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  • President Ilves calls on ‘Eastern Europe’ to show solidarity in offering solutions to the refugee crisis
    Estonian Public Broadcasting Heads of State Heads of state from 1918 through the years of occupation until restoration of independence Press Releases 06 11 2015 President Ilves to complete official visit to Denmark 05 11 2015 President Ilves on an official visit to Denmark we are kindred spirits and brothers in arms 04 11 2015 The key words of the meeting of Central and Eastern European heads of state were allied solidarity and shared responsibility 04 11 2015 Cultural Foundation of the Office of the President declares the competition for the Young Scientist Award open 04 11 2015 President Ilves to participate in the meeting of the heads of state of Central and Eastern Europe in Bucharest 03 11 2015 President Ilves to depart for an official visit to Denmark 03 11 2015 Estonian Head of State met with the Prime Minister of Georgia 03 11 2015 Cultural Foundation of the President of the Republic and Skype Estonia established a special Young IT Scientist Award 31 10 2015 President Ilves expressed his condolences to the next of kin of the Russian plane crash victims 31 10 2015 The Estonian Head of State expressed condolences to the President of Romania Reset President Ilves calls on Eastern Europe to show solidarity in offering solutions to the refugee crisis Viljo Pettinen Office of the President of the Republic Slovakkia presidendi Andrej Kiska riigivisiit Eestisse g Photos 19 10 2015 In a meeting with the Slovakian President Andrej Kiska Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said that Europe can only deal with the refugee crisis if the European Union is united and it is an issue of the responsibility of Central and Eastern Europe I am worried that the hesitation of some so called Eastern European countries on the issue of the refugee crisis could

    Original URL path: https://president.ee/en/media/press-releases/11662-president-ilves-calls-on-eastern-europe-to-show-solidarity-in-offering-solutions-to-the-refugee-crisis-/index.html (2015-12-03)
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  • President Ilves: Poland holds a central role in standing for the security interests of our region
    sector leaders introduced e solutions at the World Bank 02 10 2015 President Ilves in Washington the activities of Russia in Syria have forced European countries to face serious challenges 30 09 2015 President Ilves spoke about the international security situation at New York University 28 09 2015 Picture gallery President Ilves met with the local Estonian community in the New York Estonian House 28 09 2015 News in pictures President Ilves presents high decoration of the Republic of Estonia to the creator of the WorldWideWeb in New York 28 09 2015 Estonian and Romanian Head of States discussed the security of NATO s east wing countries 28 09 2015 President Ilves at high level UN discussion the implementation of better policies by countries themselves are the pre requisites for digital development 27 09 2015 President Ilves at the summit on sustainable development we can t achieve sustainable development at the expense of human rights 26 09 2015 Declaration of the President Toomas Hendrik Ilves following the release of Eston Kohver Reset President Ilves Poland holds a central role in standing for the security interests of our region Birgit Püve Poola presidendi Andrzej Duda töövisiit Eestisse g Photos 23 08 2015 The events in Ukraine remind us that freedom is something that we should not take for granted We have to work every day to retain our freedom here at home with our allies in Europe and the trans Atlantic axis Estonia sees that Poland has a clearly distinguished role as an initiator of security related co operation in our region and the NATO summit which is due to take place soon in Warsaw is the best example of the implementation of this role said the President Toomas Hendrik Ilves after his meeting with the President of Poland Andrzej Duda

    Original URL path: https://president.ee/en/media/press-releases/11514-president-ilves-poland-holds-a-central-role-in-standing-for-the-security-interests-of-our-region/index.html (2015-12-03)
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  • News in pictures: President Ilves opened Estonia’s national day at Expo Milano
    flag coat of arms and national anthem and legal acts on state insignia Estonia Links to other government institutions the citizen s portal and Estonian Public Broadcasting Heads of State Heads of state from 1918 through the years of occupation until restoration of independence Opening of the Estonian national day at the universal exhibition Expo Milano 07 06 2015 News in pictures President Ilves opened Estonia s national day at Expo Milano 07 06 2015 President Ilves to open Estonia s national day at Expo Milano today All visits in this country Reset News in pictures President Ilves opened Estonia s national day at Expo Milano President Ilves accepting the national flag of Estonia from the cyclists Office of the President Milano Expo Eesti rahvuspäeva avamine g Photos Sunday 07 June 2015 17 38 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves opened Estonia s national day at the Expo Milano universal exhibition today This year food is the headline issue of Expo Milano and where else could we discuss food as a pleasure other than Italy However we also have to admit that hunger still remains a serious issue in several places and represents a responsibility shared by the world in general even if the suggested solutions are local by nature stated President Ilves in his opening address Most of the food is raised grown processed sold and eaten at regional level which means that as countries we should support rural areas their infrastructures and technological development to give small scale producers access to larger markets added the Estonian Head of State Also according to President Ilves more and more countries suffer from food related problems obesity overweight and food allergies suffered by the general population According to the Head of State we must seriously contribute to increasing nutrition related awareness among consumers

    Original URL path: https://president.ee/en/media/press-releases/11394-news-in-pictures-president-ilves-opened-estonias-national-day-at-expo-milano/layout-visit.html (2015-12-03)
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  • Europe's transformational crisis
    prisoners and Displaced Persons of 20 different nationalities who spoke 35 different languages In the occupation zones 15 of the population of the British zone 18 of the American zone and 24 of the Soviet zone were refugees Hessen with a population of 4 million took 1 million refugees As late as 1949 in Brandenburg the almost 700 000 refugees living there constituted 25 of the population I should add that my own uncle s family was in a Displaced Persons camp in Geislingen for four years while my parents were among the 30 thousand Estonians who fled as erstwhile boat people to Sweden fleeing both Nazi and Soviet ships trying to bomb those leaving To deal with these challenges 44 nations agreed in the middle of the postwar emergency to establish UNRRA the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration Between 1945 and 1947 when its tasks were largely overtaken by the Marshall Plan it was staffed by 12 thousand civil servants And the costs just to put our challenges in perspective In three years UNRRA spent nearly 4 billion US dollars of the time In today s money in Euros this amounts to around 50 billion Euros More than half of its budget was contributed by the United States 2 7 billion which today would be 33 billion Euros the next largest donors were Britain 8 billion and Canada 1 billion The principle beneficiaries were Poland which in 2015 Euros received roughly 6 billion Euros Italy 5 billion Euros Greece 4 billion and Austria 1 billion I list these numbers illustratively to give us all a sense of perspective to understand how daunting a task was faced by our grandparents when Europe had no institutions sometimes not even sovereign governments Let us keep in mind then that all I have outlined here from the immediate post war years are concrete examples of the solidarity of countries toward Europe which with the exception of the UK were not part of the European Union of today We must also keep in historical perspective from the perspective of Winston Churchill speaking here in 1946 the crisis we face in Europe today So let us now gather our wits and strengths leave behind this indecision finger pointing and ducking of responsibility We will handle this migration crisis We must act in solidarity with those member states who bear the brunt of the crisis we must accept some form of burden sharing We must have a functioning common asylum policy especially when it comes to rejecting spurious claims and returning illegal immigrants We need a more common approach to guarding our external borders Is this so difficult when we look back to what Europe faced in the years after the Second World War I do not think so Ladies and Gentlemen While these foregoing facts and figures demonstrate how Europe has had to face far worse migration and refugee issues and on a far greater scale than today let us recall also why these

    Original URL path: https://president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/11777-europes-transformational-crisis/index.html (2015-12-03)
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  • with the chaos of WWII it should cope now Europe s transformational crisis President Ilves Zürichis kui Euroopa sai hakkama Teise maailmasõja järgses kaoses peab Euroopa ka nüüd hakkama saama Президент Ильвес в Цюрихе Европа преодолела хаос после Второй мировой

    Original URL path: https://president.ee/en/image/collection_id-3087.html (2015-12-03)
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  • The Walls We Build Ourselves
    digitally deliverable services isn t the US it s Europe These rapid changes in our digital behavior prompt conflicts between our laws and the needs of the global European economy Take the recent landmark judgment on online privacy by the Court of Justice of the EU An Austrian law student won a legal challenge to the EU US Safe Harbour privacy principles that provided companies the means to transfer personal data between the US and Europe After Edward Snowden s revelations in 2013 which leaked practices of mass surveillance by the NSA the student asked the Court to prohibit Facebook Ireland from transferring his personal data to the USA The Court found that such data transfers violate the EU s legal standards for data protection by compromising the essence of the fundamental right to respect for private life and thus declared Commissions decision on data transfer based on the EU US Safe Harbor agreement illegal In other words the legal basis for such data transfers was annulled What to make of this On the one hand it shows the strength of European rule of law that one person in the European Union can enforce his right to privacy and overturn a huge process On the other hand the decision threatens to slow down a thriving transatlantic digital economy Many multinational companies will need to rethink how they operate because overnight they have been forced to find an alternative mechanism for their data transfers to the US This will be particularly hard for smaller companies on both sides of the Atlantic which depend on cloud services Equally worrisome is that policymakers in other capitals from Delhi to Brasilia may see this as an excuse to limit further their own cross border data flows hurting both the European and American economies and the open internet as a whole To solve these problems Europe and the US will need to show each other the mutual forbearance of close friends Data protection and digital opportunities are not mutually exclusive To enhance both we need strong leadership and often rapid and courageous policy decisions We are in dire need of rapid EU Data Protection reform and urgently need 28 National Data Protection Authorities to coordinate their actions to avoid further fragmentation Let us hope that the negotiations to secure the data transfer framework between European Commission and the USA will succeed We need convergence between US and European approaches to set a global standard for how open liberal internationalism can function in the 21st century Part of the problem more broadly is described in C P Snow s Two Cultures essay but writ large writ global Snow was a literary novelist and a physical chemist at Cambridge University who described how at the faculty club he could sit at a dinner table with physicists and chemists and discuss the developments in their field but he could also drink with the poets novelists and Shakespeare scholars at their table But he was the only one who could sit at both tables think in both cultures both worlds I maintain that what 65 years ago was a problem in universities today is a problem for liberal democracies Societies have become so imbued with and dependent upon technology that our policymakers our legislators and courts on one side and programmers engineers and entrepreneurs on the other no longer understand the full implications of what they do For a geek a new way to harvest previously unavailable data is a discovery and possibly a highly lucrative one For some lawmakers who as one I met asked me what two to the third power was when I talked about Moore s Law technology is some mysterious and magical world that will rob us of all our privacy and human rights We will have to go beyond the agenda of simply utilizing technology and making the Internet universally accessible Today at one table sit the geeks They look around and say Oh boy look what we can do We can sneak in and do this or that and that without giving a thought to the principles of a democratic society Then you have people who have not studied math or science since middle school for whom anything IT related is complicated and something to fear This all obviously has major implications for our educational system but this would go far beyond my talk today In any case this too the wall between the world of science and the world of the humanities is a wall that is separating us ever more in our modern liberal democracies I need not point out that ethics in the modern internet age is not much of a problem in authoritarian societies which often are no less advanced in technology than we Ladies and Gentlemen to create and maintain a competitive prosperous and secure Europe we face challenges not only in the field of economy and IT but also more broadly both in foreign and domestic policy The crises we have faced since the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall highlight the EU s limits in working speedily together This is not to say we are unable to work together The unprecedented and historic consensus in response to the grave violations of international law in the Anschluss of Crimea shows Europe can work when need be The precise even surgical sanctions have been successful We have increased the cost of aggression and firmly responded to violations of international law such as the United Nations Charter the Helsinki Final Act and the Paris Charter that are the foundation of security on our continent Yes we are still in the early days of the sanctions and sanctions are a policy tool that often brings too few visible results overnight We have seen this in the case of Iran Thus we need strategic patience within the EU For we also know from our continent s history that turning a blind eye to aggression leads to far greater tragedies in the future What we need as well is strong deterrence in addition to the dialogue Dialogue itself is not a policy NATO Allies have reacted promptly to changes in the security architecture in Europe after the aggression in Ukraine and in response to a military build up and provocations beyond its borders The recent military escalation in Syria demonstrates yet again the need to adapt further to a new and changing security reality in and around Europe We must move forward improve our readiness and responsiveness That is we need to create a credible deterrence that sends a clear message to any potential aggressor We need a long term strategy for long term problems We need to admit that we have been too slow to recognize how much our environment has changed What will follow next We do not know We all have much to lose from a crumbling liberal international order Ladies and Gentlemen Conflicts in our neighborhood also affect us more directly our own societies and politics The conflicts in Syria and Libya have set in motion a series of dominoes conflict refugees massive movement of peoples escaping the violence to Europe This I worry is changing the landscape of European democracies We are witnessing rising support for far right or far left political movements often fueled by anti immigrant racist sentiments Short sighted populist policies exploiting the fears of ordinary people will lead us I fear back to the 1930s Our much vaunted tolerance is evaporating replaced too often by the sneer of the street thug Politicians are using language that a few years ago appeared only in anonymous commentaries on the web Moreover some say the migration crisis within the EU has a human face others see just an Eastern European one that is to say this crisis has revived old stereotypes of an Eastern Europe stuck in backwardness and xenophobia a stereotype so many of us have labored for so long to overcome I know all too well our way to the EU and NATO the hard work it required including convincing Western Europe to overcome ignorance stereotyped perceptions and sometimes plain arrogance I would not want to see the momentous achievement of EU s enlargement to the Central and Eastern Europe undermined by this crisis This is not to say that concerns and discussions in our public are not to be taken seriously or into account To the contrary we have painful debates where various values either become mixed or clash with our tragic historical experience and demographics Fear is often understandable because of lack of experience and encounters with people from other religions and cultures In this way it all is quite different from our Western neighbors experience and thus demands careful attention and mindful considerations not only by the media but also at the negotiation table in Brussels We joined the EU and NATO more than a decade ago and now are full partners in deciding Europe s future We are also Stammkunden or regular consumers of solidarity Just to name a few air policing borderless travel within the EU career work possibilities across Europe not to mention that an entire generation of our youth has benefited from scholarships for studies abroad The migration crises is the first time since accession that serious solidarity and a significant contribution from our side is expected We must act and contribute responsibly for it is our common interest and cause Small wonder then after all we have received from the EU the freedoms and prosperity that when we refuse to help out others in difficulty we see a return to old stereotypes We want to build walls around us to keep out refugees not realizing that we are rebuilding walls we so desperately worked to tear down Winston Churchill arguing for European integration said in 1946 Small nations will count as much as large ones and gain their honor by their contribution to the common cause Let us then gain our honor http www brookings edu media research files papers 2014 10 internet transatlantic data flows meltzer internet transatlantic data flows version 2 pdf The Walls ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ We Build Ourselves President Ilves at the Awards Ceremony of Aspen Institute Prague ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ 21 October 2015 Prague ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ Thank you for your kind words It is genuinely humbling to be honored with this award ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ M y sincerest gratitude goes as well to the Aspen Institute Prague You provide open debates and rich analysis while advancing regional cooperation in Central Eastern Europe ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ Six years ago on the 20 th an anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall I was to present Vaclav Havel with the Atlantic Council s Freedom award but his health unfortunately didn t allow him to come pick it up ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ Yet I recall the celebratory mood where despite the economic crisis we faced then we were still hopeful we could still rejoice in the absence of walls We had a free and open internet open borders between our countries And liberal democracy was still taken as a given in Europe ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ Today we see around us a fracturing of Europe perhaps even liberal democracy more broadly We are figuratively as well as literally building new walls where instead we should be enjoying the freedom so many people fought for so long to achieve So I suppose the title of my talk should be The Walls That We Build Ourselves ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ Today we are still dazzled by part of this freedom the technological side Every day we read of some new digital development to make our lives easier and more convenient ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ I shall not give you statistics on how much of the world today is IT based it suffices to know that 106 billion e mails are sent each and every day So we have seen a momentous revolution in 25 odd years since Tim Berners Lee invented the hyper text transfer protocol or http at the beginning of every internet address a revolution that even dwarfs our own momentous revolutions in Europe This revolution too alters our geography our mental geography to borrow a term from Milan Kundera as well as our own place in Europe and in the World ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ If Europe is to remain part of the digital revolution we need to make most of it and look beyond our national borders W e have lost our physical borders with the Schengen Agreement we have eliminated with the Single Market Act borders for material goods and all of this has been possible because we are liberal democratic states that understand that the prosperity we all desire comes from eliminating barriers ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ The digital revolution has also altered as I said Europe s mental geography No longer is my country considered a poor formerly communist East European country backward and provincial but rather one of Europe s most technologically advanced ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ Yet some barriers remain and new ones are being added In the digital world the world we live in today Europe has not done what needs to be done in order to compete It is easier to ship a bottle of wine from the Algarve in Southern Portugal to North of the Arctic Circle in Lapland than it is to buy an iTunes record across the Czech and Austrian border and that s true for every country every border within Europe IT based service companies must adopt and adapt to 28 different taxation consumer protection and copyright regimes ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ The most cutting edge companies and digital services do not even bother with small countries like mine because it is too complicated too much work to do business there and so we end up even worse off ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ Another result is that European start ups have a much more difficult task to face the choice whether to grow slowly in Europe or to expand quickly in the United States where federal or national law takes care of a market with 320 million customers ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ So ICT development is not by default a road to success Those who make the most of it will take its dividends Those left behind will pay a high price Annually the percentage difference in growth between the US and Europe due to use of ICT in the United States or the lack of use in Europe is 0 3 percent The European Commission says that the annual cost of Europe s fractured digital market or waste is 340 billion euros a year It is also a fact that out of the 20 largest Internet companies 14 are American and almost all of the rest are Chinese Worse the presence of borders is accelerating the widening of the gap While in the analog world change tends to be linear in the digital world change is exponential as is captured by the empirically derived Moore s law that states that every year and a half the computing power of a chip will double ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ So we in the EU are lagging behind The Harvard Business Review recently claimed even stalling out The high speed train of the digital economy is accelerating without the EU at the controls and nobody will wait while we get our market house in order ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ Our challenge in Europe in an era in which people and businesses themselves are moving rapidly ahead in using IT is that much of what concerns governments and parliaments is falling ever further behind changes in the actual behavior of people Billions of people upload their personal data on their iPhones and on their digital machines without even giving it a second thought Cross border data flows have become essential elements of today s economies and innovation ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ Big Data offers a real time analyses of processes that in the past we only modelled statistically More companies depend on cloud services or platforms based on such services Yet we seem to think this is all an American Thing The free flow of data isn t just a concern for American companies the largest exporter of digitally deliverable services isn t the US it s Europe 1 ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ These rapid changes in our digital behavior prompt conflicts between our laws and the needs of the global European economy Take the recent landmark judgment on online privacy by the Court of Justice of the EU An Austrian law student won a legal challenge to the EU US Safe Harbour privacy principles that provided ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ companies the means to transfer personal data between the US and Europe After Edward Snowden s revelations in 2013 which leaked practices of mass surveillance by the NSA the student asked the Court to prohibit Facebook Ireland from transferring his personal data to the USA The Court found that such data transfers violate the EU s legal standards for data protection by compromising the essence of the fundamental right to respect for private life and thus declared C ommissions decision on data transfer based on the EU US Safe Harbor agreement illegal In other words the legal basis for such data transfers was annulled ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ What to make of this On the one hand it shows the strength of European rule of law that one person in the European Union can enforce his right to privacy and overturn a huge process ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ On the other hand the decision threatens to slow down a thriving transatlantic digital economy Many multinational companies will need to rethink how they operate because overnight they have been forced to find an alternative mechanism for their data transfers to the US This will be particularly hard for smaller companies on both sides of the Atlantic which depend on cloud services Equally worrisome is that policymakers in other capitals from Delhi to Brasilia may see this as an excuse to limit further their own cross border data flows hurting both the European and American economies and the open internet as a whole ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ To solve these problems

    Original URL path: https://president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/11666-the-walls-we-build-ourselves/index.html (2015-12-03)
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  • Address by the President of the Republic of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, at the General Debate of the 70th United Nations General Assembly, 29 September 2015
    billion has been mobilised by the European Commission and EU member states in humanitarian development economic and stabilisation assistance to Syrian IDP s and refugees And more efforts are being planned including an African Trust Fund The aim is to shift the focus from dealing with the consequences of the migration crisis to dealing with its root causes But this truly biblical movement of peoples demands a global response Ladies and Gentlemen We not only have the responsibility to bring peace and stability to Syria and Libya but also to put an end to the aggression against Ukraine Compared to a year ago the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine is less intense but daily fighting continues Crimea remains illegally occupied Those responsible for the downing of the Malaysian airliner MH17 are still at large Attempts to obstruct justice on this matter are deeply disturbing Long standing protracted conflicts in Georgia Moldova and Nagorno Karabakh remain unresolved Dialogue and diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the Russian Ukrainian conflict must continue A solution to the conflict however must not come at the expense of the principles that underpin European and global security We must continue to stand up for the international agreements that we have collectively agreed upon the UN Charter the Helsinki Final Act the Charter of Paris and demand that they be honoured and enforced We must continue to stand up to attempts to divide countries and establish spheres of influence Ladies and Gentlemen As the number of conflicts and crises worldwide grows respect for human rights has become more important than ever We must uphold universal values and stop massive violations of human rights and crimes against humanity regardless of who or what caused them As stated in the Universal Declaration human rights apply to everyone without exception This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and the Platform of Action that have influenced how we address equality and women s rights today We need to continuously stand for the rights of women and girls and to strive for the elimination of gender based violence Women s rights and the empowerment of women and girls must be promoted at all levels I welcome the Global Review of Security Council Resolution 1325 and hope that it will provide us with new impetus to move forward on these issues We must advance global actions linked to the welfare of children by investing in their education and health as well as by keeping them away from armed conflicts An active and dynamic civil society is a precondition for prosperity A free press freedom of speech and freedom of conscience are the cornerstones of any open society In an era of so called multiple narratives we must pay tribute to those activists journalists and bloggers who risk their lives to expose the truth This year the Human Rights Council established a mandate on the right to privacy Journalists bloggers human rights activists and many others living under authoritarian regimes

    Original URL path: https://president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/11611-address-by-the-president-of-the-republic-of-estonia-toomas-hendrik-ilves-at-the-general-debate-of-the-70th-united-nations-general-assembly-29-september-2015/index.html (2015-12-03)
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  • Development in the digital age
    Ball in Frankfurt on 13 June 2015 09 06 2015 Boosting EU competitiveness and jobs through the Digital Economy speech by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves at the CDU Wirtschaftstag Berlin 9 June 2015 Reset Development in the digital age Evan Schneider UN Photo Töövisiit Ameerika Ühendriikidesse New York g Photos 27 09 2015 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves opening the United Nations high level discussion on digital matters 27 September 2015 in the United Nations Headquarters New York Excellencies Distinguished members of delegations Ladies and Gentlemen Half of the world population has access to the Internet Two thirds of the people use mobile phones there are more mobile subscriptions than there are humans on the globe We live in a digital age Hence today s topic Development in the Digital Age By placing the potential of digital technologies at the center of the development agenda we recognize the obvious in order to meet the sustainable development goals we need to take advantage of the ever closer connected world The World Bank s forthcoming World Development Report 2016 is titled Digital Dividends It will be launched in January 2016 and we fully expect that it will provide a useful framework and guidance in harnessing the potential of Internet for development As a co chair of this emerging report I am particularly glad that Mr Basu from the World Bank the other co chair is here today to contribute to our discussion together with President Kikwete President Kim and other speakers I can personally testify to the opportunities that information and communication technology can provide for development Estonia is one of the few countries closest to truly becoming a digital society the use of technology and digital services is wide spread in the public as well as in the private sector Estonians have access to hundreds of electronic services We can set up a new company and have it legal and running within 20 minutes 95 of Estonians declare their income online because it takes less than five minutes and no accountants All this brings tax administration costs down to only 0 3 of net tax revenues and saves each citizen an average of 5 4 work days a year How did we get there When we established our independence in 1991 we were a country in transition with per capita income close to poverty level and rather limited resources However we realized that from the point of view of global digital development we were on an equal footing to developed countries Let us recall that it was only in the beginning of 1990s when the Internet became publicly available at the global level and computers were adopted in all areas The conscious policy choice of the Estonian government was to promote the use of digital technologies in all spheres of society and economy After all the Internet and digital technologies can be essential drivers for economic growth and equity if used properly Not to mention the efficiency of public service delivery our

    Original URL path: https://president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/11690-development-in-the-digital-age/index.html (2015-12-03)
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