OREANDA-NEWS. December 13, 2013. Prime Minister Andrus Ansip is visiting Finland today, where he will meet with Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen. One of the topics of discussion will be the cooperation between the countries in the field of information and communication technologies. Yesterday, the Prime Ministers concluded an intergovernmental agreement that will become the basis for cooperation in the fields of e-government and information society between Estonia and Finland.

The Prime Ministers signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) digitally– Prime Minister Ansip in Tallinn and Prime Minister Katainen in Helsinki. To our knowledge, this is the world’s first digitally signed international agreement; it was signed using ID cards.

Furthermore, the Estonia’s ID card basic software now supports with its new version release the Finnish citizen ID cards. This will enable Estonian and Finnish authorities to exchange information, the companies and persons to conclude contracts and exchange other documents using the digital signatures mutually.

The MoU between Estonia and Finland is an important milestone in what is a long and successful cooperation in the field of information and communication technologies. Estonia has learned a lot from Finland in this field. For instance, Estonia followed the example of Finland in 2002 with eID introduction.

One of the central agreements of the MoU foresees that the state data exchange layer, known in Estonia as the X-Road, will be developed jointly with the Finns in the future. The clearest benefit of such data exchange platforms lies in the fact that citizens and companies have to be asked to submit information just once. The cooperation will be based on the present version and source-code of the Estonian state data exchange layer X-road. With the introduction of a similar solution in Finland, the countries will begin to offer bilateral cross-border e-services, with the first pilot projects to go public in 2014.

At the meeting of the Prime Ministers today, bilateral relations will also be discussed from a wider perspective together with current issues, such as expectations regarding the forthcoming European Council meeting.