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Jüri Raidla: Estonia should halve number of state officials

The Estonian state needs to understand the necessity of a state reform that would cut the number of officials exercising public authority by half, prominent lawyer and former Minister of Justice Jüri Raidla said in a speech at a meeting dedicated to the centennial of the Republic of Estonia on Monday.

"Let's double the salaries of the rest of the officials and let's cut the deadlines of administrative procedures by half. And then let's check if the effectiveness of the state improved twofold or a little less," Raidla said at the Rule of Law 100 meeting at Nordea Concert Hall in Tallinn.

"The Dutch might have laughed when in 1994 the government announced a legislative reform with the specific goal to reduce the administrative burden by 25 percent. Today the Dutch reform is viewed internationally as the most successful, while according to the opinion of the World Bank setting the goal just at 25 percent made sure the reform was successful," Raidla said in his speech to the assembled judges, prosecutors, notaries, bailiffs, attorneys, and legislators.

Raidla suggested the launch of  a national strategy center aimed at enabling the state to react promptly and adequately to changes in the surrounding environment. Such a center would be elementary to curbing excessive zeal of legislators, Raidla said.

"Considering Estonia's parliamentary system of government, the right place for the strategy center is with the prime minister," he said. "Estonia is well placed to emerge as a textbook example of a dynamic state and to export its statehood experiences."

Since according to the Human Development Report Estonia's population size will be approximately €800,000 in 2100, it can't be seen as reasonable not to lower the number of officials as well, Raidla pointed out.

"Is it really so that with these estimated numbers our political mainstream is still holding on to the opinion that the same expensive government should continue?As in let's have as many constitutional institutions as we do now, let our administrative procedures be as time-consuming as they are today, and let's keep producing written law? Then we can be sure that the administration will grow, not shrink," Raidla said.

"Where Estonia has 77 members of parliament per one million residents, the corresponding number for Sweden is 36, for Norway 33 and for Denmark 32. It looks like we are extraordinarily rich indeed," Raidla added.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS

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