Time to open the doors

Tuesday, 21 May 2019
The Nordic and Baltic ministers responsible for digitalisation are highly ambitious when it comes to developing seamless digital solutions for the people and public-sector bodies of the region. Mutual recognition of national e-IDs is the key to opening the doors to cross-border public services for everybody in the region.  From the left: deputy minister Elijus Čivilis (Lithuania), education minister Tony Asumaa (Åland), digitalisation minister Nikolai Astrup (Norway), finance minister Bjarni Benediktsson (Iceland), finance minister Kristina Háfoss (Faroe Islands), Secretary General Paula Lehtomäki (Nordic Council of Ministers), Head of Division Jens Krieger Røyen (Denmark) , Secretary General Ando Leppiman (Estonia), Assistant Secretary of State Edmund Belskis (Latvia), Head of Division Malin Bohlin (Sweden), Head of Division Tom Andersen (Greenland). The Nordic and Baltic ministers responsible for digitalisation are highly ambitious when it comes to developing seamless digital solutions for the people and public-sector bodies of the region. Mutual recognition of national e-IDs is the key to opening the doors to cross-border public services for everybody in the region. From the left: deputy minister Elijus Čivilis (Lithuania), education minister Tony Asumaa (Åland), digitalisation minister Nikolai Astrup (Norway), finance minister Bjarni Benediktsson (Iceland), finance minister Kristina Háfoss (Faroe Islands), Secretary General Paula Lehtomäki (Nordic Council of Ministers), Head of Division Jens Krieger Røyen (Denmark) , Secretary General Ando Leppiman (Estonia), Assistant Secretary of State Edmund Belskis (Latvia), Head of Division Malin Bohlin (Sweden), Head of Division Tom Andersen (Greenland). Gudmundur Ingolfsson/Ímynd

Nordic and Baltic citizens will soon have digital access to each others’ public services. The key has already been developed. It is now up to the countries to decide which doors it will open.

Providing Nordic and Baltic citizens with access to digital services in each others’ countries is an important foundation stone in the development of a digitally integrated region, which will make it easier for people and companies to move across digital and physical borders. The key consists of the electronic ID (eID) we already use to access digital services such as bank transactions, tax registration, etc.

The Nordic and Baltic ministers responsible for digitalisation met in Reykjavik on Tuesday, May 14th. They decided that sufficient progress has been made in the work on the mutual approval of national e-IDs for it to be time to take the next step.

The ministers have set up a group of experts to identify which public services would provide people and businesses with the greatest benefits if seamless, cross-border digital solutions were introduced.

“Digital solutions and services are everywhere in society and should be seen as a tool to give citizens access without hindrance to the services we all take for granted. The ability of the Nordic and Baltic countries to work together is an advantage and will ensure that we come up with the best cross-border solutions,” says the Icelandic Minister of Finance, Bjarni Benediktsson.

The Nordic and Baltic countries have relatively similar administrative systems and a high degree of digital maturity. This makes the region ideal for a rapid implementation of the EU's Digital Single Market (DSM) directive, which says that all EU/EEA countries must provide seamless digital solutions across borders. In other words, the directive says that your national e-ID should provide access to public services in other countries.
The ministers for Nordic co-operation Ministers are also keeping a close eye on the co-operation on digitalisation. They have expressed a desire to devote more of the budget to the work that is being done on in this field and to make it a higher priority.

“It is gratifying that the Nordic Council of Ministers has a key role to play in an area that will be so important for the people of the Region. The foundation stone has been laid for a more digitally integrated region. We now need to take the work to a new level. The relevance and value to Nordic citizens of the solutions being worked on will be unprecedented,” says the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, Paula Lehtomäki.

 

Article originally published on norden.org


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