New legislation set to modernize public sector services-Hayes
MEP Brian Hayes has today said that the passing of the e-Government Action plan 2016-2020 stands to greatly benefit Irish public service access, efficiency and transparency.
“In line with the goals set in an April 2016 Commission communication, the European Parliament has passed legislation which will further streamline online government services. The report which was presented for vote in plenary on Monday 15 May received my strong support and thankfully passed with ease.
“The plans predecessor which ran from 2011-2015 saw a large expansion of cross border accessibility and security with digital Government services across the EU, notably using technologies such as electronic signatures and Identification. The 2016-2020 plan intends to continue these efforts although with far more focus on benefitting citizens and businesses.
“With the new plan we will see faster and more efficient interactions with public administrations for businesses and citizens alike. Furthermore, the transparency, security and cost of such services will be positively impacted in a big way. It is clear that with the rapid advent of digitisation in all areas of life it is crucial that public services are not provided on an obsolete platform. Ultimately, the Action plan will serve to coordinate modernisation efforts and resources of public sector services EU-wide through outlining a strong series of principles.
“On accessibility, the ‘Digital by Default’ principle will be promoted whereby public sector services are offered digitally as the preferred option although the offline option will remain for the non-computer savvy. Single contact points or gateways providing all relevant information in one location will also be rolled in and the ‘Once only principle’ is hoped to avoid repetitive information requests from public services. Additionally, member states will be further encouraged to facilitate access to public sector online services through smart phones. Broadband access in rural areas is also expected to be expanded further.
“Transparency is set to be greatly improved upon by granting citizens and business greater access to control and view their data. Member states will also be encouraged to use e-Procurement in purchasing for public works which will contribute to not only the transparency of government spending but also efficiency.
“Within the guidelines of the plan, security will be taken very seriously with all branches of the plan taking measures far above the minimum requirements of data protection and privacy legislation. To achieve this, technologies such as e-Signatures, e-Identification and e-Authentication will be utilised to ensure that citizen information is secure.
“I stand very optimistic as to what this plan can achieve for Ireland and the broader EU. Irish citizens stand to see much of the tedious bureaucracy of the public sector reduced along with transparency, cost-effectiveness and a greater trust in privacy.
“The digital age is at last arriving fully to public sector services and its future is a bright one.
EU Parliament paves the way for new approach to Fintech – Hayes
Hands-on regulatory approach towards fintech needed in Ireland
Brian Hayes MEP today welcomed the adoption of a European Parliament resolution on Fintech (financial technology), the first report on the subject from any EU institution. Mr. Hayes was the lead negotiator for the EPP on the report.
“Today’s adoption by the European Parliament of the Fintech resolution represents an important step for the EU in getting to grips with the rapidly merging areas of finance and technology.
“The report offers clear recommendations to the Commission to put Europe on a path towards a system, which facilitates the use of the latest technology in financial services but also priorities financial stability.
“There is an urgency for Europe now to compete with other parts of the world on fintech. The US, China and Israel host more than half of the Top-10 largest FinTech companies. If Europe wants to remain competitive, rapid innovation should now be the norm.
“In Ireland, we need to embrace new financial technology (FinTech). We’ve done reasonably well so far but we’re still very far off reaching the full potential that this new digital finance world can offer. Look at the UK, look at Netherlands – they’ve created an innovative space where new financial technology solutions can flourish. They have done this through so-called ‘regulatory sandboxes’ which allow firms to test products before they go to market.
“I believe it’s time that the Central Bank, in collaboration with the Department of Finance, developed a regulatory sandbox for Irish financial firms to test new and innovative products. The great thing about a sandbox is that small businesses who are unauthorised can test their ideas before they go through the long authorisation process. The Parliament’s resolution explicitly calls for national regulators to develop controlled experimentation spaces to encourage new products.
“Last week China’s central bank established a fintech committee to study the impact of financial technology on financial markets. This sort of hands on approach is needed from the Central Bank of Ireland in order to face up to the reality of the opportunities and challenges that fintech offers.
“The EU is in the midst of its most radical plans for completing a Digital Single Market. Being part of this single market is so crucial for small fintech firms and we need to harness the benefits that this offers. A lot of work still needs to be done at EU level to catch up to the global fintech revolution. However, the Central Bank and Department of Finance should not wait for the EU to set the agenda, we have to be proactive if we want to make Ireland a real hub for EU fintech firms.”
House prices will be major focus of post-bailout surveillance mission – Hayes
Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs has confirmed in a letter to Brian Hayes MEP that the Commission is closely monitoring house prices in Ireland and will examine the issues as part of the Commission’s post-bailout surveillance mission which takes place today until Friday.
“Commissioner Moscovici has made it absolutely clear that the Commission considers the rising levels of house prices in Ireland a significant threat to the stability of our economy.
“Today begins the 7th post bailout surveillance mission to Ireland. It is very likely that housing will be the main issue of focus. Housing supply will be a persistent problem for many governments to come and we need to use all the expertise we can get to resolve it.
“Mr. Moscovici has rightly said that the only durable way to address the lack of affordable housing is to build an adequate supply. The government’s 2020 housing strategy is tackling this issue but it will obviously take time for new builds to be completed and to address persistent housing supply bottlenecks.
“The housing crisis has affected urban areas badly, particularly Dublin. Rents have skyrocketed due to the difficulty that many people face getting onto the property ladder. We want a stable rental market into the future but that can only come about if we have a modernised housing market. The two work hand in hand.
“One of the key issues for Dublin is the cost of construction. Planning rules are also putting a serious restriction on getting new builds started.
“It is important that we use the expertise from the Commission to determine what has worked in other EU Member States when developing a modern housing policy. Obviously, every country is unique but there is best practice that we can follow in certain areas.”