Minister of Public Administration on grade given to Estonian national reform: This is a good jumping-off point
Minister of Public Administration Arto Aas commented on the C- grade given to the launch of the national reform in Estonia, stating that the direction now taken is important.
The "National Reform Radar" ("Riigireformi Radar"), which will be used as a means for specialists to keep an eye on the progress of the state reform, was launched today. Experts gave the launch of the national reform a grade of C-, criticizing the administration for deficiencies in the reform strategy as well as for poor cooperation between different ministries.
In an interview with "Aktuaalne kaamera", minister Arto Aas commented that, in his opinion, this was a good jumping-off point for future progress. He said, "For me, the score itself is not important, but rather the direction in which now we head from here."
Aasa finds claims that the national reform lacks a plan for action to be baseless, however. "The administration has clear priorities," said Aasa. "Our platform is outlined on the administraton's homepage, and specific points regarding the state's administration have been agreed upon. While it is true that the state government has needed some time to prepare itself, I believe that the next half a year will see much more concrete decisions, and the state reform has already clearly begun—and as has already been mentioned, this reform is a top five priority for this administration."
Regarding the cooperation or lack thereof between different ministries, Aas commented that there are ministries with more ambitious plans, but there are also positive examples of plans which can only be carried out in cooperation with other ministries. "We have a Zero Bureaucracy project that we are doing in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance," explained Aas, "And we can only succesfully implement it together with them. We have a lot of shared goals with the Ministry of Justice as well. So there are ministries that are leading projects precisely by cooperating."
In regards to the admonition that specialists' opinions are not taken into account in discussions about the reform, Aas commented that the inclusion process is dependent upon both sides, and that it is not possible for everyone to agree all the time.
"My experiences in my field have tended to be on the positive side. In the current phase of the long-awaited state reform, we have cooperated with experts and researchers, involved municipal leaders, and reached a point where the administration may be sending a draft proposal to parliament this Thursday. So there is work to be done, and experts have indeed been involved in the process," he explained.
Aas hopes to see the state reform earn a B grade next year, and an A grade the year after that.