Government approves initial four-year state reform plan

The Estonian government discussing the state budget at Vihula Manor this spring. May 20, 2019.
The Estonian government discussing the state budget at Vihula Manor this spring. May 20, 2019. Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

At a Cabinet meeting late Thursday evening, the Estonian government approved the initial state reform action plan for 2019-2023. The goal of the state reform is to merge state authorities, relocate state jobs out of Tallinn and to other counties, and to improve the quality of public services.

The government will amend the action plan following the Riigikogu's decision regarding the principles of the state reform, the Ministry of Finance said.

"Considering the state's demographic trend and limited resources, we have to find increasingly smart means for the operation of the state," Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Centre) said regarding the state reform, a priority of the current government. "In its daily activities, the state has to work to ensure that society as a whole develops and that productivity increases. What is more important than more efficient public administration, however, is that people all across Estonia are ensured a good living environment."

In order to do so, the state must ensure quality public services across Estonia, as well as create opportunities to work in the counties, including state jobs, he continued.

"With our well-thought-out action plan, we want to reduce the bureaucracy for citizens in communicating with the state, improve the efficiency of state agencies' organization of work as well as improve public services," Aab highlighted. "Services offered by the state have to be convenient and easily accessible for people. Which is why we are working to find opportunities to reduce the administrative burden on citizens and companies in communicating with state agencies."

In 2020, the state budget will be drawn up according to the principles of activity-based budgeting. This will increase the transparency of the budget as well as make it easier to understand.

During the next four years, restructuring is planned in five fields: education; land, regional and planning; agriculture and food; environment; and transport, the Ministry of Finance confirmed.

"The main positive effects we'll see as a result of these changes will be the increase in the quality of public services, and more resource-efficient management of state agencies," Aab said. The number of state agencies a citizen or business would have to contact to seek answers to their questions will likewise be reduced.

The government also sees the more effective implementation of policy via fewer numbers of subsidiaries as one of the broader impacts of the planned mergers.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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