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EU Official Urges Reinforced Public Admin Amid AI Regulation, Budget Constraints

 |  March 26, 2024

In a recent interview, Elisa Ferreira, the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, expressed grave concerns over the impact of budget cuts on the efficiency and preparedness of public administrations across European Union (EU) countries.

Ferreira highlighted the crucial role of these administrations in facilitating the transition to a greener and more digital economy, emphasizing the need for reinforcement amidst ongoing financial constraints.

The austerity measures implemented during the eurozone crisis from 2009 to the mid-2010s have left public administrations grappling with reduced staffing and limited resources, hindering their ability to adapt to evolving challenges. Ferreira, speaking to Reuters, lamented the delayed adoption of new technologies and the inadequacy of training initiatives within public sectors, which are essential for driving the transition toward sustainability and digitalization.

“We are asking for the public administration to adapt, to do green budgeting, to use artificial intelligence… and often they don’t have the means to deliver,” Ferreira remarked, underlining the pressing need for support in enhancing administrative capacities.

Related: New Report Says AI Regulations Lag Behind Industry Advances

Despite efforts to expedite the permitting process for projects aimed at advancing clean technology production and securing critical material supplies, bureaucratic hurdles within public administrations remain a significant bottleneck. The EU has introduced new legislation to streamline project approvals; however, the effectiveness of these measures hinges on the administrative capabilities of member states.

To address these challenges, the European Commission has allocated substantial funding to bolster the capacities of EU countries in preparing for future transitions and implementing necessary reforms. With a seven-year fund amounting to 864 million euros ($936.1 million), the EU aims to provide training, share best practices, and offer project guidance to support member states in navigating the green and digital shifts.

In a recent development, the European Commission announced the selection of 170 projects for 2024, with a significant focus on initiatives related to the green transition and digitalization. Projects range from the production of sustainable aviation fuel in Estonia and Lithuania to targeted support for regions adversely affected by the green transition.

Moreover, the EU plans to equip financial supervisors from across member states with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the risks and opportunities presented by advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence. This initiative underscores the importance of ensuring regulatory preparedness in the financial sector amid rapid technological advancements.

In its commitment to promoting green budgeting, the EU aims to integrate environmental considerations into budgetary decisions to align with sustainability objectives effectively. By supporting public authorities in adopting environmentally conscious budgeting practices, the EU seeks to enhance its capacity to address pressing environmental challenges and foster a more sustainable future.

Source: Reuters