The informal Tallinn Digital Summit is taking place in the Estonian capital city today, Thursday 27th September and tomorrow, gathering 27 European heads of state or government. The Summit has been organized by the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, working alongside the European Commission to prepare the numerous topics of discussion.
The Estonian representatives to the EU made digital innovation one of their main priorities for the Union during their turn of the Council’s rotating presidency. This can especially be explained by the interest Estonia has had for new technologies and notably e-government and e-services. At the Digital Summit in Tallinn, it intends to foster discussions on digital innovation and the manner Europe should pave the way to technological progress until 2025, so that « Europe remains at the forefront of technological progress while at the same time becoming a global leader in the digital field « , an Estonian spokesperson stressed on.
The official aim of this informal event is thus to discuss the EU’s future in terms of innovation, digitalization and cybersecurity, in order to make the EU one of the top leaders for digital innovation and technology in the world. However, there will clearly be unrelated talks to this broad theme, such as the Brexit negotiations’ development, as Theresa May will be present for the occasion. Not surprisingly, the Spanish head of government Mariano Rajoy will not be attending the Summit, the urgency of the Catalan referendum keeping him from travelling to Tallinn.
In addition, another informal event should be taking place at Tallinn on the night of the 28th September, assembling all the present 27 European leaders as well as the current President of the Council of the EU, Donald Tusk, who invited them. In his invitation letter, Tusk listed a number of topics which he believes are in need for a common European positioning, such as migration, defence, economy and trade. He also addressed both the questions of the EU budget and of the governance of the Economic and Monetary Union, saying that formal discussions – notably on the idea of a European Monetary Fund to replace the stability mechanism – would be held in December.
The President of the Council insisted that a decision must be taken « before June 2018 ». He also added: “We cannot deal with, let alone decide on, all these questions in Tallinn. But I do think that this meeting will be a good opportunity to discuss how we approach this debate, particularly given the many interesting voices we have recently heard on substance, method as well as objectives”.
Finally, talks should equally be focusing on French President Emmanuel Macron’s pro-European speech at La Sorbonne which took place this past Tuesday, and the set of reforms he proposed to reinvigorate the European Union. It appears that a lot of issues will need to be addressed by European political leaders during this short 2 days Summit in Tallinn, and innovation should still be part of it.
For further information:
Council of the European Union: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/09/21-tusk-letter-tallinn/