In the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, one of the priorities is digital Europe and the free flow of data. The Estonian Presidency uses digital solutions to respond to the challenges faced in the EU. The innovations to be showcased include self-driving transportation, a 360-degree virtual video dome, and the Digital Presidency initiative.
A Digital Presidency
Digital solutions influence every aspect of our society. From soil management to space exploration, the future of the world is digital! For the last 20 years, Estonia has witnessed the transformative effect of digitalisation on society. Many are now calling the Estonian Presidency 'the Digital Presidency' because of our ambition to realise the benefits of a digital society for every European. We are committed to doing our utmost to meet these expectations and to live up to the mantle of the Digital Presidency. Therefore we have organised our Digital Presidency around three pillars: digital policy, digital events and digital legacy. To find out more about the digital activities of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union visit the 'Digital Europe and the Free Movement of Data' page.
Showcasing the future
The future of the world is digital. Digital solutions influence every aspect of the future of society, from soil management to space exploration. During the Presidency, Estonia is using practical digital tools, such as the Presidency Gateway, to create a foundation for paper-free presidencies, something which would save time, money and valuable resources.
Practical applications of several futuristic technologies have been shown, including self-driving transport and a 360-degree virtual video dome. All this and much more is part of the experience of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Digital Presidency initative
In cooperation with the Council of the EU and our Trio Presidency partners, we have launched the Digital Presidency initiative, that has two essential outcomes. Firstly, to reduce the amount of paper documents, and secondly, encourage and strengthen the use of electronic identity in the work processes for both the Council Secretariat and the presidency. Due to the fact that the Estonian Presidency took place 6 months earlier than initially planned, the full benefits of this initiative will be felt by future Trio presidencies.
To pave the way for a future Digital Presidency, we have developed an IT solution called the Presidency Gateway, which is designed to aid the work of officials and includes several digital tools under one roof. The platform includes organisational information regarding events taking place in Estonia (including the agenda and venue), as well as a document repository for housing the most up-to-date versions of related documents, mitigating the need for sending them via e-mail. There will also be tools for carrying out interactive tasks such as polls and group work during the event itself.
Self-driving technology is sure to revolutionise the entire transport sector. Though the technology is still in its early phases, constant progress is being made in all aspects of it, including in the legislative field and its practical applications. For example, in Estonia, it is legal to test self-driving transport on public streets. The first project to feature self-driving buses was carried out during the second month of the Estonian Presidency, to showcase Estonia's commitment to a Digital Presidency through an advanced transportation system. Two self-driving shuttles travelled from the Tallinn city centre to the Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel) during the month of August. Riding on these buses was free for all users.
One of the main priorities of the Estonian Presidency is using technological progress and digital tools to improve the lives of everyday Europeans. To support the idea, a video projection dome was built into the atrium of the Council of the EU’s Justus Lipsius building for the duration of the Estonian Presidency. The idea of the video dome is to show how technology can connect people and nations. The dome is a place of relaxation and a refuge from the routine of the working day. Viewers can enjoy cinematic experiences from all over Europe while in the dome.
Estonian exhibition in Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel)
The best examples of Estonian innovation were on display in a dedicated exhibition hall in Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel). New technological solutions, products available on the market, and examples of Estonian digital society have been shown. Additionally, a data wall in Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel) and in the atrium of the Europa building in Brussels displayed real-time visual representations of public-sector and private-sector e-services at work.
Estonia is creating a new digital nation for global citizens by offering e-Residency, a government-issued digital identity that allows for location-independent businesses. With e-Residency, you can establish a company within a day, manage it online from anywhere in the world, open a bank account, have access to online payment providers, digitally sign documents and contracts, and declare taxes online. This means people around the world now have access to the award-winning digital services that Estonians have enjoyed for years.
e-Residency also brings benefits for the EU as a whole, because cross-border business is made easier, faster and safer, as is its administration, through the use of Estonia's advanced, secure, digi-ID technology, which brings the Digital Single Market closer to more people, and opens up a world of opportunity for entrepreneurs within and outside the EU. So far, more than 20 000 people from 137 different countries have applied for e-Residency.