Kallas at the Tallinn Digital Summit: democracies need a framework based on common values for the transparent funding of infrastructure projects

07.09.2021 | 17:28

Creative Hub, 7 September 2021 – In the opening speech of the Tallinn Digital Summit, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas emphasised the need to agree on a framework for the transparent financing of international infrastructure projects. This framework would solve one of the key issues of the twenty-first century – controlling the infrastructure, the foundation of our economies and our daily operations.
    • Share

Kallas emphasised that modern infrastructure does not only consist of roads, railways, and bridges. “It also means digital connections, for digital components have become part of the physical infrastructure,” said the Prime Minister. “Digital components are also the main drivers of new goods, services, and business models that have yielded immense gains in productivity across the world.”

The trusted connectivity discussed at the digital summit is a framework that governs issues such as transparent and sustainable investment practices, data protection, and cyber security, and standards for the free movement of data. In her speech, Kallas noted that the first steps have already been taken. “The Three Seas Initiative and its investment fund are examples of the principles of trusted connectivity already in practice. What we need now is to broaden our horizons,” said Kallas.

Trusted connectivity is a broader concept of how democracies could approach, above all, the development of the infrastructure critical for the economy and security. The more specific objective of trusted connectivity is to create a common understanding of how to apply common rules and free data exchange to make large-scale cross-border infrastructure investments attractive to the private sector. The broader goal is to support economic growth and increase transnational cohesion and security.

In her speech, Prime Minister Kallas called on democratic states to establish partnerships with each other, drawing on the principles of trusted connectivity, and to promote the harmonisation of international data transfer and data flow policies. “These partnerships should be employed to improve the existing ones and establish new mechanisms for financing cross-border infrastructure projects that prioritise digital and cybersecurity components,” said Kallas.

In her speech, the Prime Minister also emphasised the need for a tool that demonstrates compliance with the principles of trusted connectivity. “Luckily, such a branding tool is already in the process of being developed at the OECD – the Blue Dot Network,” she added.

The Prime Minister also said that the common geopolitical weight of democracies is decreasing and the economic balance of the forces of the global system is changing. “We must take action to ward off the lure of illiberalism and protectionism,” she added, stressing the need to rethink the meaning of infrastructure in the twenty-first century.

This time, Tallinn Digital Summit 2021 focused on trusted connectivity, highlighting the ties between cross-border infrastructure, geopolitics, and digital technology. The digital summit initiated by the Prime Minister of Estonia is taking place for the fourth time.

More information about the digital summit: https://www.digitalsummit.ee

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tallinndigitalsummit

Speech by the Prime Minister: https://valitsus.ee/en/news/opening-speech-prime-minister-estonia-kaja-kallas-tallinn-digital-summit-2021

Communication Unit