Digital European Parliament Debate Examines Ways of Leveraging Estonia's IT Clout in Brussels
The digitally themed installment in the series of European Parliament candidate debates was held this week in Viljandi, taking a look at Estonia's image as a digital tiger.
Topics at the Tuesday event included how Estonia can put its image to work for it in Brussels, export of IT solutions to Europe and copyright and Internet freedom issues, valimised.err.ee reported.
All of the major parties except IRL were represented; the debate also provided Estonian voters with its first good look at Lance Boxall, an individual candidate who works for the European Commission and is running on a purely IT-driven platform.
Key talking points for each of the participants:
Jaak Madisson of the Conservative People's Party: Estonia has many digital solutions that it can sell to other countries. Estonia should be a better salesman, making it clear that these interfaces reduce corruption and red tape and save money.
Margus Hanson, Reform Party: Since higher incomes is a key plank for the Reform Party and more effective activity in the field of e-services will help to save time and this will impact the GDP. Other countries are lagging behind in IT.
Randel Länts, Social Democrats: Functionalities used by member states should be used by the EU itself. For instance, digital signatures, legal in Estonia, should be accepted by the EP. Often Estonian officials have to travel to Brussels just to sign something.
Oudekki Loone, Center Party: The EU should make sure that everyone has access to high-speed, high-quality Internet. A pan-European Net agency could be set up to ensure it. Net neutrality and copyrights are important topics for her - she said they have to protect the author, not the distributor. Skepticism should be leveled at e-voting.
Lance Boxall: Wants to make Estonia first in championing Internet freedoms in Europe. Many people in Europe don't know how developed Estonia is in the e-area; this must be changed. In some areas, Estonia is so far ahead that other Europeans don't understand what can be done.
Silver Meikar (independent): Copyright reform is the first thing that must be tackled in the EP.
Krista Mulenok (independent): When Estonia is president of the EU in 2018, it should dedicate the year to digital topics.
The debates are being organised by the EP information office, the League of Young Voters and MTÜ Valimisvaatlus, an election observer NGO.