Estonishing new Member of the EU

In terms of penetration of new communication technologies, Estonia is way ahead many EU countries. For example, the diffusion of broad band internet is superior to the one in countries such as The Netherlands, Italy or Great Britain, the Estonian Parliament having guaranteed that the access to internet is a constitutional right.
Estonian citizens will probably be the first to be able to vote on-line in 2005 (so far, only partial experiences have been conducted in other countries). The Estonians have now a digital signature that will be encoded in their chip-embedded identity card, introduced in 2002.
Four years ago, Estonian government was the first one to renounce to paper during its cabinet meetings. Ministers are asked to use only documents available on the government intranet. The system has so far saved some 200.000 euros a years in papers and photocopies. Plus, it allows ministers to participate to the sessions wherever they are.
As soon as they are adopted, decisions are published on-line for the public to read and comment. According to governmental sources, around 5% of citizens’ suggestions are taken into account.
WI-Fi is now ubiquitous (and often for free) in Tallin, the capital of a country counting only 1,4 million inhabitants, from the airport to the ministries.
The phone operator EMT is since 1999 a pioneer in terms of payment through mobile phones: its subscribers are now familiar with paying parking places, lottery or concert tickets with their mobile.
From an article of Le Soir (in French)