Estonia drops below the OECD average in its Digital Government Index 2019

Estonia – often touted, mostly by itself, as a world-leading e-state – has fallen below the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average in the organisation’s Digital Government Index 2019; this drop in the index has irritated some of the former Estonian leaders who hold the current government accountable.

The Digital Government Index lists Estonia as 18th in the 2019 listing, a notch below the OECD average. Traditionally, Estonia has always been among the best digital governance examples among the members of the OECD. For example, in the 2016 index, Estonia was ranked as second.

The average digital government score of the OECD is, according to the 2019 index, 0.501; Estonia’s score, however, was 0.478. The worst spot for Estonia is in the “Government as platform” category where Estonia is ranked 23rd; in the “User-Driven” and “Proactiveness” categories, Estonia is ranked 20th.

The digital state is broken – former president

This drop in the index has irritated some of the former leaders of Estonia, like the former prime minister, Andrus Ansip, and the previous president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves – both to whom Estonia owes a debt of gratitude for helping to build the digital state and developing digital government solutions.

“It makes me sick what Estonia has become with the current government in 18 months. The digital state is broken, the international reputation is in the trash, the society is angry, incapable, always berating ministers. I wouldn’t have believed the downward spiral could’ve been this fast,” Ilves said in a tweet, pointing to the current governing coalition that includes the far-right Estonian Conservative People’s Party – also known as EKRE.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves in 2011. Photo by Hindrek Maasik.

The former prime minister, Andrus Ansip, said in a tweet that after Estonia restored its independence, all governments have worked for the goal that Estonia would never be alone again.

Former premier: a conscious destruction of Estonia’s reputation

“What’s happening now is not just a downward spiral. This is a conscious destruction of the country’s reputation. This is an isolation of Estonia. This is a destruction of our country,” Ansip said.

The leaders of the OECD Digital Government Index 2019 are South Korea, the United Kingdom, Colombia and Denmark. Right in front of Estonia are Slovenia and Italy.

The Digital Government Index measures the maturity level of digital government strategies in OECD member and partner countries based on evidence gathered through the Survey on Digital Government.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 37 member countries. It’s a forum of countries describing themselves as committed to democracy and the market economy, providing a platform to compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practices and coordinate domestic and international policies of its members.

Cover: The drop in the index has irritated some of the former Estonian leaders, who hold the current government accountable. Here, the current prime minister Jüri Ratas, foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu and finance minister Martin Helme participate at a government meeting. Photo by Stenbock House.

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