“Portugal is one of the leading countries in the digital transformation of public services”

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The former president of Estonia was in Lisbon this Thursday, where he praised the process of digitization of public administration and criticized the “lack of political will” in Europe to create a digital single market

Digital transition was the expression most heard during IDC FutureScape 2023, the annual event organized by the consultancy to announce the main trends in the technology market for the next 12 months. Among the challenges at the level of cybersecurity, budgets or talent, the initiative did not end without addressing the specifics of the transformation of public administration. “In Europe, Portugal is one of the leading countries in the digital transformation of public services,” praised Toomas Ilves, president of Estonia between 2006 and 2016.

The former leader, who closed the IDC event at Centro Cultural de Belém, in Lisbon, is recognized for his work in digitizing the public sector in a country that allows access to virtually all state services via the internet. During his speech, Ilves explained that, in this field, Portugal and Estonia are countries with good practices that, he argues, should be extended to the entire European Union.

“What we should really want to do is create a Schengen zone for medical records,” he points out, in reference to the issue of sharing clinical data between member states. The discussion is not new, but Toomas Ilves guarantees that this scenario is not yet a reality only because of “lack of political will from the so-called “engines of Europe”: France and Germany, he says.

In a country like Estonia, where the lives of citizens and classified state information are virtual, how do you ensure the security of digital data? Toomas Ilves recalls the occupation of Estonia by the Soviet Union for almost 50 years to justify a degree of permanent “paranoia” of the country in protecting its sovereignty and tells of the solution found. “We made an agreement with Luxembourg to have them guard a server of ours and treat it as if it were an embassy. This server runs 24 hours a day and all the critical data is there,” he explains.

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