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Digital Europe and the Free Movement of Data

11.08.2017

Digital activities of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

The Digital Presidency: digital solutions influence every aspect of our society. From soil management to space exploration, the future of the world is digital! For the last 20 years, Estonia has witnessed the transformative effect of digitalisation on society. Many are now calling the Estonian Presidency ‘the digital Presidency’ because of our ambition to realise the benefits of a digital society for every European. We are committed to doing our utmost to meet these expectations and to live up to the mantle of the digital Presidency. Therefore we have organised our digital Presidency around three pillars: digital policy, digital events and digital legacy.

Digital policy

The Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union will consider aspects of building a digital society in every Council configuration, because building Europe’s digital future requires action across policy areas. From the way we work to our education, health and justice systems, building a digital society affects every facet of our lives.

Europe must keep pace with technological progress and fully exploit its potential. This will contribute to improving the everyday lives of citizens, businesses and member states.

A strong single market supporting growth and jobs must be connected and keep pace with both new technological developments and the increasing digitalisation of society. Information and communications technology is no longer a specific sector; it is the backbone of all modern innovative economic systems.

The Estonian Presidency will aim to rapidly advance the negotiations to deliver on the numerous legislative and other proposals under the single market strategy and the Digital Single Market Strategy.

The digital single market is inconceivable without the free movement of data (PDF, 56 KB) within the EU. While we will pursue a limited number of specific objectives under this explicit heading, the free movement of data is also a broader goal that is reflected in all of the chapters of our digital programme.

We are also working with the EU’s partners to help them reap the dividends of digital solutions both through EU Development Policy tools and bilateral agreements, focusing on Eastern Partnership countries, but working also with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and Latin American countries.

The cross-sectoral digital agenda of the Estonian Presidency has five inter-linked themes that are common to the dossiers we are dealing with: Free Movement of Data; Smart Economy; eCommerce; e-government; Trust and Security. The priorities and ambition of each theme will be highlighted and linked to a specific file for your convenience.

Digital events

Estonia’s role as the Presidency of the Council of the European Union is to find common ground on politically charged topics and to be a moderator and negotiator for all member states. Together we can create a more united and stronger Europe by building consensus and finding solutions.

Likewise, every Council configuration and more than 50 events will consider aspects of building a digital society – because across the board, Europe should be more digital.

As stated in the Rome Declaration, it is essential for Europe to embrace technological change to ensure a prosperous and sustainable Europe. The Tallinn Digital Summit on 29 September 2017 will be an exciting opportunity to discuss the digital issues which are affecting our jobs, industries, education, and security.

At the conclusion of each paragraph there is a list of policy-related events – see the latest event updates on the Estonian Presidency webpage.

Digital legacy

In cooperation with the Council of the EU and our trio Presidency partners, Bulgaria and Austria, we have launched the Digital Presidency initiative that has two primary goals. Firstly, it aims to reduce the amount of paper documents in presidency activities, and secondly, it aims to encourage the use of electronic identity in the work processes of both the Council Secretariat and the Presidency. The full benefits of this initiative will be felt by future presidencies.

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