Estonia leads the way with advanced e-services for citizens

Estonia is emerging as one of the most advanced e-societies in the world. Its latest innovation is an e-residency card for non-nationals while much of Estonia’s e-government infrastructure has already benefitted from European Regional Development Fund investments.

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In Estonia, digital government and infrastructure have made life more efficient and convenient for everybody. © Riigikantselei In Estonia, digital government and infrastructure have made life more efficient and convenient for everybody. © Riigikantselei

" Estonia's use of IT in the public and governance sector has clearly been the factor in pushing us to the forefront of countries in modernisation. "

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Republic of Estonia

Over the past 10 years, Estonia has been one of the world’s leaders in the use of Internet-based services for its citizens. From healthcare to elections and income tax, Estonians now enjoy a comprehensive range of public and private e-Services.

Underpinning today’s “e-Estonia” - as it has been dubbed - is the country-wide availability of Wi-Fi, which can even be accessed in the forests. A total of 88 % of households have IANternet capability while Wi-Fi connections are also available in more than 1 100 public locations, including all Estonian schools.

An e-society for citizens

In Estonia 88 % of the population aged between 16 and 74 uses the Internet and these citizens are routinely using e-services. More than 95 % of income tax declarations were presented through the e-Tax Board this year while almost all (more than 99 %) of banking transactions in are conducted through the Internet.

All residents have an Estonian e-ID card which serves as a digital identity token, while also being a physical identity document and, within the European Union, also a travel document. For digital identity, a SIM-card based mobile-ID is also available.

Business and politics

Almost every aspect of life in Estonia is covered by an e-Service. An entrepreneur can even create a company in Estonia directly from his personal device. The e-Business portal's record for the set-up and registration of a company can take just 18 minutes. The system also recognises ID cards from Belgium, Portugal, Lithuania, and Finland, with more to come.

Politics is also a digital activity. Since 2005, everyone in Estonia has been able to vote electronically via the Internet, using an ID card or mobile ID, from home or even while travelling abroad. In the recent parliamentary elections held in March, 31.5 % of voters used this e-voting system.

Total Investment and EU Funding

Total investment for the priority axis 5 'Development of information society' under the Operational Programme “Development of Economic Environment” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period was EUR 62 633 416, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 62 633 416. In the programming period 2014-2020 further ERDF funding has been allocated for the Thematic objective 2 'Enhancing ICT' as well as for e-Government services and applications within the Thematic Objective 11 'Institutional capacity'.

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