Estonia takes on EU Council Presidency to push for a Digital Europe

On July 1st 2017, Estonia took over the Council of the European Union. This will be the first time for Estonia to be able to shape the EU Council through its leadership. They specifically want to focus on digitalization and the use of open data to ensure a more digital and innovative Europe.

During their EU Council Presidency, they want to advance the exchange of data based on the once-only principle in the EU public sector. This includes focusing on cross-border digital public services and secure electronic communications available everywhere across Europe. Additionally, Estonia will highlight the development of e-commerce and e-services for the benefit of consumers, producers, and businesses.

In its programme, Estonia proposes:

“The European Union should end the unjustified data location restrictions of non-personal data, achieve legal clarity on the ownership of non-personal data and ensure the reliable storage and exchange of data based on the ‘once-only’ principle in the public sector. Estonia is planning a broad debate on the free movement of data and on measures boosting the data economy.”

The general programme for the Estonian Presidency also identifies three other priorities besides digitalization - supporting European innovation, security, and sustainability.

Over the course of the next six months, Estonia will follow the proposed Single Digital Gateway to simplify cross-border service provision, and will ensure a sustainable and efficient implementation of the EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020. Overall, the Estonian Presidency intends to stress the need to develop a digital society in all areas of life. Estonia has been one of the most forwarding thinking countries in terms of eGovernment strategies and digitalization in Europe making them a great advocate for a more digital Europe. They prove that technological progress can result in positive change for citizens, businesses and governments in the EU.

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