Earlier this month I took the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn, across the Baltic Sea to attend the Ministerial eGov Conference on 6 October 2017. The highlight of the event was the announcement that all European Union Member States and EFTA countries signed the so-called Tallinn Declaration.

Estonia is often mentioned as a shining star in digital transformation for eGovernment – and rightfully so. They have shown great leadership in adopting a digital-first strategy and have shared their expertise and experience with all interested parties.

Estonia is currently holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time, and gives them a unique chance to showcase their talent in this area.

By signing the Tallinn Declaration, the EU ministers reaffirmed their commitment to progress in linking up their public eServices and implement the eIDAS regulation and the once-only principle in order to provide efficient and secure digital public services that will make citizens and businesses lives easier.

You can read the document and find your minister’s signature.

The core themes are:
1) digital-by-default for citizens and businesses
2) once only – cutting red tape and encouraging collaboration and reuse of data and services
3) trustworthiness and security
4) openness and transparency
5) interoperability by default – all working together
6) Horizontally enabling steps – improving inter-institutional cooperation for digital transformation

National eIDs and eIDAS, cross-border identity services are mentioned throughout the Tallinn declaration as important pillars for achieving these goals. Ubisecure is a specialist in enabling these and other supportive technologies across public service and private sector.

Aside from the ministerial meeting, plenary sessions where held for industry and government specialists. The sessions were streamed and many are available online at the event website.

I especially enjoyed the following presentations:


Jani Ruuskanen, a coordinating project manager at the Population Register Centre in Finland, presented and highlighted some of the collaboration between Estonia and Finland, particularly their use of a X-road technologies. Finland has done remarkable work on the launch of citizen services and providing easy to find through service catalogues. This work in turn, has been released as open source and other member states are encouraged to colloborate on these and other eGov IT services.

Dominic Eskofier is a passionate Virtual Reality (AR) evangelist, co-founder of of EUVR.org, the European VR association and VR Manager at NVIDIA Corporation. He gave an engaging presentation about Virtual Government and the Government of things (GiOT). He showed with very practical and visual examples how citizens can be part of urban design projects and experience how their city will be developed, better understand complex projects and financial statistics in a 3D world. VR and AR (Augmented Reality) tools bring a level of immersion that adds practical understanding to otherwise complex matters.

Dominic Eskofier

(Picture credit: Egert Kamenik (EU2017EE) CC BY 2.0)

All in all it was an interesting program and well organized event. Again, the EU has publically shown its committment to a digitalization strategy and set out clear action plans for implementation. Ubisecure is doing our part in helping in many such digitalization projects.