Estonian Minister Urve Palo digitally signing a MoU with ESA

First digital signature between ESA and Estonia on ICT collaboration for space

14/06/2017 1991 views 32 likes
ESA / About Us / Corporate news

As part of of ESA’s 268th council on 13 June, Urve Palo, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology of the Republic of Estonia, and Jan Woerner, ESA Director General, digitally signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Information and Communications Technology collaboration. It is the first digital signature performed between ESA and one of its member states.

“I am happy to see that the digital signature has found its way to the European Space Agency,” noted Ms Palo. “I and every other Estonian use it on a daily basis, saving up to five working days per year by this solution."

"Estonia is proud to share its experience in digital management and e-governance with ESA and to contribute with this strength to the evolution of the European Space 4.0 endeavour. The next step would be to take e-state solutions to space and be part of the development of the Moon Village.”

ESA DG Jan Woerner digitally signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Estonia
ESA DG Jan Woerner digitally signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Estonia

Jan Woerner added: “This is the first digital signature I do for the Agency. The Estonian system we are using in this case is recognised as trusted by the EU in its regulation and I am sure we will use more of these trusted systems in the future." 

“For the Agency, I take this opportunity to start introducing digital signatures and we’ll gradually evolve our working process accordingly. I am sure this will further simplify and streamline our digital interfaces.”

Memorandum of Understanding

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) foresees a widespread cooperation between ESA and the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications within the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) areas of e-Government, the iD Identity Card and digital signature platform, distribution of digital data, open data, cyber training and the according exchange of knowledge and experience.

It forms furthermore an important part of ESA’s Digital Agenda for Space which sets the goals for space to best benefit from the opportunities of a globally changing environment that stem from the ICT sector – a perfect match with the mission of the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications to promote the use of information and communication technologies in governance and society to ensure the development of an information society in Estonia and beyond.

How it works

While Minister Palo was located in Estonia, Jan Woerner attended the 268th council meeting at ESA Headquarters room A in Paris, France. Ms Palo signed the MoU first and sent it to Jan Woerner via email. Once he received the email with the digitally signed document, in the same way as Ms Palo did before, he launched the Estonian digital signature tool on his PC, inserted his personal e-identity card into his laptop, opened the digitally signed MoU document in PDF format, signed it with the help of his e-signature and sent it back to the minister. The whole action took about a minute. No printed paper, enveloping, registered mail or other physical shipment was involved.

Note: The last sentence of the first paragraph was updated on 16 June 2017. Implementation of digital signatures at ESA has started as early as 2014.


For further information please contact:

Gunther Kohlhammer
ESA Chief Digital Officer
Gunther.Kohlhammer @

Marco Trovatello
Cross-Media Coordinator, ESA Communication Department
+33 1 53 69 8168
Marco.Trovatello @

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