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How Romania is tapping IT and communications field

By Petru Bogdan Cojocaru | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-11-13 08:47
Visitors observe smart products of Zhenshi Holding Group at a showroom in Jiaxing city's Tongxiang, Zhejiang province. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

Petru Bogdan Cojocaru, the minister of Communications and Information Society of Romania, shares his views with chinadaily.com.cn on how to better cooperate in the IT and communications field during the fifth World Internet Conference, which was held in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, last week.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Cyberspace Administration of the People's of China and the People's Government of Zhejiang province for the efforts they put into the organization of this conference.

The Romanian IT&C market is very dynamic and vibrant, reaching over 7 percent share in the Romanian GDP.

But we face a new challenge next year.

Romania will chair the European Union Council's Presidency for the first time since its accession to the union in 2007. In this capacity we consider we have been granted a great opportunity to closely collaborate with any party interested in tapping the benefits of the global IT&C field. 

The ministry I coordinate is operating on three major directions, these being closely linked and centered on the needs of the citizen.

First, the team within the Ministry of Communications and Information Society is aligned with all the priorities set by the European Union, taking on its role to design and strengthen, where appropriate, the national legislative framework. For instance, recent years have witnessed the development of the new technologies and the expansion of the internet, a fact that has prompted the European representatives to focus on increasing the level of online security. On a countrywide level, by means of the Ministry of Communications and Information Society, we have continued this approach by transposing the NIS Directive into Romanian legislation in order to increase the level of cyber security and be pro-active in the event of hacking attacks.

As the citizen is at the center of our measures, in addition to the transposition of the directives, I would like to recall the steps taken by the Ministry of Communications and Information Society regarding providing access to the people with disabilities to public information provided by the institutions through the internet and thus fulfilling one of the European Union’s concerns. 

We are currently regulating the field of e-commerce, which is constantly expanding countrywide, and are not only providing security for both the seller and the buyer, but are also through correct and coherent national legislation crossing borders and decreasing distances through the exchanges we operate.

The second category of activities carried out by the Ministry of Communications and Information Society is focused on development and bridging the gap in terms of internet access between urban and rural areas. Romania has some of the most performant fixed broadband networks. In 2017 the mobile broadband traffic doubled making our country one of the fastest evolving markets in the world with the highest internet speed; but despite these successes, there are also "white areas" nationwide, as we have defined them, where access to the internet is difficult due to infrastructure. Starting from here, the Ministry of Communications and Information Society is implementing two major projects to build the national broadband infrastructure in deprived areas, namely Ro-Net and NGN. The two major investments are essential not only to bridge the gap, but also to implement some major projects for the country, such as the digital transformation of the public administration.

In other words, if I were to summarize these two major directions of development managed by the Ministry of Communications I coordinate, we could say that we would like the relationship between the citizen and the public institution to be made through the internet, one click away, in the same way we wish the exchange of information between the government institutions, using all the new technologies as well.

I would like to point out that in this direction we have made great progress, working together with the institutions subordinated to the Ministry of Communications to achieve the goal of digitizing and enhancing electronic security. The teamwork, together with the Romanian Agency for the Digital Agenda, the National Cyber ​​Security Center, the National Institute for Research and Development in Informatics, the National Radio Society can be seen at national level, with the citizens already provided with modern and safe platforms and systems.

For example, the national procurement system, platforms such as Ghiseul.ro and the Single Electronic Contact Point, where the citizen can pay his fines, taxes and other government work using the internet without visiting the counters or filling in mountains of forms.

In the case of the institutions subordinated to the Ministry of Communications and Information Society, that I coordinate, I want to name the Romanian Postal Service, a company whose main shareholder is the government, with a tradition in postal services and over 24,000 employees.

Arriving to the third direction of the ministry, I would like to emphasize that we offer support to the other governmental structures to identify and write projects aimed at incorporating new technologies in all areas. It is my firm belief that digitalization effects all activities, which is why we implement real projects with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labor and Social Justice, the Ministry of Interior etc., all of which have at the center, the citizen and his/her needs.

For more than 10 years, we have been financing IT & C to set up new companies based on innovation and the development of new applications. At this moment we are looking to expand our partnerships to finance and develop production for these innovative ideas

I would like to admit that I am open to collectively identify new opportunities to expand and upgrade the communications networks, the smart solutions in line with the market requirements, as I am a believer of collaboration and teamwork. 

Due to its potential, Romania, as an open gateway to the European and international market, has committed to support through its policies the IT&C field and our priority is to keep working closely with everybody for our common goals. Let's make the most of this meeting through real projects that will bring development to both sides.

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