European Voice: Estonia leads the way on safer internet transactions
By Nicholas Hirst, European Voice, 24.10
Prime minister calls for safer and easier online services.
Andrus Ansip, Estonia's prime minister, is urging European Union leaders to adopt proposals that would make it easier and safer for EU citizens to conduct transactions over the internet.
As an Estonian, he is well placed to understand the role technology can play in making citizens' lives easier. The Baltic republic is one of the world's most advanced e-societies, with citizens able to use electronic identity cards (eIDs) to access a wide range of public and private services online – whether voting in national elections, filing tax forms or making a bank transfer.
What is more, Estonians actually use these services: more than 90% of Estonians have eIDs, 24% voted using the internet in the last parliamentary elections in 2011, and 94% of tax returns were filed online in 2012.
The time that this saves for Estonians is worth an estimated 2% of gross domestic product, says Ansip. All the more reason, he says, why EU leaders must hurry, before the European Parliament dissolves in April 2014, to adopt a Commission proposal on eIDs and electronc trust services that would allow EU citizens, businessmen and governments to use their national eIDs to sign for online transactions in any other member state.