Last night I visited my good friend James Oates, a British banker, technology expert and an aspiring politician who moved to Tallinn and bought an apartment in the Old Town last week. It took James just ONE DAY to complete all the purchase formalities online, whereas back in the UK over three months had been spent formalising and finalising the sale of his London flat the old way. His company’s registration in Estonia (online) was complete in 15 minutes, there was no need to visit a local notary: he signed all the papers with the help of a digital ID available for all Estonian residents.
Last night James was busy filing his tax return – online no doubt. It all gets submitted, approved of and money credited to the taxpayer’s account or debited from it within 24 hours!
Democracy’s main purpose is making everyday life of an ordinary citizen as problem-free as possible. It is incompatible with huge state bureaucracy, and in Estonia they understand this very well.
Also, as the country’s Justice Minister told us yesterday, democracy is about choices. He meant e-voting of which he is an ardent supporter (he was able to cast his vote in the last Estonian parliamentary elections while on an assignment in Chile).
On a different note, there’s no hot water in the whole of Central Tallinn this morning – a clear sign it is time for us to go back home.
C’est la vie, as the French say. This is life… Or this is includes e-life too…