Two more agreements on the digital domain were concluded within the framework of the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU last week.
During a meeting of envoys in Brussels, the Estonian EU presidency was unanimously authorized to continue developing the principles necessary for the free movement of non-personalized data, spokespeople for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications said on Wednesday.
The second achievement was an agreement on the postal packages regulation, which will make package tariffs more transparent.
"People, capital, goods and services can move freely in Europe, which enables member states to empower one another to make their cooperation more effective," Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Urve Palo (SDE) said. "It is high time to acknowledge the free movement of data as the fifth fundamental freedom of the EU and eliminate restrictions which currently hinder the free movement of data."
According to Palo, the proposal for the free movement of data has been one of the main objectives of the Estonian presidency.
"At the beginning of our presidency, several of the big member states were hesitant with regard to the initiative," she recalled. "By now, the mentality has changed, and all member states understand that it is not possible to create a digital single market without the free movement of data."
Regarding the postal packages regulation, Palo, highlighted its effect on the prices of package delivery.
"I hope that, with this new regulation, we will achieve competition pressure which would reduce the cost of package delivery for the consumer," she said. "We wish to achieve a market situation in e-commerce in which people can order the goods they want from all over Europe and pay a fair price for delivery."
According to the minister, Estonia has achieved all of the goals set for its presidency of the EU Council in the digital field.
During the Estonian presidency, more than 40 conferences and events were held on digital topics, the biggest of which was the Tallinn Digital Summit held on Sept. 29, which brought together European heads of government and heads of state. Thre formal meetings of telecommunications ministers also took place in Brussels and Luxembourg as well.
Under the Estonian presidency, EU ministers responsible for digital affairs also signed in July a joint declaration on the development of 5G high-speed internet, and the declaration on e-government in October, both of which are important points of reference in their respective fields.
The European Commission expressed its appreciation of Estonia's achievements in setting out a detailed roadmap for 5G which was approved by all EU member states in November. An action plan for the cyber field was completed and an agreement reached on new rules for digital communications. Several member states have also commented that Estonia has surprised them with its diligence and consistency, and that with its EU presidency, the country has proven that its image as a digital nation is well-grounded.
During its six-month presidency of the Council of the EU, Estonia focused on five mutually connected digital subjects: the free movement of data, a smart European economy, e-commerce, e-government, and trust and security.
Estonia's presidency of the Council of the EU began on July 1 and will formally end on Dec. 31, when it will hand the presidency off to Bulgaria.
Editor: Aili Vahtla