Proposal made to move as many state institutions as possible away from Tallinn
Minister of Public Administration Arto Aas (Reform) introduced a 700-page analysis to the government on Thursday that included detailed proposals for several administrative areas to move part of the country’s public administration away from the capital.
Coalition: Move jobs that require a degree away from the capital
The ministers of the coalition “basically agree” with the idea, ETV’s “Aktuaalne Kaamera” reported on Thursday.
One of Aas’ proposals is to move as many ministerial institutions away from Tallinn as possible. The minister said that they had a distribution plan ready for the offices and institutions that could be moved, but that there were no agreements with other ministries and the management of those institutions yet. There also wasn’t a timeline for the changes at this point, Aas added.
As far as employees are concerned, Aas stated that he expected that most of the public sector institutions concerned probably wouldn’t want to move along with their jobs.
“Estonia’s own experience as well as that of other countries in the area shows that a large part of the employees changes over time when a state institution moves away from the capital,” Aas said. He added that there were a lot of details to consider, such as the place they were moving to, the nature of the work, and whether or not skilled employees could be found locally.
Ossinovski: State would take leading role
The coalition partners support the idea because they expect such a move would create jobs requiring higher education outside Tallinn as well. Minister of Social Protection Margus Tsahkna (IRL) said that they were also looking into starting any new or merged administrative units already outside Tallinn.
Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE) said places away from the capital had the problem that any business requiring higher education couldn’t settle there, as there were no suitable workers. The state taking such a step and moving its own institutions to such places could make a beginning, in time bringing more skills to more remote places.
State offices fragmented despite most civil servants located in Tallinn and Tartu
State employees so far have been concentrated on Tallinn and Tartu. While 45% work in Tallinn and some 22% in Tartumaa, the average percentage of state employees in other counties was just 5%.
In connection with the currently ongoing administrative reform, different proposals have been made how to organize administrative units in the different regions of Estonia. One has been to replace the current county governments with regional offices, of which in the place of currently 15 counties there would likely only be four or five.
Such steps will bring with them consolidation and coordination in several areas, for example public transport, which currently is in the responsibility of no fewer than four different state offices as well as offices in all of the 15 counties. Similarly, healthcare and structural support units are fragmented and could be organized into more efficient government offices.