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Prime minister: EU should take lead making technology work for people

Ratas before the meeting of the EU's heads of state and government, Mar. 10, 2017.
Ratas before the meeting of the EU's heads of state and government, Mar. 10, 2017. Source: (Riigikantselei)

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said before a meeting of the heads of state and government of the European Union’s 27 members on Friday that the EU needed to pay more heed to the change technological progress brought to people’s jobs and way of life.

Ratas pointed out that digital solutions saved time and money and thus had a great impact on everybody’s day-to-day life. According to estimates, in Estonia the implementation of the digital signature alone had led to savings amounting to 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, Ratas said.

The e-Residency initiative had increased Estonia’s visibility abroad and so far contributed to the funding of some 1,300 new companies. In addition, electronic prescriptions and e-solutions in healthcare had made the latter more user-friendly, the prime minister added.

Ratas also commented on the implications of information technology on international exchange. “Estonia and Finland have made significant progress in the field of cross-border digital services, and this excellent cooperation will continue in the future. We need to think bigger and aim higher, and expand our common digital solutions across Europe. I’m convinced that all EU member states and their residents could benefit from using the digital signature,” Ratas said.

Europe should take the lead in making technology work for people, he added. “The aspiration to barrier-free digital and physical connections is in the interest of the whole European Union, as economic growth depends on the free movement of goods, services, people, capital, and knowledge. Our ambition is to make the free flow of data a fifth fundamental freedom.”

The prime minister added that Estonia was committed to the EU’s common values. “Nobody wants to live in an encased, divided, and protectionist Europe. Therefore we must stand up for our values together,” Ratas said.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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