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European neighbours Finland and Estonia are both global tech leaders and they are increasingly sharing their expertise through cross-border partnerships.
The latest agreement is an ambitious new cross-border collaboration to develop joint digital technology solutions and support the digital transformation of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the countries.
The first stage of the plan, which is covered by a memorandum of understanding (MoU), is focused on advancing digital transformation within logistics to drive greater efficiencies in cross-border transport and trade. A further objective of the MoU is to promote the “green transition”.
A central feature of the cross-border cooperation will result in
Digitisation of logistics partnership
Embedded in the MoU is a joint strategy to create an exchange of information conduit between
The different projects to be run as part of the collaboration will be managed and staffed by special teams formed within
“The MoU is a giant step forward for
“A major incentive for us is that other EU countries can make use of the knowledge and expertise we create in developing advanced digital solutions. This latest form of digital cooperation with which Estonia aims to increase efficiency in international transport, deliver new business opportunities and promote the achievement of emission-reduction targets,” said Harakka.
The digitisation of a logistics-driven MoU represents a strengthening in the long-standing digital-based cross-border partnership between Finland and Estonia.
Since gaining its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Estonia has fostered a reputation within the close-knit community of Nordic and Baltic states as being Finland’s “little brother”.
In the years after 1991,
These pivotal areas of the fledgling Estonian economy were bolstered by a significant inflow of Finnish capital and expertise that helped to rapidly modernise
Real-time economy partnership
The digitisation of logistics joint venture follows closely on the heels of a Finnish-Estonian “real-time economy” partnership linked to the launch by Estonia of a digital ecosystem initiative, where transactions, including invoices, take place in real time.
The resulting new digital ecosystem, modelled on real-time data exchange (RTDE) solutions developed in
They also include other financial and non-financial data exchange mechanisms, such as e-waybills, which are generated for cross-border goods transportation. The same RTDE technology can be used to create digital product passports (DPPs) in the future.
The EU is working to roll out DPPs under the new Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR). The ESPR is on course to be adopted by EU states during the first quarter of 2024. It will initially comprise sector-specific legislation for up to 30 different product categories. In the case of DPPs, the EU has identified apparel, batteries and consumer electronics as the three industries where product passport implementation will proceed in 2026.
Digital data exchange
The deepening of cross-border digital cooperation between
EEPD will significantly simplify the lives of the large number of Finnish and Estonian citizens who move between the two countries for work and travel, said Timo Salovaara, DPDS’s director general.
“Under the new digital population data system, a person who moves from
Finland and Estonia began to dramatically scale up digital collaboration in 2020, a year when the commercial registers of each country began exchanging data on a cross-border basis. Following the initiative, which helped to develop the integration of digital services between Estonia and Finland, the two national commercial registers are able to request information through the data exchange platform X-Road, operated by Estonia.
In the long term,
The stream of cross-border digital partnerships in 2020 also produced a digitally signed ICT memorandum of understanding between the two
Considered the world’s first digitally inscribed international agreement, the ICT MoU was signed using Finland and Estonia’s state-issued national ID cards, which use a common software version and platform. The shared resource allows authorities in both countries to exchange information, while enabling companies and persons to conclude contracts and exchange other documents using mutually accepted digital signatures.
Read more about IT in Estonia
- IT professionals from all over the world are being lured to Estonia through a government recruitment campaign.
- The UK and Estonian governments launch a TechLink programme to share best practice and innovations.
- The Estonian government is working on a project to allow citizens to ask Siri, Alexa or almost any other virtual digital assistant to interact with government departments on their behalf.
- Siim Sikkut is one of a generation of tech-native Estonians who is turning his knowledge and experience to transforming government services.