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Austria’s digital strategy

In 2022, the government of Austria launched its digital driver’s license. Called the mobile driving license (mDLs), Austrian citizens can now access their driver’s license through their smartphones after registering for the digital ID.

Eventually, the Austrian federal government hopes to have as many ID cards and documents available on mobile phones as possible.

When I paid a courtesy visit on Austrian Ambassador Johann Brieger, among the areas of digital cooperation that we discussed is on the possible use of digital identity documents and e-governance platforms in the Philippines. 

Austria’s mDLs is part of ID Austria, which enables nationals to identify themselves securely online and use digital services and complete online transactions. The ID Austria is a further development of the mobile phone signature and citizen card.

It is also through ID Austria that the federal government aims to provide its citizens the capability to access their electronic medical records. Currently already available services for ID Austria holders are their vaccination certificates, medical examination results, and medical prescriptions. But the government hopes to further improve this and make it easier for patients and authorized health service providers — such as treating physicians, hospitals, care facilities and pharmacies — to access certain health data.

It is the goal of the federal government to make Austria one of the leading digital nations in the European Union — it ranks 10th of the 27 EU Member States in the 2022 edition of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) — and ensure that its citizens are able to fully utilize the benefits of digitalization in all aspects of their lives.

In fact, part of the Digital Austria 2050 Strategic Action Plan are initiatives targeted at improving digital skills for its citizens in general, its labor force, and the education sector. Austria believes that it will be their digital competitive advantage if its citizens have the necessary digital skills.

The digital skills targets in the action plan focus on three pillars. The first is the digital transformation of the educational system, which involves the optimization of digital skills developed within its national formal education systems, as well as the certification of digital skills development programs, and the creation of modern learning infrastructure at all levels of its economy and society. 

Second is on lifelong transfer of knowledge and skills. Here, the digital basic training will be specifically strengthened with interdisciplinary approaches in all areas of training and further education. This includes ensuring that education in STEM subjects are geared towards the requirements of business and science.

Finally, and more importantly, Austria wants to ensure that all its citizens are equipped with basic digital skills.

The Austrian government believes that digitalization played a crucial role in the nation’s successful economic recovery from the pandemic. As it moves forward with its digital transformation strategy, it is confident that its digitalization is key towards Austria’s growth and future proofing.

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