Ministry preparing to regulate lobbying

PM Jüri Ratas and member of the previous government Janek Mäggi who has been described as a lobbyists for a tobacco company Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

The Ministry of Justice is making preparations for regulating lobbying in Estonia and aims to have guidelines by summer.

"We plan to take it step-by-step. First, we want to have guidelines for high-ranking officials on how to avoid conflicts of interest and communicate with interest groups and lobbyists next summer," the ministry's spokesperson Maria-Elisa Tuulik told ERR.

She said the ministry will propose disclosing officials' contacts with interest groups and their representatives (lobbyists). For this purpose, information including the lobbyist's name and contacts, the interest groups they represent and topics discussed, as well as a summary of proceedings, would be published on a website after the meeting.

Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) requirements would have the guidelines cover ministers and political advisers. "But we aim to expand it to also include state and local government officials who are authorized to make independent decisions and/or can affect the decision-making process," Tuulik explained.

GRECO found in its 2018 assessment that Estonian ministers' meetings with interest groups should be public in the future, which is something some ministries are complying with," head of Transparency International Estonia Carina Paju wrote on ERR's news portal last week.

Former justice ministers Kristen Michal and Urmas Reinsalu have promised to create a register of lobbyists.

Head of the Riigikogu Anti-Corruption Select Committee Katri Raik told ERR on Monday that the committee plans to tackle the subject matter of political lobbying after concluding outstanding work.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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