Boštjan Koritnik, the Minister of Public Administration, is on a two-day official visit to Brussels in preparation for the Slovenian Presidency of the EU Council in 2021. On the first day of his visit, he met with the EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, representatives of the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and Slovenian members of the European Parliament. The purpose of the meeting was to present the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency in the field of digitisation or digital technologies, artificial intelligence and cyber security.
Minister Boštjan Koritnik and Commissioner Thierry Breton called for close cooperation in the implementation of the Horizontal Act on Artificial Intelligence, published in April 2021, which will establish a general framework for further regulation of artificial intelligence, formally define and delineate it according to risks. “It is crucial for the Slovenian Presidency to establish a high level of confidence in artificial intelligence, that is why we will strive to ensure that development and coexistence with systems based on artificial intelligence are human-focused. Ensuring the highest ethical standards is of paramount importance,” stressed the Minister.
Minister Koritnik took advantage of the opportunity and presented to the Commissioner the events that the Ministry of Public Administration is preparing during the Slovenian Presidency to the Council of EU. One of them is entitled “EU as a community of people”, which will take place on 8 July 2021 and will aim to discuss the digitisation of cities and villages. In September, Slovenia will host two extremely important conferences as part of its Presidency: on 2 and 3 September a conference on cybersecurity, and on 14 and 15 September a conference in the field of artificial intelligence. Both conferences in September will be organised in partnership with the European Commission.
On the first day of his visit, Minister Boštjan Koritnik also met Cristian Silvium Buşoi, Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Telecommunications and Energy. Among other things, they discussed the infrastructure needed for accelerated introduction of artificial intelligence. This includes connectivity (5G) as well as data. As an example of good practice in the EU, the Minister specifically highlighted the infrastructure for open access to public sector data, i. e. the OPSI portal – Open Data of Slovenia.
At the end of the day, the Minister met with Slovenian Members of the European Parliament followed. The meeting was attended by Franc Bogovič, Tanja Fajon, Irena Joveva, Ljudmila Novak and Milan Zver. In addition to the priorities of the Slovenian EU Council Presidency, the Minister presented to them the Public Call for Smart Cities and Community Building demonstration projects (JR PMIS), which was announced at the Ministry of Public Administration in February 2021 and the deadline for applications in the first round has just expired.
The purpose of the call is to accelerate the introduction of innovative solutions in the field of the digitisation of municipalities, which will enable better management, communication, proactive problem solving, coordinating resources and processes for rapid response, minimising the consequences of unforeseen events and natural disasters and thus improving public services for citizens and other users. The value of the tender is 8 million euros.