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Ratas: Estonian-Finnish digital prescription exchange could inspire others

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) in Paris on Monday. Dec. 11, 2017.
Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) in Paris on Monday. Dec. 11, 2017. Source: (Jürgen Randma/Government Office)

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) met with Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä in Paris on Monday, where the two discussed digital data exchange projects between the two countries, including the exchange of digital prescriptions, that could serve to inspire other countries in Europe.

"Starting next summer, Finnish digital prescriptions will be valid in Estonian pharmacies, and in summer 2019, Estonian digital prescriptions will be available in Finnish pharmacies," Ratas said at their meeting according to a government press release. "The exchanging of such information between Estonia and Finland could serve to inspire Nordic countries and the Baltic states to further develop cross-border e-services. We are already closely connected through economic and human relationships; therefore, the only correct path would be to continue moving forward, which would serve to benefit our residents."

According to the Estonian prime minister, Estonia and Finland already possess the necessary technical readiness for the exchanging of data, and it is now necessary to conclude more specific agreements between administrative agencies as well as conduct tests.

"I hope that, in addition to digital prescriptions, the exchanging of population and commercial register data, social and health insurance data, and maritime data between Estonia and Finland will soon become a reality," he added.

According to Ratas, the synergy of data exchange and e-services between Nordic and Baltic countries serves as an inspiring example to the whole of the EU, with which it can be demonstrated to other EU member states on a practical level how cross-border e-solutions serve to significantly simplify residents' everyday lives.

In addition to digital cooperation, Ratas and Sipilä also discussed at greater length the Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel project. The two prime ministers are to meet again in February, joined by representatives from companies and research institutions, to receive a more detailed overview of the tunnel project and opportunities for the execution thereof.

The two heads of government also discussed further expansion of trade-related cooperation between Estonia and Finland, the development of a common investment region, and topics for the home stretch of Estonia's current presidency of the Council of the EU, which concludes at the end of the year.

"More in-depth discussions await us regarding the euro as the common currency, as well as the future of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)," Ratas said. "EMU regulations must be fulfilled, and that which has been previously agreed upon, implemented. Even so, th preservation of the competitiveness of the economy and sufficient flexibility must be a part of the self-interest and responsibility of each country. This cannot be replaced by increasing the joint responsibility of eurozone countries, nor the emergency crisis measures of the European Central Bank. Even so, I agree that the monetary union must be strengthened."

Ratas and Sipilä have decided to organize a joint session of the Estonian and Finnish governments in Finland in May in order to celebrate the two countries' respective centennials and consider the future together on topics such as cross-border digital solutions, artificial intelligence, and cooperation between research institutions.



Editor: Aili Vahtla

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