Initiatives of Electronic Democraty and Government in European Union’s and Lithuania’s Public Administration
Keywords:electronic government, electronic democracy, participatory democracy, information society, electronic public servines, information technologies.
Modern societies are characterised by different and constantly changing interests, views, attitudes and expectations,
and this is directly connected to the shifting idea of governance and the role of public administrations. In
order to increase the efficiency of governance, to get it closer to the people, to harmonize governmental decisions
with different interests, values and views, ideas of participatory democracy are gaining in popularity in different
countries. Draft European Constitution includes principles of both representative and participatory democracy;
issues and initiatives related to participatory democracy are set in the working documents of different European
institutions and various European countries.
In the context of participatory democracy, information technologies play an important role. They give the
possibility to get and transfer information in convenient and instant way, and as such, they can be successfully
employed in order to give possibility for citizens to learn about decisions that are taken by the authorities, as well
as to take part in the drafting of those decisions.
The concept of electronic democracy is related to e-government. Electronic government traditionally is
understood as providing of information and services of authorities via electronic channels; but as more comprehensive
term, it comprises different aspects of implementing of information and telecommunication technologies
in the public sector, as provision of services is inseparable from broader context: channels of services and communication,
competence of population and public servants, etc.
The article reviews initiatives carried on by European Union and Lithuanian public administration institutions,
such as development of electronic public services, channels and ways to provide the information and services,
implementation of mechanisms for communication between citizens and public institutions, training of state and
municipal servants. It examines the attempts to use the information technologies in promoting openness and
transparency of the institutions, developing relations with citizens both in rendering services and information and
hearing out their proposals and requests, and, what is extremely important, ensuring availability these new possibilities
for all social groups.
As an overview of different countries’ experience shows, projects of electronic government are popular in
different countries, although there is no universal and uniform model for its implementation – technological
processes may be the same, but activities, requirements and political stimuli can differ from one country to
another, both at the national and at the local levelektroninës However, processes under way in European Union
countries and in Lithuania have similar goals. Initiatives of public sector modernization, which involve implementation
of technological solutions, improvement of legal basis, training and re-training of public servants, leads to
new ways of interaction between the citizens and the governments. Projects of e-government help to involve citizens
into electronic communication, to make them familiar with new technological solutions and channels, to make
public institutions closer to them – and it is presumable that in adequate political culture and civil motivation these
people would be more ready to use information technologies to express their views and suggestions to authorities
as well. In this way, projects of public institutions that are directed simply to providing services and information online,
are directly related to broader process – electronic democracy, as they set ground to change the way in which
local residents communicate with the authorities, helps to involve new partners – citizens and businesses – to
governance processes, and to open up new avenues for the expression of public will.