Source: ICEDA Facebook page

Digital identity is very important to discuss in the digital age because without digital identity we will not be able to continue with the digital transformation of public services. Estonia’s road to digitization is a good example to follow and master in the local circumstances of our countries. This was stated at the panel “Dialogues for the Digital Agenda: Can we have quality electronic services without a digital identity?” by Mila Josifovska Danilovska, program manager – social accountability and human rights online at the Metamorphosis Foundation, writes

Speaking about the digital identity and its use when it comes to the implementation of new electronic services, Josifovska-Danilovska shared some of the state’s activities and its work in this regard.

She described the electronic services available in North Macedonia, the challenges and the way of functioning.

“Through the national portal for e-services, which we have in North Macedonia, and which was launched again and renewed in 2019/2020, citizens can receive certain electronic services. Unfortunately, with varying levels of sophistication, not all are entirely electronic. In order to be able to use the electronic services, they first need to register through this unique sign in the system where they enter the username and password. There are many controls in the background and after they finish, the Electronic Identity (E-ID) is created. With each registration of an electronic identity card, the Central Population Register provides a certain amount of personal data such as name, surname, date of birth, address and all personal data that you need to enter in order to receive services,” said Josifovska Danilovska.

She added that in order to be able to use any of these services through the national portal for electronic services or other integrated systems that are part of the portal, the person will definitely need to create an E-ID and have different levels of e-profiles that are managed through the portal, mainly low and high-level base.

“Simple (basic) is with a username and password and means that the physical identity has not yet been verified or authenticated through the registration process. This means that there is a limited number of e-services that a person can use with this basic user profile. Once their profile is verified, they become low-level ID users and can use more services. In order to achieve the highest level of ID card, they must also possess a digital signature certificate,” stressed Josifovska Danilovska.

Among other things, she underlined the cooperation of the Government of the country with Mastercard for various digital solutions aimed at advancing the digital economy of the country, as well as providing online business services.

As a step forward in the advancement of the country in this direction, she pointed out that representatives of the Government went on a study visit to Estonia, to see how the Estonian government encourages its citizens to use electronic identity cards.

“It is a country from which we have learned. Through ICEDA we have sent about twenty representatives of institutions, of the civil sector both at the national and local level, in order to see the example of Estonia, to learn from it and potentially, not copy it, but to they adapt it to the local circumstances in their countries”, stressed Josifovska Danilovska.

She emphasized that what she sees as wrong in this regard is the fact that this topic is not explained in a language understandable to the masses.

“We use big terms and words that are not understandable, and if we invite the citizens and they don’t come to us, we should go to them,” said Josifovska Danilovska.

She emphasized, among other things, that the institutions, the academy, the civil sector and the citizens should cooperate in order to make sustainable changes to this plan.

At this panel, the experiences of their countries were shared by Vangjush Stavro from the Ministry of Internal Affairs – Albania; Habit Hayredini from the Prime Minister’s Office – Kosovo; Aleksandra Džankić from the Ministry of Internal Affairs – Montenegro and Marija Sužić from the Institute for Development and Innovation – Serbia.

Then the Digital Agenda Observatory – Country Report and Roadmap for the Advancement of the Digital Agenda in Montenegro 2022 was presented.

Otherwise, this event was realized as part of the regional project “Increasing civic engagement in the digital agenda – ICEDA” in cooperation with the non-governmental organization – host, which is also part of the ICEDA network, NGO 35mm.

This network promotes better digital services in the Western Balkans. The European Union financially supports it and is partially co-financed by the Ministry of Public Administration of Montenegro. The event was attended by representatives of relevant institutions, civil society and other stakeholders from North Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro.

The event is designed to enable the exchange of knowledge and practices among regional leaders and initiate productive discussions and dialogue about the opportunities and challenges of using digital identity for public services.

You can follow the panel by clicking HERE.

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The project “Increasing Civic Engagement in the Digital Agenda – ICEDA” is co-financed by the European Union and implemented by the Metamorphosis Foundation, Open Data Kosovo (ODK), e-Governance Academy (eGA), Partners for Democratic Change Serbia, Lëvizja MJAFT, and NGO 35 MM.