Conclusions of the Prime Minister of Estonia Jüri Ratas after the Tallinn Digital Summit

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  • 06/10/2017 12:29

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Tallinn at sunset
Conclusions from the Prime Minister of Estonia, Jüri Ratas, on the future of government, economy and society after the Tallinn Digital Summit (photo: Evgeni Nikolaevski/EU2017EE)

Prime Minister of Estonia Jüri Ratas has published conclusions from the Tallinn Digital Summit, which are going to be discussed by the European Union leaders at the next European Council taking place on 19-20 October in Brussels.

Session 1: The Future of Government

We should bring government and the public sector into the digital age to improve public services for citizens and businesses, contain costs and promote innovation.

  • We should make it possible to digitally conduct all government proceedings involved in the free movement of people, capital, goods and services within the single market. Our primary focus should be in the areas of mobility (e.g. establishing connected and automated corridors), health (e.g. enabling personalised medicine) and energy (e.g. use of smart technologies for energy efficiency).
  • We should progressively transform our institutions to meet the challenges brought about by the digital age. We should introduce principles and measures, such as once-only or one-stop government, into the digitalisation of our national administrations to facilitate interoperability and cross-border digital public services. Digital services and infrastructure, such as a secure and trusted digital identity, should be accessible to every EU citizen, regardless of age or socioeconomic background. 
  • Our public sector should facilitate the digital transformation of our societies by leading in the use of electronic and innovative procurement and making all communication between public authorities, businesses and citizens digital, and in introducing digital practices and services as default options (e.g. e-invoicing, digital mailbox). Public administrations should lead the way by becoming enablers and (early) adopters of new and breakthrough technology.

We should make Europe a leader in cybersecurity by 2025, in order to ensure the trust, confidence, and protection of our citizens, consumers and enterprises online and to enable a free and law-governed internet. 

  • We need to shore up the integrity of our free and democratic societies in the digital age, by protecting citizens’ constitutional rights, freedoms and security online as well as the integrity and legitimacy of democratic processes, in our elections in particular. 
  • Europe needs a common European approach to cybersecurity. Europe has to function as a single European cyberspace and a single cybersecurity market, including in terms of world-class and state-of-the-art security certification and joint standards, operational capacity, and collective crisis response. Thus, we must improve our national and joint preparedness, crisis-management capabilities as well as incident reporting and analysis. Further cooperation is also called for in the area of defense, including active defense.
  • Among other measures, we need to establish and coordinate educational and awareness-raising campaigns fostering good cyber hygiene all around Europe. At the same time, we should support the development and generalisation of cybersecurity training at all stages of education. 
  • Together with the private sector, we should ensure the highest level of resilience in digital infrastructures, industries and services to create a competitive advantage and attract investments. Investing in secure and novel technologies, e.g. blockchain and quantum computing, can contribute to defending all sectors of the European economy. 
  • Together with online platforms, we should robustly tackle online illegal content. Online platforms carry a significant societal responsibility in terms of protecting users and preventing criminals from exploiting their platforms. Europe should also remain fully committed to fighting cybercrime and the criminal use of the internet, including by terrorists.

Session 2: The Future of the Economy and Society

We should make the EU the home for enterprises and innovators in the digital age. As digitisation transforms sectors, we need to ensure that the EU’s freedoms are fit for the digital age. Europe should not shy away and embrace disruptive innovation and technologies, and make the most of the free movement of data.

  • Completing the digital single market by 2018 is an important first step in realising these goals, but we should go further. We should review EU and national laws more broadly to make sure they are fit for the digital age.
  • We should aim to provide excellent conditions for new forms of entrepreneurship, for startups and scale-ups in the data economy. Agile and tech-friendly regulation should contribute to making Europe an attractive headquarters for new and growing companies. We need to accelerate the digital transformation of industries through an uptake of the latest technologies, including artificial intelligence, big data processing and blockchain.
  • We need to ensure a level playing field as well as platform neutrality, including fair access to platforms for SMEs as the gateways to reach consumers. We must look at how competition law should evolve to take into account new business models, and consider initiatives for platform transparency. 
  • We are committed to a global change of taxation rules and to adapting our own tax systems to ensure that digitally-generated profits in the European Union are taxed where the value is created. Further discussion is needed on the modalities of establishing such a system. 
  • Data is an important resource; ensuring an appropriate framework for data and its free movement within the single market and globally between advanced industrialised nations is a priority. It is very important that the EU has the world’s best framework for enabling the access and (re)use of data for innovative products and services, including for the development of artificial intelligence solutions, while maintaining a high level of ethics, data and intellectual property protection and digital rights. 

We should work to empower and enable people in the digital age. Digital skills are the new literacy, and should be taught universally. The digital economy offers major opportunities for our young people, including through startups and self-employment. We remain committed to promoting and preserving a social model fit for the digital economy.

  • Our labour markets and training systems need to be adapted and made more resilient and flexible, in cooperation with social partners, to support a fluid and highly mobile workforce in all sectors. 
  • We cannot leave anyone behind – all Europeans, in particular the unemployed, should have opportunities to acquire basic digital literacy and upgrade their existing digital skills, at all ages and levels of education.  
  • We should focus our activities in areas with significant likelihood of automation. Our companies need access to a highly trained talent pool suitable for the data economy and digital society. 

We should invest in the growth of the digital economy, including a world-class infrastructure. 

  • The EU should concentrate its R&D and investment efforts, industrial policy and other measures to stimulate and assist the digital transformation of industries. This includes high-performance computing facilities that enable the extraction of value from large quantities of data. Like other advanced industrialised nations, Europe needs a state-of-the-art ecosystem for disruptive innovation and breakthrough technologies that support our strategic autonomy and solving Europe’s moonshot challenges, and should consider an agency executing high-risk, high-reward investments. 
  • Communication networks constitute the backbone of the digital world. We should establish an ambitious roadmap and framework to deploy world-leading optical fibre and 5G networks by 2025. We should work together at the European level to reach the scale and level of coordination needed to achieve our goals, and will make every effort to make more spectrum available in a timely and predictable manner.
  • While most of the targets related to upgrading infrastructure and upskilling labour force will have to be achieved by member states themselves, we should examine how to increase the contribution of European investments to these goals, in particular considering instruments such as EFSI and CEF and their successors. We should also examine State aid rules and other framework conditions to ensure they are fit for purpose and support these investments. 

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