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Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Reinart: E-Services and Free Movement of Information Have Great Economic Potential

13.11.2013

The 11th annual Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) took place in New Delhi on 11-12 November. The head of the Estonian delegation, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Väino Reinart, talked in his speech about internet freedom and cyber security and introduced Estonia’s e-experiences. Undersecretary Reinart stressed the importance of international cooperation in the advancement of global digitization and the development of cyber security.

According to Undersecretary Väino Reinart, e-services and the free movement of information have great economic potential and cross-border e-trade brings profits to both individuals and large international corporations. “In addition to the development of e-services and digital governance, it is also necessary to focus on the security of those applications. Cyber security is important not only for international security but also for protecting the rights of citizens and the secure functioning of economies and markets,” said Undersecretary Reinart. He added that the only current internationally binding agreement to prevent and obstruct cybercrime is the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime.

In his speech, Reinart also discussed virtual freedom of expression, which for Estonia is an inseparable part of human rights. “Supporting freedom of expression online is just as important for us as all other activities associated with the protection and advancement of human rights,” stated Undersecretary Reinart.

During the course of the Asia-Europe Meeting, the representatives of Nordic and Baltic countries met with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida to discuss regional cooperation.

At the meeting with Japan, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Väino Reinart gave an overview of Estonia’s priorities as coordinator of Nordic-Baltic cooperation in 2014. “We would like to focus on cooperation in cyber defence, energy questions, increasing security, and promoting the Eastern Partnership,” said Undersecretary Reinart. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida expressed interest in cooperating with the Nordic-Baltic states in security questions, advancing economic collaboration, empowerment of women, and regarding the events in the Arctic Council.

Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Väino Reinart also had bilateral meetings in New Delhi with the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dipu Moni, Permanent Secretary Dato Lim Jock Hai of the Brunei Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Foreign Minister of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith, and Burmese Foreign Minister Thant Kyaw. At the meetings, opportunities for advancing bilateral economic cooperation, promoting investment, exchanging business delegations, and developing tourism were discussed.

Reinart introduced Estonia’s progress in the fields of e-governance and e-services to the representatives of Bangladesh, Brunei, Laos, and Myanmar/Burma. “We are ready to share our experiences in modernizing our state through e-governance and we invite your experts to visit Estonia and familiarize themselves with Estonia’s e-solutions,” stated Undersecretary Reinart.

Cooperation in international organisations, including supporting each others’ candidacies, was also discussed at the meetings.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry/10814884246/.

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