Minister presents digitalisation priorities of EU presidency in Brussels

Brussels – Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik presented in Brussels on Thursday the priorities of the coming Slovenian EU presidency when it comes to digitalisation, artificial intelligence (AI) and cyber security. What he deems key are the AI, digital services and digital markets acts.

Koritnik held a number of meetings with the EU’s senior officials as part of his two-day visit to Brussels. During today’s meeting with Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the European Commission for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Koritnik highlighted the role of stepping up the development of a digital society in the EU to seize opportunities provided by information and communications technologies to improve quality of life for EU citizens, a press release by the ministry reads.

A digital package proposed by the European Commission is part of these efforts, aimed at granting digital rights to all EU citizens, Koritnik said as quoted by the ministry, adding that the green and digital transitions were the EU’s main priorities.

Asked what Slovenia could improve digitalisation-wise, the minister told Slovenian reporters in Brussels that the first step was to provide appropriate infrastructure, equip people with know-how and motivate them so that they could start using digital solutions.

Meeting Peter Javorčik, Director-General of General Secretariat of the Council of the EU for Transport, Energy and Environment, Koritnik presented to him the UNESCO-sponsored international AI research centre that was established in Ljubljana in October 2020.

With the help of the centre Slovenia intends to promote international cooperation in AI and sustainable development during its EU presidency in the second half of 2021, the minister added.

He also discussed AI with European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton, whom Koritnik met on Wednesday. The pair called for close cooperation in the implementation of the EU’s proposed AI horizontal regulation, the ministry said.

“It is key for the Slovenian presidency to create a high level of trust in AI, so we’ll strive to make sure that development and co-existence with AI-based systems are human-centred. Ensuring the highest ethical standards is of key importance in these efforts,” said the minister.

During his visit Koritnik also met representatives of the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and Slovenian MEPs.