Com­pet­ing with your­self

The Baltic Times - - FRONT PAGE - Jüri Ratas

We all want to pro­vide the world with in­tel­li­gent and cre­ative goods and ser­vices that peo­ple love. Large and small coun­tries alike pur­sue in­ter­na­tional suc­cess sto­ries to speak for them­selves. Just to name a few trade­marks: Es­to­nia is known for Skype, on­line pub­lic ser­vices like on­line vot­ing or on­line an­nual tax re­turns, e-res­i­dency, or for pre­mium qual­ity-es­to­nian con­cert pi­anos. One could eas­ily ex­tend this list with well-known trade­marks like Laima of Latvia or Žal­giris, Kau­nas of Lithua­nia. All three Baltic States will have their cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tions in 2018.

The bil­lion dol­lar ques­tion is how to reach the in­no­va­tion fron­tier and stay there, rid­ing on a se­quence of in­ter­na­tional suc­cess sto­ries?

We live in a dy­namic world where com­pet­i­tive­ness edges emerge and dis­ap­pear. We need to know where our strengths lie and how to im­prove them fur­ther. In some sense, it is a bit like com­pet­ing with your­self. The com­pet­i­tive­ness re­mains an elu­sive con­cept and the code­book of ex­celling com­pet­i­tive­ness is nonex­is­tent. Our steady en­deavor to build the ecosys­tem, in which suc­cess sto­ries are com­posed, is needed. Of course, this is eas­ier said than done.

Es­to­nia has cho­sen to adopt new tech­nolo­gies in the pro­vi­sion of pub­lic ser­vices. Our mes­sage is that this pays off and we are happy to share our ex­pe­ri­ences with the world.

Tech­nol­ogy alone does not de­liver. But in­stead, the most valu­able as­set is our peo­ple. What is good for peo­ple is also good for com­pet­i­tive­ness. We need to em­bed in our cul­ture the value of teach­ing and learn­ing to en­hance hu­man cap­i­tal. Fol­low­ing the PISA test re­sults, Es­to­nia’s ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion is the best in Europe, and be­longs to the world­wide top. Be­ing a small coun­try, we must ad­di­tion­ally be able to at­tract com­pe­ten­cies from the global mar­ket.

Small coun­tries need to mu­tu­ally en­hance their com­pet­i­tive­ness in the global sup­ply chains. Our per­for­mance im­proves af­ter build­ing on the com­ple­men­tar­i­ties that we have with our part­ners. One thing we know for sure is that our poli­cies need to be geared to­wards open­ness and flex­i­bil­ity. This is where our strengths lie.

I would like to ad­dress one con­cern as well. It is dif­fi­cult to over­es­ti­mate the ben­e­fits that open­ness has pro­vided to Es­to­nia. Be it from free trade, la­bor or cap­i­tal mo­bil­ity, the EU or NATO mem­ber­ships.

It is not only about Es­to­nia, but peo­ple from across the world have ben­e­fit­ted tremen­dously from the re­duc­tion of var­i­ous bar­ri­ers. I am con­cerned of the risk that the world may start drift­ing to­wards pro­tec­tion­ism, re­vers­ing the hard-won gains. I con­sider it my duty to fight against this sen­ti­ment.

Es­to­nia has been and will re­main a com­mit­ted ally to the global lead­ers who pur­sue an open, in­clu­sive, and bar­rier-free world. We all need to look for the in­cen­tives that main­tain the glob­al­iza­tion mo­men­tum.

Es­to­nia has been and will re­main a com­mit­ted ally to the global lead­ers who pur­sue an open, in­clu­sive, and bar­rier-free world. We all need to look for the in­cen­tives that main­tain the glob­al­iza­tion mo­men­tum.”

Juri Ratas, Prime Min­is­ter of Es­to­nia

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Latvia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.