Cooperation and Integration of Western Balkan Countries to access the EU Digital Single Market
Digital Skills + Trust and security
A session, dedicated to digital arts titled “Working together: collaborative coordinated and targeted digital skills and capacity building” was held as part of the Digital Summit.
The session was moderated by Zoja Kukić, a partner and member of the Board of SEE ICT Serbia. Šadi Matar, Advisor to the Minister of Communication and Transport of Bosnia and Herzegovina, talked about the strategies of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He said that the challenge was how to keep the IT experts in Bosnian and Herzegovina. As regards the finding of solutions for this problem, he underlined that the Government, in cooperation with the Universities and the NGO, was finding ways to keep the young IT experts in the country.
Representative from the Economic Chamber of Macedonia, also a manager and an entrepreneur in the IT sector, Valentina Taseva, underlined that the national economy needed IT qualified personnel. To that end, she pointed out the need to work on digital literacy in the whole region so as to produce experts and to reduce the shortage of qualified labour force.
Srini Gopalan, Member of the Board of Directors for Europe of Deutsche Telekom AG, said that digitalization of the Western Balkans was necessary and welcomed for the purpose of economic progress of the countries, underlining the digital skills which were the most needed and the most required, such as the programming, and the highly-educated experts in IT architecture and network researching.
Alexander Riedl, Acting Head of Unit, Digital Economy and Skills, DG CONNECT in the European Commission, stressed that EU market needed more experts in IT technology. He talked about EU also facing the shortage of qualified IT labour force and the challenge for overcoming this trend in both the EU and the Western Balkans, whereby the qualifications required by digital transformation were to be acquired. As for the future trends, he pointed out that the whole economy would be qualified as digital in 5-year time, expressing expectation that the European Union would share the positive practice and experience, through partnership and mutual dialogue, with the Western Balkan countries.
Former Head of Education and a British Executive Director for e-Skills at Becta from UK, Neil McLean, said that the solution to the shortage of IT qualified labour force on the long run meant that changes were necessary in the educational models, underlining that such changes needed to be more extensive and more comprehensive.
Speakers at the first session dedicated to digital skills agreed that when developing and improving the skills at the young people, what was to be paid attention to were the needs of the companies.
Valdrin Luka, Minister of Economic Development of Kosovo, pointed out that organizing the “Western Balkan Digital Summit” was an important step forward and, according to him, the EU assistance in the process of training the young people in acquiring the necessary skills was very significant.
Afternoon session at the Summit, covering the topic “Regional and International Partnerships for Safe and Secure Open Cyberspace, was moderated by Johan Hasse, Head of Sales in Secunet Security Networks.
As for the topic of safe and secure cyberspace, the panelists affirmed the thesis that safe and secure systems should be developed in parallel with the development of the digital transformation of the Western Balkans, in accordance with the EU standards.
To that end, Thomas Kremer, Sector for Privacy and Legal Compliance of the Board of Deutsche Telekom AG, pointed out that both development of digital capacities and safety and security needed partnership and joint initiatives. He underlined that governments were to ensure transparency when it was a matter of cyberattacks, since that would provide for broad participation in combating this phenomenon.
Maria Bada, Research Fellow at the Global Cyber Security Capacity Center at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, presented the results from a study showing that users in Macedonia and in the countries in the region blindly believed in Internet service. Bada pointed out the cooperation between the Ministry of Information Society and Administration and the World Bank on a joint project on national cyberspace security strategy, as an important step towards developing and building capacities for cyberspace security.
Minister of Public Administration of Montenegro, Suzana Pribilović, spoke about the experience of her country as regards cyberattacks during the constitution of the new government, as well as about the manners in which the Government of Montenegro dealt with this phenomenon. She agreed with the position that international cooperation was the biggest potential for achieving results and secure cyberspace throughout the whole region.
Jakub Boratynski, Head of Unit, Cyber Security and Digital Privacy at DG CONNECT, European Commission, talked about the role of EU in the fight against cybercrime and the abuse of digital and Internet communications. Boratynski stressed that EU Directives were solid basis for dealing with the cybercrime, however, each government individually was to take responsibility to invest in safety and security as regards cyber threats.
When talking at the panel session, Radoslav Rizov, Public Sector and Cyber Security Leader of Telelink, Republic of Bulgaria, said that countries from the region were to think about the possibility to establish national agencies on cyberspace security, while Dejan Abazovic, State Secretary at the Ministry of Public Administration of Montenegro, underlined the necessity to constantly update the security and protective mechanisms adequately to the development of the cyberspace.