Experts on Estonian national reform: It remains unclear what changes to society are sought

(Postimees/Scanpix)
Anne Raiste
3/1/2016 12:33 PM
Category: News

Experts have given the launch of Estonia's national reform a grade of C-, criticizing the administration for deficiencies in the reform strategy as well as for poor cooperation between ministries. The "National Reform Radar" ("Riigireformi Radar"), which will be used by specialists to keep an eye on reform progress, was launched today as well.

Jaak Aaviksoo, chancellor of Tallinn University of Technology and member of the State Reform Radar board, compared the state reform to capital repairs. In his opinion, reported "Aktuaalne kaamera", politicians are lacking a common goal in the renovation of the state.

Annika Uudelepp, an expert at political think tank Praxis, added that it remains unclear what changes to society are in fact sought. "We need to consider public services. We need to consider the quality of policy-making—whether the state as a whole is well-managed in terms of both its people and its resources," explained Uudelepp.

Toomas Tamsar, executive director of the Estonian Employers' Confederation, felt that, first and foremost, a plan of action must be agreed upon. In his opinion, the state reform needs to be ambitious, and current cuts are still too small. "They are forcing directors in the public sector to strive to accomplish the same things with fewer people," he explained, "But they aren't forcing anyone to think enough about what could be left undone or done differently either."

Tanel Talve, director of the national reform support team and member of the Social Democratic Party (SDE), thinks that it should be up to parliament to conceptualize the national reform. "I'm sorry, but employers and all the others can continue making up all sorts of radars and things, but until parliament takes up the issue and defines exactly what direction we want to head in, why we want to head that way, and how we are going to get there, nothing is going to happen," asserted Talve.

Economic expert Raivo Vare recalled that this national reform had its roots all the way back in 1988. According to him, the process of getting the national reform going again has come and gone in waves, of which most have not been successful, because people prefer stability."

"The politicans in charge are also in favor of the status quo, with some tiny, cosmetic issues," Vare remarked, "And the opposition is also reducing certain things to points which are significant populist sells but do not provide the bigger picture."

The concept behind the "National Reform Radar" is to keep progress on the national reform in the spotlight among politicians and the general public.

Editor: Aili Sarapik

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