Is Greece Falling Behind in the E-Economy? What is to be Done?

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Contributor(s): Effie Bitrou, Dr Charalambos Tsekeris, Professor Calliope Spanou | The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted further – and indeed raised critically – the importance of digital connectivity and digital literacy for economic and societal resilience. From enabling teleworking during times of lock-downs to facilitating social contact with vulnerable or self-isolating individuals, digital connectivity and internet use have become essential prerequisites of everyday life. Even prior to the pandemic, Greece had been a laggard within the European Union with regard to its digital infrastructure, its internet penetration and its use of e-services (digital economy). As an example, the country ranks 27th out of the 28 EU Member States in the EU Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI 2020). The panel will draw on data from the latest wave of the World Internet Survey to discuss a number of issues related to this: the extent and patterns of internet use; the size of the e-economy and recent developments with regard to the provision of e-services; the digital divide among individuals, regions and socio-economic groups; digitalisation of government and public services; and questions concerning privacy risks and citizen’s rights. In this, the panel will consider how well Greece has responded to international developments in the digital economy in recent years and discuss the strategic priorities for it to do better in the future. Effie Bitrou is Head of Digital Banking at National Bank of Greece. In her current role, Effie is responsible of the continuous growth and development of NBG’s digital offering. Previously she led the digital product management and consumers digital banking teams. Before NBG, Effie held the position of Vice President at JPMorgan Asset Management in London, UK and was responsible of digital transformation programmes in Europe and Asia. From 2007 to 2013 Effie was a manager with Accenture UK, working in the Systems Integration practice for Retail and Banking space. Effie holds a BEng in Electrical and Computer Engineering from National University of Athens and a MSc in Information Systems Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Calliope Spanou is Professor of Administrative Science – Public Administration at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, Department of Political Science and Public Administration. She was elected by a special committee of the Hellenic Parliament and served as the Greek Ombudsman (2011-2015) while she had also served as Deputy Ombudsman (2003-11). She has extensive experience regarding administrative reform. Among other, she has cooperated with the OECD/SIGMA as an expert regarding public administration reform in various countries. Her research interests cover issues of public administration, civil, public policy, citizen-administration relations, Europeanization etc. She has published books and articles in Greek, English and French. Charalambos Tsekeris (PhD) is Research Fellow (Assistant Professor rank) on Digital Sociology at the National Centre for Social Research (Athens, Greece), and Professor Extraordinary at the School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University. He is also Academic Head at European Communication Institute, and Associate at the Anti-Corruption Centre for Education and Research, Stellenbosch University. Prof. Tsekeris is Principal Investigator of the World Internet Project-Greece and has authored more than 100 scholarly papers and one book from the Academy of Athens (also edited 3 books from Routledge). His current research involves the dynamics of digital society and economy in Greece. Vassilis Monastiriotis is an economist and economic geographer by training, specialising in three areas of Labour Economics, Economic Geography and Political Economy. He has significant policy engagement on all three areas, including appointments in Experts Committees (e.g., on Regional Incentives policy and on Minimum Wage policy in Greece) and work with international bodies such as the European Commission (DG Regio, DG EMPL, DG EAC), the CEFTA Secretariat and the EBRD. The Hellenic Observatory (@HO_LSE) is internationally recognised as one of the premier research centres on contemporary Greece and Cyprus. It engages in a range of activities, including developing and supporting academic and policy-related research; organisation of conferences, seminars and workshops; academic exchange through visiting fellowships and internships; as well as teaching at the graduate level through LSE's European Institute. Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEGreece

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