Tallinn in the News May 2018

Leaders gather in Tallinn to plan free public transport

Leaders from municipalities, researchers and civic activists from all over the World came to Tallinn from the 9-12 May to discuss free public transport.

Estonian Minister for Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, Kadri Simson, and French MEP, Karima Delli, Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism at the European Parliament, gave the keynote address to the 135 attendees.

Paris was the biggest city to be represented at the conference “Free Public Transport for all. Dream or reality”

Emmanuel Gregoire, Deputy Mayor, Paris, said he believed free public transport was technically feasible in the French capital and was encouraged by what he had learnt at the conference.

“Tallinn is the biggest city in the World which has free public transport. The main objective in Paris is to fight against pollution. Here in Tallinn, the main objective is to develop mobility. I will need to implement a study with the point of view to reduce pollution.

“The purpose is not only to increase the use of free public transport but to reduce the use of cars.”

Boris Palmer, Mayor of Tübingen said the main difference between his city and Tallinn was people register in the city and that meant taxes flowed back into the city.
“If it would happen in my city I could fly back and start it tomorrow, knowing the money will flow back. “

Palmer said the conference made clear the motivation for free public transport is different and the solutions and problems in each city are different.

“There are really very different situations and this influence whether people switch to public transport or not,” Palmer said.

“We have a fairly rich population. In Poland, they started such an experiment because people couldn’t afford their children buying bus trips even,” Palmer said.
Other representatives at the conference came from United States, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Brazil, China, Lithuania and the United Kingdom including the mayors of Dunkirk (France) Mayor, Avesta (Sweden) Templin (Germany).

Tallinn Day Mayor and Prime Minister get together

The changing political landscape in Estonia was reflected this May 15, 2018, as Estonia’s Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and Tallinn’s Mayor Taavi got together in the Old Town for Tallinn day.

Tallinn Day is held each year to celebrate the city getting Lubeck rights in 1248 and becoming a member of the Hanseatic League, a medieval proto European Union.
This is the second year in the row that the Prime Minister and the Mayor of Tallinn have got together. The Prime Minister leads a coalition government made up of the centre-left Centre and Social Democratic Parties and the centre-right Fatherland Pro Patria Union.

Also at the ceremony were the Mayor of Riga, Nils Usakovs and Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Simasius.

Prime Minister Ratas gave the opening address at Toompea and then moved to the Danish king’s garden where ceremonial cannon shots were fired.

The traditional of the Prime Minister and Mayor meeting up on Tallinn day was revived last year after years of political division between the then ruling Reform Party and the Centre Party. The first time Tallinn Day was celebrated was in 2002.

At a reception for the town’s folk, the Mayor declared the Tallinn day festivities official open. All over the city, there were parties related to the day.

The 2018 IMPACTS Conference 

The Information Management Policies Assessment for City Transportation Systems (IMPACTS) conference is taking place in Tallinn 30 May-1 June 2018.

IMPACTS is a Network of European Capital and Major Metropolitan centre which exchange information and experience on Urban Mobility and Transport Policies.
Taavi Aas Mayor of Tallinn and IMPACTS President explained that Tallinn leads the World in free public transport.

“Free transport stimulates people to go out more in the evenings and weekends to consume local goods and services, thus supporting the local economy.
“It also enhances the labour market, expanding the area of job seeking and job taking for many.”

Speakers at the conference include Tallinn’s deputy mayor Kalle Klandorf, as well as speakers from Vienna, Austria, St Petersburg, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Gothenburg and Madrid.

Summer is here with Old Town Days

This year’s Old Town days opening show began on the 30 May at 7 pm on Raekoja Square and will go on for five days.

The theme is Estonia’s centenary.

Viewers will get an overview of the last 100 years of the city’s history with music and performances reflecting every decade. Estonia became an independent nation 100 years ago but suffered through 50 years of Soviet occupation before regaining its independence in the 90s.

A giant video screen will be on display showing the changing architecture of the city over the last 100 years. A dance group will present music and dance from each era in the 20th and 21st Century.

The stage music is by Siim Aimla, dance troupe is by Piret Torm-Kriis.  Events in the life of statesman and Tallinn Mayor Jaan Poska will prominently feature at the festival.

Housing Europe Conference to discuss affordable housing

The annual international conference on Housing Europe will take place in Tallinn on 7 June at the newly opened Tallinn Film Museum, under the theme ‘Liveability and Affordability in Digitized Cities’

Keynote speaker will be American writer and urbanist Adam Greenfield.

There will be an Ad-hoc working group the preceding day to support countries with housing systems in transition taking place 10:30 to 13:30 at the Maarjamäe Palace halls.

On the same day, Cooperative Housing International (CHI) will be holding its annual meeting on the same premises.

Housing Europe members will discuss the challenges in the way they operate and interact with the changing urban environment. The event will bring together more than 150 representatives of housing associations across Europe, policymakers and the civil society in an exchange that plans to generate real solutions to the problem of lack of affordable housing

Tallinn leads World in e-Governance  “Governance for Digital Citizens”
The conference for e-Governance took place in Tallinn from 29-30 May 2019.
Keynote speaker at the conference was Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid.
The conference brought experts and public officials from around the world including representatives from more than 80 countries.

Topics discussed were, Digital Citizen, Digital Rights and Freedoms, Personalised e-Governance and Digital Platforms for Digital Citizens

Six countries were represented a ministerial level; Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Ghana, Saint Lucia and Ukraine.

An overview of Tallinn’s journey to e-Governance was given by city secretary Toomas Sepp, who spoke also about public channels events information system and city planning.

E-Governance Academy development director, Hannes Astok, said the focus of the conference was the expectations of internet users and the needs of state communication and digital matter.

“Country and local government are faced with the fact that people are on the internet, but they are not, this is very uncomfortable for the user.

“The conference idea is to raise awareness to government and citizens or what the needs of the citizens are to exist in the internet environment and to offer ideas of how to bring that to the community, so that local government, IT entrepreneurs and Starts-ups  can develop people requirements and bespoke services,”  Hannes Astok said.
“E-governance development is a societal creation, not a state official driver. Estonia should be an example,“ he added.

Other issues discussed were the implications of the new EU new data protection. Conference attendees were also introduced to Estonia IT and digital entrepreneurial culture and learnt about Estonia’s collaborations with Eastern partners countries.