A digital presidency - takeaways from Estonia's programme for a digital Europe



On 14 December, the Centre for European Studies and the Estonian Government hosted a major event in Brussels to assess the progress of Estonian's programme for a digital Europe.

Estonia is synonymous with transparent and efficient e-services; and the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union aimed to accelerate the implementation of a digital Europe by organising 50 different events and activities around digital issues.

Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas made an appearance, and approximately 350 attendees participated in a full day of speeches and workshops focusing on five themes:

  • the free movement of data 
  • eGovernment 
  • e-commerce 
  • smart economy
  • trust and security 

The hope is for attendees to leave with a broad, all-encompassing view of how the emerging disruptive technology can improve the effectiveness of EU institutions and the well-being of EU citizens. Staff from the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) organised and moderated the panels, reviewed the existing prospects and challenges in the various sectors covered, and offered short- and long-term policy recommendations. 

The event was livestreamed to reach the largest possible audience. Each session includes one high-level keynote and an interactive panel discussion. CEPS staff collected tweets and email submissions, which they organised in the form of a wiki. The wiki is planned to be translated into a final policy brief.


Registration for this event is now closed.





Opening plenary

  • The Prime Minister of Estonia Jüri Ratas
  • The European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip
  • State Secretary Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation Paul Chaffey 
  • CEPS Chairman and former European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia
  • Index Ventures CEO Neil Rimer
  • Vice President for EU Government Affairs at Microsoft John Frank


Coffee break


Panel streams

  • The free movement of data: The fifth freedom
  • eGovernment: Will Europe embrace eGovernment?
  • eCommerce: Progress of the digital single market
  • Smart Economy: The connectivity challenge
  • Trust and Security: Evaluating the EU's new cybersecurity strategy




Plenary session: Tax collecting - benefits from digitalisation


Panel streams

  • The free movement of data: Legal claims between GDPR and ePrivacy
  • eGovernment: Can digital drive development?
  • e-Commerce: Debate over copyright in the digital age
  • Smart economy: High performance computers and the future of Europe
  • Trust and security: Building a credible cyber cooperation landscape in the EU


Coffee break


Panel streams

  • The free movement of data: The opportunity of digital health
  • eGovernment: Defending online freedom of expression
  • e-Commerce: Filling digital tax holes
  • Smart economy: Truck drivers, coders and skills for the new digital world
  • Trust and security: Forging a common EU diplomatic response to cyber attacks


Closing fireside chat with Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn


Networking reception



Arsenal, Chaussée de Wavre 950 1040 Brussels, Belgium




William Echikson

Centre for European Policy Studies

Margus Mägi

Margus Mägi

Government Office

Last update 18/01/2018 09:25