Keynote Speech at the PM² Alliance Conference 2020: “Effective & efficient tools such as the PM² methodology, are necessary to support our work and ultimately foster innovation and secure our resilience.”

“Dear conference participants from Europe and from around the world,

I would like to thank the PM² Alliance for inviting me to deliver this address today. It is a pleasure to be with you virtually, among so many experts in the field of project management and so many people interested in learning more about Europe’s PM² Project Management Methodology.

I have been informed by the conference organisers that more than 2000 registrations have been received ahead of the conference. This is truly exciting and proof of the broad appeal of the theme of this conference!

The conference agenda is rich with a great variety of interesting sessions and distinguished speakers. I have already picked several that my staff and I will be following in the coming days, such as the ‘Panel for PM² in the Public Administration’, the panel on ‘PM2 for EU funded projects’ and the sessions on “Trans-European Projects”.

Today, I join you here, not only as a Member of the European Parliament, but also as a professional who understands the transformative nature of EU funded projects and the importance of what the PM² Alliance approach can offer.  

As our EU founding father, Robert Schuman, once said ‘Europe will not be made all at once or according to a single plan’, because we all know by now that Europe is an ongoing project, we build on its foundations in order to make it stronger, and more united.

Allow me to briefly introduce myself and give you some information about my career which is relevant to today’s event. By education I am an economist and a lawyer. I practiced as an attorney in the United States, with a specialization in international financial transactions and banking law. But, more relevant to our event today, I spent most of my professional career dealing with the supervision, coordination, management and evaluation of European projects and proposals.

I have worked as an external expert for the evaluation, review and monitoring of proposals for the European Commission, and as a high-level manager in private consultancies in Belgium and Luxembourg. I was the Director of the EGNATIA EPIRUS Foundation, a non-profit organization based in N.W. Greece, which focused on sustainable development with the use of advance information technologies. For over 15 years, I set up proposals, managed and implemented a number of EU co-funded projects under various programs such as FP6, EuropAid, Asia Invest and IPA programs and Interreg.

Later on, as Deputy Mayor of the city of Ioannina in NW Greece, I was responsible for EU funded projects implemented by the municipality. When I served as an elected member of the Hellenic Parliament, I was shadow minister for Development and IT for the main opposition party, two sectors that are obviously strongly linked to the design, implementation and evaluation of European and national programs

In short, I would say that Project Management and the digital sphere are part of my entire career and that I know, from experience, the importance of efficient, flexible, workable and user-friendly project management-related tools for successful project implementation and correct decision-making.

I was pleased to read about how the PM² methodology contributed to the success of the WIFI4EU Project in Greece, and particularly on islands such as Tinos and Skiathos. The Wifi4EU vouchers are a concrete contribution towards the digital transformation of the public administration sector in Greece, as evidenced by the case of Tinos. The municipality of Skiathos has developed a digital strategy that focuses on information and communications technologies with the goal of making the critical infrastructure and services of the city — administration, education, healthcare, public safety, real estate, transportation and utilities — “more aware, interactive, and efficient”. PM² has provided tangible support to the initiation, planning and execution phases of both projects.

The PM² methodology enhances the ability and capacity to absorb EU funds, which is critical to all stakeholders so that they can take advantage of the many opportunities European projects have to offer.

Project Management has undoubtedly become an important tool over the last years in the European sphere and the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted further the importance of effective implementation, harmonisation, as well as digitalisation of policies and decision-making. It has also underlined the importance of digitalisation of public administration and eGovernment.

Project Management – and PM² in particular – has been singled out as an important enabler for the implementation of the European Interoperability Framework and the EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016–2020. Particularly, certain European Commission led projects managed with PM² could be proven to be critical in managing the pandemic, such as the Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information Project (EESSI) and the eHealth Network EU toolbox for COVID contact tracing and warning.

PM² is free and open source, thus anyone can use it, with the aim of supporting management and communication effectiveness of project work serving the EU, as well as its Member States and its citizens, with the involvement of internal and external stakeholders in the course of a project. This is a tool that could support Europeans, particularly at the level of public administration, in the course of this ‘digital decade’, as President VdL recently called it in her State of the Union address.

I am joining you here today, to underline the added-value that the adoption of the PM² project management methodology brings and can further bring in the completion of our projects and the support of the work conducted by our institutions, on the basis of our shared values and goals.

According to Aristotle “Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach.”

 We need to learn from the past, avoid making the same mistakes and build on the lessons learned, in order to be able to show to the rest of the world what Europe can do “one project at a time.”

Working in a structured and methodical way, we will unveil even more synergies based on our mutual interests and on what brings us together to achieve our common goals.

COVID-19 has provided us with a “rude awakening” about Europe’s weaknesses and with new-found opportunities of collaboration at the European level, for eg. data sharing in the health area and the creation of common guidelines regarding the restrictions imposed in the context of the pandemic.

As “open strategic autonomy” emerges as the new European geopolitical vision, it becomes increasingly important that we provide our citizens and businesses with borderless, interoperable, personalised, user-friendly, end-to-end products and services. Effective and efficient tools such as the  PM² methodology, are  necessary to support our work and ultimately foster innovation and secure our resilience.

With these thoughts, I wish you much success in your work at this important Conference and all the best for healthy and happy holidays.”

More information about the PM² Alliance and the PM² methodology here.