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Conclusions of Tallinn Digital Summit include creating a digital continent

TALLINN - Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas after receiving feedback on Friday published conclusions from the Tallinn Digital Summit which call for the creation of a new digital continent in Europe.

"I was taken in by the energy with which leaders engaged on this crucial issue for the future of Europe. They were all united in their desire to make a digital Europe a reality. At the Tallinn Digital Summit, we identified the most pressing issues and got the digital snowball rolling," Ratas said in a press release.

"I will now bring my conclusions from the Tallinn Digital Summit to the European Council and I am confident that the political will is there to take the next necessary steps. We owe it to our citizens, to our industries and businesses not to miss this opportunity of making Europe a truly digital continent  by 2025," the prime minister said.

Maintaining the momentum created by the leaders' discussions in Tallinn the ministers will discuss these topics at the upcoming European Council on October 19-20 and EU digital ministers will also have an extraordinary meeting on October 24.

Tallinn Digital Summit on September 29 was the first gathering of EU leaders on digital issues and brought together heads of state and government from 25 member states. During two working sessions the topics of security, e-government, industry, economy and society were on the table.

The key takeaways from the prime minister's conclusions that were published on Friday include a need for more efficient use of digital tools in governance -- bringing government and the public sector fully into the digital age to improve public services for citizens and businesses, while containing costs and promoting innovation. 

Another area that demands immediate attention is secure cyberspace -- the aim should be to make Europe a global leader in cyber security by 2025, in order to ensure trust, confidence and protection of our citizens, consumers and enterprises online and to enable a free and law-governed internet, the conclusions said.

The heads of state and government also agreed on the importance of ensuring that the EU becomes a home for enterprises and innovators in the digital age. As digitization transforms sectors, it is crucial to make sure that the EU's freedoms are fit for the digital age. Europe should aim to be the continent of innovation and technology, making the most of the free movement of data, the prime minister's conclusions said.

As digitalization has a deep impact on the demand and life cycle of skills, it is of utmost importance to empower and enable people to adjust to demands of the digital age. Digital skills are the new literacy, and should be taught universally. It is important to acknowledge that the digital economy offers major opportunities for our young people, including through startups and self-employment. EU member states need to remain committed to promoting and preserving a social model fit for the digital economy, the conclusions said.

The government leaders agreed that last but not least, there is no digital economy or innovation without the necessary infrastructure -- Europe should invest in a world class infrastructure to remain a world class actor on a global stage.

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