President Toomas Hendrik Ilves gave a presentation at an influential economic conference in Berlin, inviting Germany to take a leading role in the European Union toward creating a real common digital market; this would entail fast changes both in the legal environment of the member states and the common legal space of Europe.
Ilves was one of the keynote speakers – with the Federal Chancellor, Angela Merkel, the head of Google Eric Schmidt; and possible candidate for the office of president of the United States, Jeb Bush, at an annual conference organized by the Christian Democratic Union Party (CDU). This year, the meeting's slogan was "Go on instead of fearing the future: Reforms for Germany and Europe".
Ilves spoke at the invitation of the organizers of the conference about boosting the competitiveness of the European Union and the creation of jobs in a digital society.
“A common digital market would give Europe and our companies the essential capability to compete with companies outside Europe,” said Ilves, who is also a co-leader for the next year World Bank report that will focus on the influence of the internet on economic development.
Ilves invited Europe to embrace openness and the abolishment of restrictions on digital services – barriers to the free movement of data mean that the EU member states will lag behind the other countries of the world. “Digital services know no borders; the key to the success of European companies is the free movement of information both globally and within the EU.”
Angela Merkel's address at the CDU economic conference echoed the sentiments of President Ilves; she invited Germany to welcome innovations that will ensure progress for both the economy and the country in general during the rapidly developing digital era.
Merkel stated that while successful countries often live by the principle of "Everything not forbidden is permitted", Germany often demonstrates the tendency to assume that everything not permitted is forbidden. Such a way of thinking is an obstacle in preventing us from embracing innovative changes in today's rapidly moving information society, she warned; therefore, we need the courage to think or act, instead of waiting for new regulations to be imposed, as this will help the economy to adjust more speedily.
Editor: S. Tambur