Newsletter 15/2011 - Our South East Europe

South East Europe fosters open market for Information Society, by Ruzica Miskovic, eSEE Initiative Government Representative, Montenegro

When relevant South East European ministers signed a Joint Statement   on information society development, in June 2002, under the auspices of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, they were probably not aware of activities set in motion to make the movement from an industrial to information society.

The Electronic South East Europe (eSEE) Agenda, adopted that year, was an important step towards meeting numerous obligations in the form of concrete tasks on the path to knowledgebased economy. Establishment of institutional framework for development of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT); development of national policies and strategies, and drafting of action plans; endorsement of the law in this area and alignment with the European Union (EU) Directives; promotion of Information Society development; and support at all levels of e-governance – are just some of the activities that the region’s countries have been implementing along the lines of a continuous ICT development.

After a number of documents that followed, both at the regional and individual country level, ministers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and UNMIK/Kosovo signed the eSEE Agenda Plus (2007-2012) at the Ministerial Conference held in October 2007 in Sarajevo. This document represents a crown to meeting relevant obligations and reflects further confirmation of the countries from the region of their responsibility in creating environment conducive to Information Society for all, and their joint determination with regard to harmonization of region’s activities.

The achieved results and further continued implementation of activities confirm the  importance that the South East European (SEE) countries attribute to numerous obligations on their path to knowledge based economy, with the aim to overcome the gap at various levels of development.

Accepting the general framework for Information Society development in South East Europe, called “i2010 – European Information Society for growth and employment”, eSEE Agenda Plus defines the policy priorities for Information Society development, observing specificities of the region. The following three priority areas have been recognized:  Single SEE Information Space, Innovation and investment in ICT research and education, and Inclusive Information Society. 

In this respect, the countries of the region are continuously working on fostering development of information space, promoting an open and competitive market for Information Society and media. The importance of encouraging development of services offering safe access to numerous online contents has to be emphasized as well as adoption of national interoperability framework to facilitate entry into the European Union through compatibility and cooperation of systems, processes and human resources. 

Through strengthening of innovation and investment into ICT research and education, the focus is placed on continuous development of cooperation with private sector, thus contributing growth, and more and better quality jobs. A lot of work has already been done to improve the educational system through continuous changes of curricula; to bridge the generation and other gaps by alignment through ICT knowledge; as well as to develop academic and research network.

The focus of Inclusive Information Society is on equal opportunity technologies through active and substantial participation of all gender structures, various social and demographic groups, and digital divide; implementation of a set of basic and e-Government solutions; encouraging e-business development and overcoming all the related obstacles; introduction and development of programmes of digitalisation of cultural and historical heritage; as well as participation of citizens in all social issues, including the use of ICT in the electoral process.

We are witnessing fast technological development and the lack of capacities to keep the pace with the rapid progress in the area of ICT. 

With this in mind, and aware of the ambitiously set deadlines, representatives of the members of eSEE Working Group, supported by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) which has taken over the coordination and monitoring of these activities from the Stability Pact, prepared a proposal of new deadlines. The document is to be adopted by the ministers from the region, together with the Ministerial Statement, at the upcoming Ministerial Conference to be held in Tirana in November 2011. The revised eSEE Agenda Plus will be adopted for the period until 2016.

Ruzica Miskovic works for the Government of Montenegro as Advisor for International Cooperation and European Integradtion. She is the representative of Montenergo at the Eelectronic South East Europe Initiative. Ms Miskovic gradueted at the University of Montenegro – Faculty of Economics, Podgorica.   


Ruzica Miskovic, eSEE Initiative Government Representative, Montenegro (Photo: courtesy of Ms Miskovic)

Ruzica Miskovic, eSEE Initiative Government Representative, Montenegro (Photo: courtesy of Ms Miskovic)