysis of economic and social consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic in WB administrations"
Ms Gordana Đurović, ReSPA's expert and Professor at the Faculty of Economy, Podgorica in this comprehensive analysis presented the sets of measures that all WB economies introduced, and highlighted that the banking sector should support the WB economies because they are vulnerable (especially those services-oriented) with a low level of resilience to the Covid-19 of public health systems and MSME&Es. Although all WB economies, like others, are facing a negative GDP she said that 2021 is quite promising. Presenting the EU support of the WB economies, Ms Đurović noted that it is systematised and well-organised.
As the key recommendations for strengthening of the public administration in time of crisis, she emphasised comprehensive public service capacity development, institutionalised early warning, emergency planning, networking and sharing and learning from successful practices, etc..
"ReSPA is a good partner to the WB governments in the implementation of all recommendations mentioned above by organising its activities to cooperate with all the WB administrations to support recovery and strengthening of WB administration capacities to emergencies" Ms Đurovic highlighted at the end of the presentation.
Western Balkan experience in coping with the pandemic
Mr Branko Ružić, the Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Serbia said that Serbian economy in the conditions of the pandemic demonstrates a high degree of resilience and that preserved stability thanks to a comprehensive set of economic measures and overall economic stability. Mr Ružić believes that the Serbian government will lead the economy on the path of sustainable and accelerated growth and provide citizens with further growth in living standards.
Ms Suzana Pribilović, the Minister of Public Administration, Montenegro emphasised that this crisis has shown the ability of Montenegrin government to adapt quickly to emergencies. Through the digital transformation of the public services which happened overnight, the Montenegrin government took advantage of the situation and invested tremendously in the infrastructure and security of the e-Government network.
Ms Senka Jujić, the Minister of Administration and Local self-government of the Republic of Srpska recalls the challenge the government of the Republic of Srpska has faced in coping with pandemic and confirmed that they will continue to collaborate with ReSPA and other institutions and governments not only in coping with the pandemic but in further perspectives.
Draft of Declaration on the Digital transformation – the guideline on how the WB administrations can regionally benefit from setting the standards, collaborative platforms, open government
Initiated during the last year's Ministerial Conference held in Skopje, the Declaration was developed by Mr Boris Koprivnikar, ReSPA's expert and Goran Pastrović, ReSPA Programme Manager.
Mr Koprivnikar presented the Draft of Declaration and explained how the Digital Collaborative Platform that ReSPA launched at the beginning of the crisis could effectively and promptly be implemented within WB administrations as a response to the Covid-19 or any other emergency. He emphasised the importance of the standards which can be combined and synchronised between different administrations in the region, enabling the WB to make decisions faster. Also, an efficient public administration environment is essential so that WB can deliver solutions, exchange effective support and good practices as well as open government to maintain accountability, transparency to expect the participation of the industry and individuals and to build trust in those measures.
ReSPA's next steps in supporting the Western Balkans with fresh ideas and new initiatives
"Being aware that digital transformation is a very complex issue and it doesn't relate only to technical/digital skills or knowledge, but also it covers important aspects such as innovations, agile management leadership, quality management, open government partnership, etc., we in ReSPA promote and provide to our stakeholders the new knowledge within this topic through our activities such as the Seasonal School on Digital Transformation. Also, we initiated very intensive communication with Directorate-General for Informatics (DG DIGIT) to support us with some novelties regarding Digital Transformation and e-Governances" said at the closing of the Dialogue Ms Ratka Sekulovic, ReSPA Director.