Exclusive - Taavi Roivas Extended Interview Pt. 1

March 22, 2016 - Taavi Roivas 03/22/2016 Views: 3,285

Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas explains what the U.S. government can learn from his country's technological advances. (5:27)

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My guest tonight isthe prime minister of Estonia.

Please welcome Taavi Rõivas!

-♪ -(cheering and applause)

Oh, wow. Thank you so muchfor being here,

-Mr. Prime Minister. -Well,thank you for inviting me.

-It's great to be here. -Yeah.I've always wanted to say that.

"Mr. Prime Minister."

Everyone has to referto you like that, don't they,

-Mr. Prime Minister?-Um, yes and no.

Some call me Taavi.My daughter says, uh,

"At home, you are notPrime Minister. You are Daddy."


She's seven, you know?She's k-kind of bossy.

You should get the...get the police to sort her out,

-my friend. Uh...-No, I won't do that.

-Let's-let's start atthe beginning. -She would shut

-the police up.-Not, um...

not everyone is familiarwith Estonia,

but you guys are, honestly,

one of the mostdigitally-forward countries

in the world. And so,since you do everything online,

could you tell us a bitabout Estonia

but in 140 characters or less?

Yeah, I tweetwith two of my thumbs.

Well, uh, Estonia really isa very, very loveable country

and-and we do lots of thingsdigitally and-and...

But that's not the only thing,of course.

We area very progressive country

in termsof, uh, economic development.

Our economy has grownseven and a half times

over the two decades, so...

-It... -And, of course,we are good ally for U.S.

Yeah. It's-it's a...

it's-it's an amazing story,reading about Estonia

and, I mean, uh,coming from the economic turmoil

that the country was inand what you've done.

And that has been somethingthat hasn't been lost

on American politicians.

In fact, we have a-a few clipshere, if they'll play those.

You can fill out your tax returnin Estonia

online in five minutes.

Estonians can usetheir smartphones

to get just about anything doneonline.

I should have called, uh,the Estonians

when we were setting upour health care Web site.

-(laughter and applause)-That's you! That's you!

So... let's startwith the first part.

Jeb Bush says Estonians can fillout tax returns in five minutes.

Is that true?

Well, it used to be.

Now we upgraded the system.It's three minutes.

On average.

Seriously, he was in Estonia,uh, last year,

and-and I told himabout the details

and-and he really knows it...uh, how it works.

And now it takesapproximately three minutes.

You can do it anywhere whereyou have Internet connection.

I did my last year's taxesat, uh, Luxembourg Airport.

You did your taxesat the airport?

Eh, I declared them, yes.

-I-I took my iPad;-Yeah.

then I logged in electronically,of course, the way we do it;

and-and, uh, then...Well, the tax authority knows

-how much money I make.-Because they pay you.

-Yeah, exac-exactly.-I mean, that's a bit...

The government pays me,so the government

should never ask mehow much money I make

-because they know it.-That's weird that they do that.

-That's weird that they do thatwith world leaders. -Exactly.

-Exactly. -Maybeit's just a trap, just to see

-if you're gonna...-Well, it might be,

but, uh, most locations,they actually, you know, feel

that it's convenient for themto do it the other way.

In Estonia, we believein the principle

-that if the governmenthas asked you once -Yes.

how much money you make,you know,

who's the fatherof the lovely girl here,

my daughter, you know, they...

I have told the government

-that Miina Rõivasis my daughter, -Yes.

so they should never ask againwho is his daddy, right?

-So, but-but they...-So what you're saying is...

what you're saying... whatyou're saying is, in Estonia,

you guys don't watch Maury Povich,

then you don't want multiplequestions. I get... I get that.

But what fascinates me is howyou've made this entire system.

I mean, it's not just taxes.

There is voting online.

-Mm-hmm.-How does this happen?

How do you get thisinto other places in the world?

I-It's sucha fascinating system.

How do you get peopleto vote online?

Well, the first core essenceis that, uh,

we havethose kind of special cards.

You have one as well.Uh, you can, uh...

-He has an Estonian I.D. card.-Oh, yeah, I've got

-an Estonian, uh... I mean,that's how I roll. -Uh,

with-with this, you just...with this, you just, uh,

securely log in, uh,to the system,

and once you do that,uh, the other side,

which is then, let's say,the voting, um, organization

or-or the government agencythat, uh, is responsible

for voting, uh, they know forsure that this is you and then

they open the opportunityfor you to cast your vote there.

We have used that since 2005.

And you don't have any issues?

I mean, obviously people wantto talk about security,

they'll want to...they want to say, is it...

-is it secure voting online?-It's absolutely secure,

and, uh, no issues.

The last parliamentary electionswent very well.

-My party won. Uh...-(laughter)

-Well, you would say that.-Yeah.

(applause, whooping)

I... you know, I...Our party won

with the conventional votesas well,

so it doesn't really matter.

All... people of all ages vote.

My grandfather, who is 80...

-81, actually now.-Yes.

He was 80 when he voted online.

Lots of people do that, and it'skind of convenient, you know.

-We're practical people.-It really is

a fascinating country, andwe're gonna chat more about it,

uh... we'regonna chat more online

and on the app to one of theyoungest leaders in the world,

36 years old, talkingabout the Internet, Estonia,

how to run things online,

talking a bitabout Brussels as well.

So we'll see you on the app,and we'll be right back.

-♪ -(cheering, applause)