…..the citizen can lodge a complaint: as a matter of fact interferences are a crime.
“Where do we start?” In 1991, when Estonia gained its independence from URSS , this was the question that haunted those who drove the transition. They had neither a Constitution nor democratic institutions or even a legal system. Their infrastructure were obsolete and in bad conditions and their bank system was light-years away from western standards. They had to do almost everything. And they had no big budget at their disposal for reconstruction: the economic crisis had immediately laid the country, that soon passed from a relative prosperity under Sovietic protection to a very quick inflation and a PIL in decline. “We really had no intention to create a digital State. It was a matter of survival. We soon realized that Public Administration and government bureaucracy were very expensive”, explains us Linnar Vilk, a 53 years old engineer/economist, who is one of the makers of Estonia’s bet for technology. “We wanted to do things our way and difference us from the phase that we were closing. And this certainly was a very good reason to give a strong boost to the process of digitalization. In Poland trade unions run post-Soviet movement, in Czechoslovakia this role was played by intellectuals like Václav Hawel and in Estonia by a mixture of musicians, poets, writers and scientists. Engineers were directly engaged in constituting laws and Administration”.
An year before Independence and making fun of Soviet prohibitions, the Dissidence had already started to create a population register. The system was rudimentary and at the beginning it was possible that there were some duplications, but this situation was the prelude of the code that then identified the citizens of the Estonian Republic. In 1992, the first passports of the new nation were issued and when, ten years later, it was time of renewal, Government approved passports to take a further step forward. Moreover, Government delivered identity cards with an electronic chip, so citizens could access to its network services. Today 99% of the official procedures – for a total of 1789 – can be made at any time: e-Government Portal is open 24/7. Only for real estate transactions and for marriage or divorce you must be physically present. Estonian citizens only need an internet connection to vote, to renew their driver licence, to consult medical prescriptions, to file a claim for an amount of less than 2000 euros and submit their tax declaration. And more: they can fight a fine, change their home address, register a company, sign documents, see their son’s school records and communicate with school teachers, access to their medical history etc….. And Estonian rulers are an example: in the year 2000 paper documents disappeared during the meetings of the Council of Ministers and the Primer Minister prints his digital signature on a display to allow the entry into force of the laws. These are the advantages of e-Estonia, an efficient, clear and safe ecosystem, that has become a worldwide example. 70% of GDP comes from service sector, especially those related to information and communication technology: just the sectors that in 2018 have allowed the growth of national richness. Living in Paraguay is the first European Consultant digital Company with its legal office in Estonia, the most important digital country in the planet!