Jutta Urpilainen: digitalization is the EU’s priority for the next decade
Speaking today, 19 May at the e-Governance Conference, Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships highlighted three areas the EU will focus on in the next digital decade and called the Estonian government to work closely with the Commission to shape EU’s transformative actions on digital development.
In her speech, she emphasised the need to focus on digital skills and digitalization in education, a human-centric approach to digitalisation, and digital identity development.
“This is the first time digitalisation is a defined priority,“ Commissioner Urpilainen said, referring to the Digital Europe Programme, the first financial instrument of the EU for European projects on digital that will be launched in June. “Digitalisation must be at the heart of a sustainable recovery. Through joint partnerships and investments, we will bridge the digital divide and grow our digital economies. This requires multilateral governance and a human-centric approach with an emphasis on digitals skills, e-governance and eID,“ the Commssioner said.
She called the Estonian government to work closely with the Commission to shape EU’s transformative actions on digital development. „I admire Estonia, who excels in this field and with whom we work closely on the Digital4Development Hub.Your active involvement is invaluable. We are counting on you to help us shape transformative Team Europe actions on digital,“ Commissioner Urpilainen said.
In the opening speech of the e-Governance Conference, the President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid noted that digital solutions and systems should be more globally shared and used. “We have seen disruption, regionalization; now it is time for global service markets. We must create our digital systems and clouds in a way which will be permissive and open to this kind of cooperation,” Kaljulaid said.
She shared also a vision of what this kind of a collaboration could result in. “I hope that in 5 years, every baby born will be registered simply by using their mother’s or father’s telephone. Governments would stop losing their people only because they do not know who they are and where they are. That is my dream and COVID has made this dream more understandable globally,” the President of Estonia said.
The three-day e-Governance Conference features 50 experts and leaders of digital government development. A high-ranking line-up of speakers is topped by the President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid and the European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen. The conference also features Takuya Hirai, Minister for Digital Transformation, Japan; Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Digital Transformation, Ukraine; Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Former President of Estonia; Trond Arne Undheim, futurist, investor, author, entrepreneur; Ruth Goodwin-Groen, Managing Director, United Nations’ Better Than Cash Alliance; Sir Geoff Mulgan, Professor at University College London; and Anthony Whelan, Digital Policy Adviser, Cabinet of the European Commission President, among others.
This year’s e-Governance Conference – A Digital Decade in One Year – looks at the implications of the accelerated digital transformation that resulted from the pandemic. The programme provides governments with a new perspective on how to systemise the experience gained from 2020 and move forward with more sustainable digital transformation.
The conference will present the digital transformation journeys and lessons learned of 13 countries, including Australia, Albania, Barbados, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Ukraine.
All in all, 1200 participants, representing 140 countries and territories registered for the conference. Countries with the most participants included Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, India, Belgium, United States, and Kenya.
The e-Governance Conference is organised by the e-Governance Academy in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the European Commission, Intel, The Estonian ICT Cluster, and supported by Greenergy and Tallinn City.