E-Government and Digitalization

In order for the Recovery and Resilience Plan for Italy to be a success it is necessary to overcome the slowness and inefficiencies of the Italian Public Administration system. At the same time, the Recovery and Resilience Plan can play a crucial role in enhancing the effectiveness of Public Administration; something that is badly needed in Italy. To achieve this goal it is necessary, however, to first of all complete the process of full “dematerialisation” and of digital archiving of Public Administration documents, as well as to overcome the lack of interoperability of public digital services. What is needed is a solid “human resources strategy” in order to trigger a transformational change for Italian Public Administration.

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The contribution addresses the issue of access to justice, in the perspective of the sustainable development goal 16 of the United Nations. After a brief analysis of the territorial organization of Italian administrative justice, the author focuses on the innovations of the electronic administrative trial to assess to what extent it has facilitated access to justice. The contribution therefore evaluates what limits still exist in the electronic administrative trial in the perspective of reducing distances and, on the basis of these considerations, makes some proposals to mitigate the problem of excessive length of the trials.

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Within the development of artificial intelligence, a first sanding role is played by autonomous vehicles; these are supposed to revolutionize transports, with material economical, industrial and even social consequences. Several juridical issues are involved in this process, with particular reference to the allocation of liability, in order to provide a sufficient level of legal protection to the relevant interests at stake. This essay intends to focus the potential criminal risk related to programming, manufacturing and manning this kind of vehicles.

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The French Council of State rules that the existing threat to national security currently justifies the generalized retention of data. It affirms also that the possibility of accessing connection data in order to fight serious crime allows, at the present time, the constitutional requirements of preventing breaches of law and order, and the tracking down of authors of criminal offences to be ensured. However, after examining the conformity with EU law of French rules on the retention of connection data, and verifying that the implementation of EU law (as interpreted by the European Court of Justice) does not jeopardize the requirements of the French Constitution, the French Council of State orders the Government to reassess regularly the threat that exists in France so as to justify the generalized retention of data, and to submit the use of these same data by the intelligence services to clearance provided by an independent authority.

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Since the adoption of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, in the context of the European Union the so-called “good administration” has emerged as a new fundamental right: the right to good administration, as written and detailed in Article 41 of the EU Charter. As for its specific contents, there is a clear correspondence with the provisions of Article 97 of the Italian Constitution with respect to the need for impartiality and good performance/efficiency of the Public Administration: two principles of which the best expression is found in Law 241 of 1990 on administrative procedure. It is precisely in this perspective that modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can play a fundamental role in the context of public administration, especially in as far as the possibility to carry out an adequate and prompt investigation process during the administrative procedure is concerned.

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Self-certification is one of the main tools aimed at administrative simplification and, in particular, at de-bureaucratization of the relationship between the Public Administration and citizens, as it is aimed at reducing the burdens on citizens. Self-certification, which over the years has been the subject of many legislative changes, in Italy has recently been profoundly innovated by the measures adopted following the emergency situation caused by the Coronavirus, which have also extended the scope of application of the principle to relations between private individuals. Despite the many regulatory changes, however, the potential simplification that should result from self-certification is still severely limited in Italy. It will therefore be seen how self-certification – a tool created to relieve the bureaucratic burden on citizens – instead of representing the balance between guarantee, control and simplification, in some case produced new and heavy bureaucratic burdens to the detriment of private individuals, thus totally deviating from the purpose for which the institute itself should be intended.

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The judgment C-761/18 P appealing by Professor Päivi Leino-Sanberg the order of the General Court T-421/17, concerns the refusal of access decided by the European Parliament regarding the dissemination of the content of some trilogues (object themselves of the well-known De Capitani case T-540/15). Thus, the reasoning of the Court allows to make some reflections on the interest of the beneficiaries of the «right of access» to documents, as well the legal consequences of their publication online by a «Third party». Consequently, it leads to argue on the relationship between «administrative transparency» and «right to online access» in the age of digital administration.

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The contribution analyzes some critical issues in the procedures for entrusting the implementation of telematic booking systems for anti covid-19 vaccines. In particular, the Author emphasizes how the assignment to in-house companies has been unsuccessful. The Author also criticizes the choice of not reusing software solutions already developed for other public administrations. The comment concludes suggesting that the health emergency in progress should rather have led to make the best of the support that private operators could provide.

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The Draghi government has taken office at a time when the labour market, characterised by the decisive influence of information technologies and a high degree of mobility, is undergoing great changes. The emergence of the pandemic, which had been underway for almost a year when the Draghi government was sworn in, has hit the labour market with the destruction of jobs and the failure to create new ones, while at the same time accentuating the disruptive processes underway (IT, mobility). The phenomenon is supranational, and the European Union is acting on two levels: facing up to the emergency (SURE, Youth initiative, EU Next Generation, etc.) and intervening on the basis of a strategy focused on investment in information technologies. It is these technologies which are changing production processes and how trades and professions are carried out, reshaping the labour market while making it necessary for workers to upskill and have IT profiles and creating a strong asymmetry between workers and their employment prospects. The Premier’s speech and the government’s programme are taking this problem into account: on the one hand, they have announced reforms of the assegno di riallocazione reallocation allowance and of job centres, on the other hand, they are talking about strengthening infrastructure (broadband, 5G) and the transversality of the Digital Transition. All of which seems appropriate. The hope is that all this will be done in the European strategic context and that the employment market becomes the omnipresent pivot of the transversal transition.

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The essential points of the reasoning developed in this article are: Covid-19 has brought to the fore the role played by the administration as a bridge in the (conflictual) confrontation between the power of science and political power; the health emergency has cast light on the importance of the functioning of parliamentary institutions for the defence of democracy because the executive branch (objectively) gets the upper hand. The administration of the European Parliament is a very interesting case study in this respect because it has succeeded in coping with the emergency thanks to several factors; EPA implemented a programme of structural digitisation of the European Parliament in recent years. Finally, EPA worked for activating an administrative capacity to manage the “unprecedented measures” that had to be adopted: this capacity was achieved by carrying out the actions within the strict framework of the governance of the European Parliament and under its permanent scrutiny.

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