The case of E-Government for the Balkans in the example on E-Estonia as a factor of economic growth and development

Essay, 2017

29 Pages, Grade: 1,7


Table of contents

The importance of radical change

Theoretical Basis
Definition of e-government
National ways to an e-Government
Examples of comprehensive E-Government implementation

The story of E-Estonia
Overview of Governmental Electronic Services in Estonia. Since 1996: e-Banking
Since 2000: e-Taxes, m-Parking, e-Cabinet Since 2001: e-Geoportal, X-road
Since 2003: gateway to E-Estonia, e-School Since 2004: e-Ticket
Since 2005: i-Voting, e-police
Since 2006 : e-Notary, e-Business register Since 2008: e-Health
Since 2010: e-Prescriptions Since 2014: e-Residency Future ambition of E-Estonia Cybersecurity:
Data embassy:
Virtual currency (Estcoin)
Finnish-Estonian cross border data exchange.

Analysis of e-government implementation in the Balkans

Estonian e-government a role model for the Balkan countries? Closing remarks

1 Introduction

Nowadays government administration has become outdated. The paper based administration has become too slow for nowadays speed of services and shows an immense need for innovation. Since the introduction of the internet and information technology, society shifted the way we engage with each other. Where the private sector managed to restructure business, governments haven’t managed to shift towards a more effective use of resources and time. One of the first countries to introduce a different mindset on how a government should operate was Estonia. This approach of a shift treating a citizen as a consumer and on the other hand seeing government as a producer, rather than just executor had an immense impact on the country. This approach on being a service oriented government had proven itself as reliable and made Estonia to a leading technology hub worldwide. This concept, of restructuring a state by having an effective government is transferable to the fairly new Western Balkan states. The goal of this essay is to measure the possible impact of E-Governmant for economic growth, prosperity and development for the relatively poor Balkan states.

This essay is conducted as following:

1) Introduction to the importance of the topic
2) Theoretical basis of e-Government and successful implementations
3) The story of E-Estonia
4) Analysis of implementation in the Balkans
5) Closing remarks

The importance of radical change

In recent years, digitalization of the outdated private and public sectors is getting more important. New disruptive technologies like blockchain are changing our coexistence in society and are moving us to develop ever faster with information technology. Some areas are already affected the cryptocurrency market is challenging the status quo of state run currencies.

In this age of constant change, a digitalisation of society is inevitable. Some countries, including Estonia, Sweden, Israel and Austria have recognised the potential of digitalization and are the leading examples of proactive governmental reforms towards a more efficient, time and resource saving government. Others on the other hand are non-conceptual and develop only certain areas of government with IT. This paper aims to present best practises of E-Government and analyse the possibilities for the small Balkan states to make a radical change in the way Estonian government did it.

2 Theoretical Basis

Figure 1. Heeks, Richard 2008

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Before starting an analysis of how a digital government can shift a country's economy for growth and prosperity, E-Government should be clearly defined and its field of competence restricted. Additionally instruments of governmental interference in building an electronic government will be explained. Thirdly an overview of 4 empirical examples from Europe and Israel will be presented.

Definition of e-government

Definitions of e -government range from “the use of information technology to free movement of information to overcome the physical bounds of traditional paper and physical based systems” (Gordon:2002) to “the use of technology to enhance the access to and delivery of government services to benefit citizens, business partners and employees (Gordon:2002)”. The common theme behind these definitions is that e-government involves the automation or computerization of existing paper-based procedures that will prompt new styles of leadership, new ways of debating and deciding strategies, new ways of transacting business, new ways of listening to citizens and communities, and new ways of organizing and delivering information.

Ultimately, e-government aims to enhance access to and delivery of government services to benefit citizens. More important, it aims to help strengthen government’s drive toward effective governance and increased transparency to better manage a country’s social and economic resources for development.

The key to e-government is the establishment of a long-term, organization-wide strategy to constantly improve operations with the end in view of fulfilling citizen needs by transforming internal operations such as staffing, technology, processes and workflow management.

Thus, e-government should result in the efficient and swift delivery of goods and services to citizens, businesses, government employees and agencies. To citizens and businesses, e-government would mean the simplification of procedures and streamlining of the approval process. To government employees and agencies, it would mean the facilitation of cross-agency coordination and collaboration to ensure appropriate and timely decision-making.

There are three main domains of e-government, illustrated in Figure 1, namely Improving government processes via eAdministration, Connecting citizens via eServices and building external interactions via eSociety. (Pascual: 2007)

National ways to an e-Government

Digitalisation offers new possibilities to improve quality of the life of citizens, to grow in participation in democratic processes and to increase competitiveness in markets. The governmental role is to develop basic conditions and standards for development of digitalisation in a certain territory. There are 4 ways a government can conduct a successful national digital transformation: 1) a political digital strategy with a broad and fast internet infrastructure, 2) a systematic growth in digital competence via education 3) By building faster and better accessible network infrastructures. 4) By conducting de-facto digital standards and applications. (Starmann, C. G. et. al: 2017, Bertelsmann Stiftung)

1) Political digital strategy: For a digital transformation to be successful, a superordinate political digital strategy is inevitable. Such a digital strategy should include a clear vision with concrete goals and instruments in achieving objectives. In the best scenario, a clear strategy would conclude in conducive circumstances for digital services to develop and political pressure to act both for public and private sectors. (Starmann, C. G. et. al: 2017, Bertelsmann Stiftung)
2) Network Infrastructure: The Access to a nationwide high-performance, resilient and cost-efficient internet infrastructure is the necessary condition and statutory guarantee for equal chances in the digital world for everyone. There is no way around nation-wide fiber-optic networks and mobile broadbands. (Starmann, C. G. et. al: 2017, Bertelsmann Stiftung)
3) Digital competence: To use the full potential of digitalisation in a society, governments need to invest in the IT education of all age groups. There is a potential danger of digital divide if these measures aren’t taken. (Starmann, C. G. et. al: 2017, Bertelsmann Stiftung)
4) Digital de-facto standards in authentication and applications: The spread of safe, user-friendly and modern systems as a standard in electronic communication is the basis of acceptance of digitalisation. As an example, the de-facto standards are authentication systems or applications in the area of electronic Government services. (Starmann, C. G. et. al: 2017, Bertelsmann Stiftung)

Examples of comprehensive E-Government implementation

1. Estonia:

The smallest of the 3 Baltic states Estonia is the leading country in E-Governance worldwide. It made an exceptional transformation from a post-sovietic to a modern country by it’s future-oriented political elite, an entrepreneurial and experiment friendly business environment as well as a society with high ICT skills. The backbone of Estonia’s digital government is the decentralized X-road system. This IT system enables to connect the 170 public institutions and their databases with each other and combine it with the private sector telecommunication companies and banks. This enables to access 99% of governmental services 24/7 for the 1.3 Million Estonians. Apart from that, in 2005 Estonia was the only country in the world to have completed parliamentary elections with an electronic voting system, where 30% of it’s inhabitants voted online. (Starmann C.G./ Klug P/ Hansberg S./ Dr. Fisher S./ Wiedemann M.: 2017, Bertelsmann Stiftung)

2. Sweden:

The characteristics of the swedish digital process includes a first-class network infrastructure, a close cooperation between the participating stakeholders like governmental organisations, civil society and business as well as a dynamic company culture with Stockholm as a so called “Unicorn” factory. The swedish digital strategy is a strongly user oriented one and shows how a country with a density of only 22 Inhabitants per km² can use digitalisation to enable equal opportunities for its regions and non-urban areas. Most notably, Sweden is a leader with it’s E-Health system including e-medical records and e-medical receipts. This electronic health services are used by 90% of Sweden's 9.8 million inhabitants. (Starmann C.G./ Klug P/ Hansberg S./ Dr. Fisher S./ Wiedemann M.: 2017, Bertelsmann Stiftung)

3. Israel:

A fast growing digital economy and a strong entrepreneurial culture markes Israel as the Start-up nation. It’s the world's second tech-hub after the silicon valley. The active state support of innovation has created a thriving eco-system and created successful startup incubators, accelerators and a world class network infrastructure by direct investments into founders. This resulted in successful companies like the application “Waze” or news service “Viber”. Israel stands out with strong innovation in security & protection. It’s the world's second biggest exporter of cyber security software. (Starmann C.G./ Klug P/ Hansberg S./ Dr. Fisher S./ Wiedemann M.: 2017, Bertelsmann Stiftung)

4. Austria:

The strength of the alpine republic is it’s high authentication and application standards in the public sector. E-Government in Austria is a lived daily routine. Citizens and businesses profit from smart authentication methods (like mobile signature) and a fast & reliable governmental e-administration with strongly advanced applications. Now Austria is investing strongly in growing IT competence via education for all age groups. (Starmann C.G./ Klug P/ Hansberg S./ Dr. Fisher S./ Wiedemann M.: 2017, Bertelsmann Stiftung)

3 The story of E-Estonia

Estonia regained its independence in 1991 after 50 years of Soviet Occupation. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, less than half its population had a telephone line and it’s only independent link to the outside world was a Finnish mobile phone concealed in the foreign ministry. (cf. Kumar:2013)

Two decades later, it became a world leader in technology. In 2007 it became the first country to allow online voting in a general election. It has among the world’s fastest broadband speeds and holds the record for start-ups per person.

Its 1.3m citizens pay for parking spaces with their mobile phones and have their health records are stored in the digital cloud. Filing an annual tax return online, as 95% of Estonians do, takes about five minutes. So how did the smallest Baltic state develop such a strong tech culture?

The foundation was laid in 1992 when Mart Laar, Estonia’s prime minister at the time, defibrillated the flatlining economy. In less than two years his young government (average age: 35) gave Estonia a flat income-tax, free trade, sound money and privatisation. New businesses could be registered smoothly and without delays. Feeble infrastructure, a legacy of the Soviet era, meant that the political class began with a clean sheet. When Finland decided to upgrade to digital phone connections, it offered its archaic 1970s analogue telephone-exchange to Estonia for free. Estonia declined the proposal and built a digital system of its own. Similarly, the country went from having no land registry to creating a paperless one. Not saddled with legacy technology, the country's young ministers put their faith in the internet. (cf. Kumar:2013)

A nationwide project to equip classrooms with computers followed and by 1998 all schools were online. In 2000, when the government declared internet access to be a human right, the web spread into the boondocks. Free Wi-Fi became commonplace. Rubber stamps, carbon paper and long queues gave way to “e-government”. The private sector followed: the sale of Skype to eBay in 2005, for $2.6 billion, created a new class of Estonian investors, who made millions of euros from their shareholdings—and have been putting their experience, and their windfalls, to good use. Today Tehnopol, a business hub in Tallinn, the perky capital, houses more than 150 tech companies. High-tech industries now account for about 15% of GDP. This shows how important investment in high tech can be to seize of the technology market to solve global problems. (cf. Kumar:2013)


Excerpt out of 29 pages


The case of E-Government for the Balkans in the example on E-Estonia as a factor of economic growth and development
University of Passau
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
e-goverment, e-gov, estonia, croatia, serbia, bosnia, balkans, technology
Quote paper
B. A. Vaidotas Norkus (Author), 2017, The case of E-Government for the Balkans in the example on E-Estonia as a factor of economic growth and development, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: The case of E-Government for the Balkans in the example on E-Estonia as a factor of economic growth and development

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free