V4DIS--Visegrad Group for Developing Information Society V4DIS--Visegrad Group for Developing Information Society
V4DIS--Visegrad Group for Developing Information Society V4DIS--Visegrad Group for Developing Information Society April 6--8, 2008, Prague & Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic

Conference V4DIS 2008: Development of Information Society in Visegrad Countries--Final report


The international conference V4DIS (Visegrad Four for Developing Information Society) was held for the fifth time in the Congress Centre Aldis in Hradec Králové and the Municipal theatre in Hradec Králové in the days of 6th, 7th and 8th of April 2008. Representatives of public administration as well as various initiatives and non-governmental organizations from the V4 countries discussed here further development of information in the Visegrád region, exchanged valuable experience and presented chosen solutions from their countries.

The meeting of this year Visegrád conference was opened by the President of Senate of CR Přemysl Sobotka, under whose personal auspices the event was held (for the third time in the row, which underlines the importance, esteem and reputation the V4DIS conference gained), the public relations director of the International Visegrád Fund Jiri Sykora and the President of Vysočina Region Miloš Vystrčil. The crux of the programme lay (similarly to previous year) mainly in two important themes--e-government and e-tourism. In both cases a significant role was played by the chosen "best practices" from each V4 country. In the course of discussions about the question of using ICT technologies in the area of tourism and promotion of separate destinations as well as the whole region there were presented also new on-line services of the Visegrád group web, which is created with cooperation of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of all four countries. Detailed programme of the Conference can be found www.v4dis.eu.

The project V4DIS is at present a very important element of development of information society and mutual informedness of the representatives of public administration, parliaments as well as local and regional self-governments in the Visegrád Four countries and simultaneously it helps to promote mutual collaboration of EU as well as Visegrád within their common interests. This year, the V4DIS Conference in Hradec Králové was held for the fifth time. Alongside with official delegations from the Visegrad countries, it was also attended by representatives of a number of municipalities of V4 states–capital cities of Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw and Budapest as well as other towns such as for example Banská Bystrica, Banská Štiavnica, Hurbanovo, Ilava, Košice, Lučenec, Moldava nad Bodvou, Nitra, Nová Bošáca, Nová Dubnica, Nové Zámky, Šala, Žilina (Slovakia) Polish towns Cziestochowa, Kalisz, Lapy, Leczna, Walbrzych, Wroclaw and or Hungarian towns Encs and Karcag.

The main organizer of the V4DIS conference is Association Czech At, the partners are then the Union of Towns of Slovakia, Hungarian National Association of Local Authorities (TÖOSZ), Option.hu Technology Development and Cultural Service Provider Ltd. (Hungary), Polish Alfa Omega Foundation, National Association of Intelligent Settlements--ITOSz Hungary, University of Hradec Králové, Capital City Prague, City of Nyíregyháza (Hungary), City of Moldava nad Bodvou (Slovakia) and the City of Karcag (Hungary).

Overall, conference was visited by 345 participants from all of the V4 countries. They represented all levels of government, coming from ministries, and other state government bodies, regional governments and bodies as well as from municipalities. We are very pleased with growing number of Hungarian and Polish participants. The conference is firmly established in Slovakia (and Czech Republic of course) and due to the limited capacity and resources we regretfully have to choose the speakers and key participants.

V4DIS Conference 2008 successfully followed the previous years and the Conference stays the most significant activity in the area of development of information society platform for sharing experience of stakeholders in V4 countries, by which it achieved the set aims.

At the present time, V4DIS is an extremely important element in information society development and mutual exchange of information between representatives of public administration, parliaments and local and regional governments in the Visegrad Four countries. Furthermore, it serves to enhance mutual cooperation within the EU and Visegrad aimed at pursuing their common interests.

For the third time, the V4DIS conference took place under the personal auspices of Mr. Přemysl Sobotka, President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic.

Participants had the opportunity to meet a host of top politicians, including Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR; Ivan Langer, Minister of Interior of the CR. As for other significant guests we would like to mention for example Pavol Tarina, State Secretary General of Information Society, Office of Slovak Government Representative for Information Society (ÚSVIS) Bratislava, Radoslav Repa, Director of Department for Information and Electronic Services, UV SR, Bratislava Anna Dyttertová, Deputy Mayor of Bratislava, István Zachariaš, Lord of Mayor of Moldava (SK), Ján Beňo, Deputy of NKU SR, Bratislava, Vladimír Tóth, Deputy of NKU SR, Bratislava, Marian Minarovič, General Secretary of UM SR, Bratislava, Juraj Sabaka, President of iTAS, Bratislava, Lajos Szenasi, Hungarian embassy Prague, (HU), Csaba Madarász, Budapest, Option.hu, (HU), László Dobos, Deputy Mayor of Karcag (HU), László Bratu, Mayor of Encs (HU), prof. Andrzej Janicki, University of Warsaw (PL), Grzegorz Przybylski, University of Warsaw (PL), Teodor Kosiarski, Mayor of Leczna (PL).

Apart from the above mentioned there were also presented a number of other participants, among them Oldřich Vlasák, MEP and Chairman of the Union of Towns and Communities of the CR; several regional administrators. This year’s prominent guest from IVF was Jiří Sýkora, Public relations coordinator of the International Visegrad Fund, who together with Přemysl Sobotka, President of the Senate of the CR, and Miloš Vystrčil, President of the Vysočina Region, ceremonially opened the introductory programme block and held an opening presentation aimed at new on-line services of the Visegrad Fund and Visegrad Group.

"Every year I follow with great interest the meeting in Hradec Králové" said the President of Senate of the Parliament of CR Premysl Sobotka. Annually increasing participation in the conference in Hradec Králové proves that organisers of this event do not do their work in vain. E-Government issues are dealt here at the top level, not only in point of theory, but participation of people from regions, who apply this policy in real practice, also plays an important part. If there has ocurred any improvement in the matter of Czech eGovernment, it has happened thanks to enthusiasm of these people, for they enthusiastically and often in advance tested out their own projects in the struggle with the bureaucracy and thus they developed valuable incentives for solving these tasks at the national level. They deserve our respect for that."

"I personally follow the conference in Hradec Králové annually with great interest. As the President of the Czech Senate I am drawn in by two things. The first one is the Senate's interest in communication between state and citizens, decrease in bureaucratic load and increase in transparency of public administration. Many of our senators have joined big politics from municipal sphere and that is why they understand the idea of using informatics for efficient performance of public administration and providing first-rate and modern services for the citizens. The second part of my interest in the conference lies in participation of partners from Visegrad countries, which proves to me that regional cooperation and exchange of experience, and that is also within broader global processes, has deep sense."

On the occasion of this year’s V4DIS conference, Přemysl Sobotka, President of the Senate of the Czech Republic, awarded commemorative sheets as appraisal of the activities carried out by non-profit organisations and municipalities of the Visegrad region countries contributing to information society development in Project Laboratory.

Within the Conference there were traditionally announced winners of the sixth year of the international competition Eurocrest. The aim of this contest is to award the best internet sites of towns, municipalities and regions in European Visegrád region. This year there were awarded the following official web sites of the towns Czestochowa (Poland), Łęczna (Poland), Bratislava (Slovakia) and Jablonec nad Nisou (Czech Republic). Announcement of the results was as usually part of the gala evening programme of the Conference V4DIS in Hradec Králové. This project helped to contribute to mutual exchange of experience in using new information technologies by public administration in communication with citizens from V4 countries.

Following the already well-established competition Eurocrest, there was held a JuniorCrest Award aimed at young and talented IT enthusiasts who often hold a flag of new technologies in smaller municipalities. And moreover this contest makes the young people more interested in public matters. The Junior Crest Awards were bestowed upon Ms. Lubica Lalikova and Mr. Jan Kramar from the Slovak Republic, Mr. Milos Havlicek and Mr. Tomas Mitana from the Czech Republic and Mr. Lukasz Strychalski and Mr. Boguslaw Tolarz from Poland.

Both Eurocrest and JuniorCrest prize-winning projects were presented within the international programme of the V4DIS conference; however, the lectures also aroused interest among the participants of the concurrently running ISSS and LORIS conferences. All these projects were at the same time exhibited in the V4DIS project laboratory.

V4DIS was held concurrently with the ISSS/LORIS 2008 conference. Representatives of public administration, as well as various initiatives and non-governmental organisations, discussed further development of public administration information in the Visegrad region, exchanged valuable experience and presented selected solutions in their respective V4 countries.

Alongside with the support for education and overall international cooperation in information of public administration in V4 countries, the conference also focused on other two relevant topics--eGovernment and eTourism. In both cases, a key role was played by comparative presentations and selected "best practices" from each of V4 countries. As mentioned above, new web services of the Visegrad Group, were also presented during discussions about the use of ICT in eGovernment and eTourism and promotion of individual destinations and the entire region.

In addition, the experience from the last few years has confirmed that a renowned conference event is an ideal background for similar working meetings. Besides negotiating the planned agenda, the participants have also had the opportunity to meet a host of specialists and colleagues working for public administration in other countries and discuss aspects of building up information society in a much wider context.

Conference has been covered by not only specialized press but Czech television and Czech broadcasting company as well. Sections of conference and live interviews with some of the most important guests were broadcasted live and later published on www sites of these organizations.

Main media partners were from the Slovak Republic: SITA (Slovak News Agency), a magazine Verejná správa (Public Administration) and a newspaper OBECNÉ NOVINY, from the Czech Republic: a magazine Obec a finance (Municipality and Finance) and a magazine Veřejná správa (Public Administration) from Hungaria: TÖOSZ. Apart from the above mentioned media partners there were also a number of other articles about V4DIS conference published in municipal papers and on websites of participating cities also brought information about the conference and its outcomes (See the Supplement).

Thanks to the auspices of Mr. Premysl Sobotka, President of the Senate of the Czech Republic, and participation of other key politicians including prime minister and high representatives especially from municipalities from all Visegrád countries, awareness of the conference has been raised significantly.

The main organizer of the V4DIS conference is the Association Czech At and the partners were:

  • The Union of Towns of Slovakia
  • Hungarian National Association of Local Authorities--TÖOSZ
  • Option.hu Technology Development and Cultural Service Provider Ltd. (Hungary)
  • Alfa Omega Foundation (Poland)
  • National Association of Intelligent Settlements--ITOSz (Hungary)
  • University of Hradec Králové (Czech Republic)
  • Capital City of Prague (Czech Republic)
  • City of Nyíregyháza (Hungary)
  • City of Moldava nad Bodvou (Slovakia)
  • City of Karcag (Hungary)