Stakeholders have turned to the Ministry of Justice with concerns about short approval times for draft legislation, arguing it limits their ability to provide feedback. Data shows bills related to the budget were passed in five days on average this year.
Interest groups wrote to Minster of Justice Kalle Laanet (Reform) about the situation.
In some cases, only a few days have been given to submit feedback and there was a lack of understanding about the impacts the changes would have, they wrote.
The Minister agreed some drafts have been prepared more quickly than usual.
The law does not state a minimum deadline for interest groups to submit feedback, but the principle is based on them having enough time to do so.
Laanet said the number of bills passed quickly usually rises in the autumn. This. is because they must be submitted to the Rigiikogu by the end of September.
Over the last five months, 58 drafts were submitted to the Ministry of Justice for approval. On average, the approval time was 12 working days. For 31 drafts, it was 15 days. Sixteen drafts were approved in seven days.
Thirteen of them were related to the processing of the next year's state budget and they were passed on an average in five days.
Laanet said preparing for the budget happens every autumn and is not a surprise. It is not possible to formalize all draft changes in sufficient time because the last political decisions are made during the budget negotiations.
"Understandably, this leaves a very tight timeframe for the preparation, involvement, and presentation of the draft to the government, which automatically means a departure from the principles of good lawmaking. It may also, unfortunately, result in stakeholders not always having sufficient time to familiarise themselves with the draft to the desired extent," Laanet wrote in reply.
The minister said close attention must be paid to drafts that are prepared quickly as it is not possible to change the preparation process.
"Ministries should start cooperating with stakeholders as soon as the agreements reached in the budget negotiations are known. Substantive input from stakeholders is, in turn, crucial in order to identify and map the potential impacts and risks of the draft proposals, thus creating the basis for informed decisions.," said Laanet.
Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright