The Tallinn Digital Summit on Friday achieved its aim to make the European Union’s members acknowledge the need for cooperation to build a digital Europe, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said on Friday evening.
“It seems to me that the question is no longer whether to move on, whether this cooperation is necessary, whether states are ready to cooperate in this area,” Ratas said after the summit. Everybody now understands that it is necessary, and there is a real wish to get it done.
“I think the main message today that all leaders expressed was that we need the infrastructure, we need specific rules, we need an attitude that is positive and opens doors, not closes them. I think this was there today,” Ratas added, though he conceded that the individual member states’ visions of Europe’s digital future were still very different.
According to Ratas, all of the summit's participants agreed that the digital revolution is here to stay and that digital developments are transforming every aspect of our lives and our societies.
Propelling Europe to the forefront of digital research and business
States need to start by making their services available digitally to better serve their people and businesses, Ratas said. “It would also make our governments more efficient and make our societies more future-oriented. Our four freedoms also need cross-border digital public services to function better.”
The prime minister stressed that e-governance won’t work unless people trust digital services and devices. That’s why cybersecurity has to be strengthened. “We need to have research, systems, and tools that are secure, have right regulatory framework, funding, and infrastructure. The education and awareness of our people is of key importance. This is something we can only achieve if we safeguard Europe’s cyberspace as a whole,” Ratas said.
The implementation of the Digital Single Market by the end of 2018 is of decisive importance, and with it the need to invest in infrastructure, especially 5G, research, development, and industry, as well as in artificial intelligence and supercomputing, he added.
“Europe has to be at the forefront of developing fundamental and breakthrough technologies for our society, our economy, and our security. We need to make Europe the world’s most attractive platform for the data economy. This includes the free movement of data, a central freedom of the digital era,” Ratas said.
The Tallinn Digital Summit on Sep. 29, the high point in the Estonian EU council presidency’s series of meetings arranged in Tallinn, discussed the future of governance, cybersecurity, the digital economy, and a better cross-border use of data. The future of work, how new technologies impact established models, and the need for high-level digital skills were also on the agenda.
At the summit, the EU’s leaders reaffirmed their commitment to developing the EU into a digital leader.
Editor: Dario Cavegn