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Nordic and Baltic countries step up digitalisation efforts

Nordic countries say they had a good starting point for digitalisation because they come from cultures of trust and high education. 

Nordic and Baltic countries have joined hands in a bid to lead the digitalisation of Europe. At the occasion of Digital North, a conference that took place in Oslo on Tuesday (25 April), ministers from the Nordic and Baltic regions signed a declaration, by which they committed to step up their digitalisation efforts - not only within the countries, but also across borders.

"It should be possible to use the same e-ID in all the Nordic and Baltic countries. Our countries are well-integrated, but not so much when it comes to digital public services," said Norway's minister of local government, Jan Tore Sanner.

Through the declaration, the ministers committed to promote closer cooperation between administrations, support the free movement of data and put in place the EU digital single market in the Nordic-Baltic region.

"We, in the Nordic countries, like to know our public sector as the best in the world. But as society is transforming, it means we have to re-organise our public services and allocate resources from administration to other services, such as healthcare," Sanner said.  Nordic countries are currently the front-runners of digitalisation in Europe, but this could change fast.

The European Commission's Digital Economy and Society (Desi) index shows that Sweden, which has done little to upgrade its public services, is already falling behind its Nordic neighbours and could soon be overtaken by Estonia, currently listed as 10th and rapidly moving up the ranks.

According to the Desi index, the EU is globally behind the US, Canada, and some Asian countries, such as South Korea and Japan. It is ahead of Russia, China and Turkey, but those countries are digitalising faster and could soon dethrone their EU rivals.

"There is not one country that can rest on its laurels," said Mari Kiviniemi, a former prime minister of Finland and the current deputy secretary general of the OECD, a club of rich nations."Many perform well, but all can do better," she added. Kiviniemi stressed, in particular, the challenge of governmental leadership in digitalisation, which gets lost in silos and lack of strategic thinking.

Source: euobserver


Päivitetty/Updated: 27.04.2017

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