An interesting report has been published on the online Tagesspiegel. Under the title “So geht digital” (This is how digital works), the author describes everyday life in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. The reason: When it comes to digitalisation, Germany is currently ranked tenth in Europe. When it comes to e-government, it ranks 19th. In contrast, the former Soviet republic of Estonia is demonstrating how digitalisation works and is doing so without compromise.
According to the report, almost all state services are digital in Estonia. Every citizen has one identification number and two pin numbers – that is all that is required to manage their lives digitally. Be it with regard their tax return, their parking ticket or a legal electronic signature on contracts: You can get through life quite easily with this ID and pin.
Objective: Digital citizenship
Just like Germany, Estonia has a “digital agenda”. This agenda was, however, only just decided upon and is, therefore, considerably newer than its German equivalent. But the objectives are incomparably higher. The Estonians are the first society in the world to introduce digital citizenship and want to transfer their entire country to the “Cloud” – metaphorically speaking.
Is this radical, consistent progress or both?
The radical path of digitalisation in Estonia is unimaginable in Germany. No more paper land registers? No more medical records, no paper records in government? Every contract signed digitally – that means tenancy agreements, mobile phone contracts and employment contracts? Simply a no-go in Europe’s largest economy, which claims to have a well-functioning administration in comparison to other EU states.
But, when it comes to digitalisation, you don’t have to go the whole hog. The size difference between the Baltic state and Germany alone makes a direct comparison impossible. However: A pinch of Estonian optimism and progressive spirit would certainly not harm the often sceptical and bureaucratic Germany.
If you want to find out more about the path Estonia is taking: Here is the link to the report in the Tagesspiegel.