TALLINN – Estonia's Minister of Foreign Trade and IT Kaimar Karu and the Netherlands' State Secretary for the Interior Raymond Knops, standing in for the interior minister of the Netherlands, have agreed about the next steps in digital cooperation between the two countries.
The Netherlands is increasingly interested in Estonia's experience with e-governance and digital solutions, first and foremost with ID-card applications and services based on the X-Road, spokespeople for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications said.
The Netherlands has begun to establish a data exchange solution similar to the Estonian X-Road, which is developed mainly with improving data exchanges in municipalities and towns and cities in mind.
"The solution of the Dutch will be similar to our X-Road, which is why the know-how and experiences of the Estonian public sector will benefit them much. Also Estonian companies, many of which have contributed to developing the Estonian e-government and e-solutions, have very good experiences and cooperation opportunities to offer to Dutch business operators, the state and municipalities alike," Karu said according to spokespeople.
During their meeting, the ministers also talked about the European Union's digital strategy and the Commission's actions and plans when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI).
"The main emphasis of the European Union's future digital policy should be on expanding the digital agenda so that digitalization would become a part of all sectoral policies," Karu said.
The minister said that Estonia's interests in developing of the European single digital market are connected with the fields of free movement of data and AI. Due to the discussions underway in the European Union, both topics are strongly topical in all the member states, and Estonia has overtaken several other countries with its actions already.
"For the sensible and safe advancement of the development of said field the focus should be placed in the first place on an analysis of existing legislative norms from the viewpoint of AI and explaining and complementing thereof. For that no new legislative acts are necessarily needed, as interpreting guidance materials would suffice," the minister said, adding that several of the more complex AI-related issues that need to be resolved in the EU are rooted not in the field of technology but have to do with our systems of values and fundamental principles of functioning of the society.
Karu was in The Hague from Feb. 10-12 to visit the European Space Technology and Research Center (ESTEC) of the European Space Agency (ESA), meet with the Estonian specialists working there and with ESA Director General Jan Worner. The Estonian minister also delivered a lecture, took part in a discussion round with representatives of the ICTU network for the digital development of the public sector of the Netherlands and met with representatives of Estonian wooden house manufacturers and their local partners.