Prime Minister joins von der Leyen, Merkel to launch EU digital initiative

Jüri Ratas meeting European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels early this year. Tuesday's meeting was held remotely.
Jüri Ratas meeting European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels early this year. Tuesday's meeting was held remotely. Source: Social Media

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) joined President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in launching an initiative that supports EU digital development Tuesday.

Ratas, speaking after the event, said that Estonia's digital services experience during the pandemic were worth sharing across the union.

He said: "Our public and private sectors have worked hand in hand with civil society to promote digital governance and services, skills, education and health.

"The past year has shown that digital infrastructure provides the resilience needed during a pandemic. During the crisis, children have been able to continue their education through distance learning, e-prescriptions provide us with vital medicines, and digital signatures help the country to continue working during restrictions. We now want to share these experiences and solutions with our partners," Ratas went on.

"I believe that as a united European team, we can do more and contribute to a truly people-centered digital transition. The fact that Estonia is one of the implementers of this project shows that our experience is highly valued."

Prime ministers of Belgium and Luxembourg, Alexander De Croo and Xavier Bettel respectively, attended the event also, and got to see the announcement of the launch of the D4D Hub, which will support the digital transition, government spokespeople told BNS, by converging EU public, private and third sector expertise to build new partnerships.

Estonia is one of the implementers of the D4D initiative pilot project, which starts in January and will be implemented by Estonia, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Germany.

The project focuses on supporting digital development in Africa, but plans to develop digital cooperation in other regions in the future, including the Eastern Partnership countries, Asia and Latin America.

Digital transition is a European Commission priority area of the development cooperation of the and many member states, including Estonia, BNS reports.

The event was organized by the commission, together with Estonian company Global Virtual Solutions, who as its name suggests provided technical solutions.

EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen of Finland, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton (France) and African Union Commissioner Abou Zeid (Egypt) are also address the event, BNS reports.

Estonia has partnered with both African and non-EU eastern European nations, part of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) in e-state and related solutions, and is also to hold a joint EU-African Union hackathon this coming weekend, which will focus on the effects of the pandemic.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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