Digital initiative aims to cut paper from public sector

The endless paperwork that generally hampers transactions in Greece’s public administration will soon be a thing of the past if a draft presidential decree foreseeing the exclusive use of electronic files in the public sector is approved.

The decree, which was signed by Deputy Administrative Reform Minister Manousos Voloudakis and Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras and has been submitted to the Council of State for perusal, aims to digitalize all existing documents and create databases which will be accessible to ministries and state organizations.

The initiative is in line with demands by Greece’s troika of international lenders to boost efficiency in the cumbersome public administration. It is to be implemented alongside a troika-imposed streamlining of the civil service, involving 15,000 layoffs by the end of next year.

Once the digitalized document scheme becomes operational, it is expected to be of benefit to citizens as well, as widely used documents such as birth certificates and other official documents will also be digitalized.

The decree also outlines security measures in a bid to ensure that such sensitive documents do not fall into the wrong hands.

Documents are to be categorized “top secret,” “confidential” and “restricted access” and will be accessible to officials according to their rank, by means of a code.