Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union
Minister Sirpa Paatero: International cooperation warranted for developing eGovernment

Ministry of Finance 22.10.2019 15.04
Press release

The future outlook in eGovernment was a topic of discussion today at the conference organised at Finlandia Hall. The conference discussed the implementation of the Tallinn declaration on eGovernment and the future outlook of eGovernment in Europe.

All the European Union Member States and EFTA-countries signed the 'eGovernement Declaration' in Tallinn on 6 October 2017. The declaration stresses that the Member States must provide high-quality, secure and user-centric digital public services for citizens as well as seamless cross-border public services for businesses. The purpose is to enable the development of the single market.

“We must set to work and put into action the commitments we made in the Tallinn Declaration. Together we must now make active decisions at EU-level on how we intend to take steps forward in eGovernment,” Sirpa Paatero, Minister of Local Government and Ownership Steering and responsible for digital matters said in her opening remarks at the conference.

In the Tallinn declaration attention was focussed in particular on the wider use of data. Minister Paatero also raised this topic.

“Looking ahead, we are going to have to harness existing data more effectively, including across borders. But this must be done securely and in a way that is ethically sound. We need commonly agreed principles for managing, generating, using, sharing and storing data effectively and ethically in a sustainable way. We need a common data policy more than ever before,” Paatero said.

Human-centric eGovernment at the core of discussions too

As the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Finland wanted to bring human-centric eGovernment to the core of discussions. The topic was raised in a number of speeches.

“We must bear in mind that digitalisation is merely a driver for achieving operational changes. Instead of focussing on technology, we need to concentrate on making sure digitalisation improves the lives of our citizens and the operating conditions of businesses. We must place genuine needs at the heart of activities more strongly than we have done so far,” Roberto Viola, Director General of DG Connect of the European Commission said in his speech at the conference.

Like Paatero, Viola also underlined the importance of information.

“Together we can create a stronger digital Europe, as long as we utilise data and artificial intelligence more effectively. However, when utilising artificial intelligence, we must make sure that it is transparent and that that algorithms are used responsibly”, Viola said.

Inquiries:

Juhani Korhonen, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295530234, juhani.korhonen(at)vm.fi