In the framework of the Lisbon Agenda European cities and regions as key driving forces for regional economical development have made serious efforts to develop eGovernment. This is done to face the major demand and needs for improving openness, cost-efficiency and quality of the public administrations and provision of public services, thus contributing to the regional and national competitiveness. Nevertheless, more efforts and better collaboration are still needed to accelerate efficient uptake of eGovernment, dissemination and utilization of the achieved experiences and good practices. eCitizen II is designed to support European cities and regions in their joint efforts to accelerate eGovernment through exploiting established networks, gained experiences and good practices to improve interaction between citizens and public authorities, better involving citizens in local decision-making and contributing to change in operational culture and attitudes within public administrations.
As a follow-up project, eCitizen II brings added-value to interregional eGovernment cooperation focusing on sharing the accumulated knowledge, experiences, best practices, and transferring them between the more advanced and less experienced cities and regions throughout Europe. This cooperation aims at stimulating new approaches and understanding in city and regional administrations of engaging with citizens and developing citizen-centred eServices. The project will involve decision- and policy-makers, demonstrate benefits of the eGovernment and the best eParticipation practices in different public sectors and identify future prospects to ensure support to further acceleration of eGovernment.
The project activities are designed to enhance direct collaboration, peer learning, sharing and transfering of developed eGovernment and eParticipation tools as well as identifying future trends between project partners. Capacities and knowledge of decision- and policy-makers, officials, experts, information officers and other relevant actors in local and regional administrations on sharing and adopting accumulated experiences and good practices on eGovernment and eParticipation will be enhanced. A Pan-European Best Practice Manual on eParticipation with recommendations for local and regional administrations will be developed to ensure dissemination and sustainability of the project results.
This three-year project is lead by the Baltic Institute of Finland. The partnership consists of eleven public administrations, cities and regions represented by Tampere from Finland, Sheffield from UK, Odense from Denmark, Tartu from Estonia, Flevoland from the Netherlands, South West Regional Authority from Ireland, Bologna from Italy, Patras from Greece, Miskolc from Hungary, Vysocina from Czech Republic, EUDEL from Spain.
The task of the eCitizen II project activities is to facilitate knowledge and best practices transfer of eparticipation between the cities and regions of Europe. The main method for knowledge transfer is international joint seminars and study tours. Project was launched by a kickoff seminar February 2010 in Tampere, Finland. In 2010 joint seminars and study visits also were organized to Patras, Greece and Stockholm, Sweden. In the 1st half of 2011 joint seminars and study visits take place in Prague and Vysocina region, Czech Republic and in Tartu, Estonia. In the 2n half of 2011 project joint seminars and study visits take place in Amsterdam and Almere, Flevoland region, Netherlands and in Odense, Denmark. In the 1st half of the 2012 project partenrs meet first for the joint seminars and study visit in Bologna, Italy. The topic was "Social Media: How to take challenge?"
Second joint meeting take place in Kerry County, Ireland.
The topic was: "@andWithCitizens: Communication, Engagement, Service Delivery & Co-Creation with the citizen in their space & on their terms.Transforming the Government-Citizen relationship for the Mobile, Open, Socially Networked era."
In the joint seminars the present state of art in eGovernment and particularly in development of inclusive citizencentered public services for the cities and regional administrations were introduced and discussed among the partners as well with experts of local universities and innovative ICT and social media companies. Both last period seminars evoked new ideas among the participating partner how to improve public participation in their cities and
regions by media tools.
Thanks to local and state elections during 2010-2012 in Europe demand for citizen motivation and engagement into local decisionmaking is one of the top priority issues for the public administrations. Key subject areas of the eCitizen II project, particularly challenges of improving interaction between citizens and public administration through eParticipation and social media prove to be high in the agenda for the partner cities and regions.
Partners have very actively disseminated project results in local and international events, sent out press releases and appeared in the media.
The Valma online participation tool from Tampere, Finland is successfully transferred to the Vysocina region, Czech Republic and 9 municipalities are using it currently.
The project main outcome, Pan-European manual of the best e-participation practices www.eparticipation.eu is functional and remarkable amount of the case studies is available online, uploaded by the project partners.