No. 48



Options for a State Reform in Estonia

There are few countries in the world that are smaller than Estonia. The Estonian state cannot be built on the model of France, Germany or the United States of America. So maybe we should look for our own way when shaping our statehood. This means effectiveness, but not only that. This means innovativeness and doing some things completely differently from how they have been done so far.

Therefore it is instructive to read the essay by Jüri Raidla who has been engaging in the issues of state reform for over a dozen years. It is possible for Estonia to become a model country of the democratic world of the 21st century, Raidla’s idea can be summed up. And not for the pleasure of others but for ourselves.

We have plenty of good will – this can be seen from our traditional discussion of representatives of the parliamentary groups of the Riigikogu. Some things have been done but there are still things to do and political goal-setting and greater consensus is needed.

Sulev Lääne, Jüri Ratas and other authors look at state reform from the point of view of local governments. It makes sense that researchers and teachers Leif Kalev, Georg Sootla and Kersten Kattai go on with the idea of state reform in their writing “Challenges and Opportunities for Estonian State Renewal”. Gerly Elbrecht from the Ministry of Finance looks at the same issue in her article “State Reform and the Future of Governance”.

Peeter Järvelaid, scholar with international experience who has participated in politics where possible, speaks of state reform through the eyes of a legal scholar.

The state reform focus block is concluded by Ringa Raudla who writes about the advantages and challenges of experimental policy shaping, and Ralf-Martin Soe whose working group engages with the smart city concept at Tallinn University. As we can see, speaking of state reform does not mean reforming only local governments or the state but it may also mean shaping the city, and the development of information technology has created unprecedented opportunities for that.

All this links up with a reading of political thought, the article “The Impact of the Intellectual History of Western Republicanism on the Debates over the Founding of the Republic of Estonia” by Karl Lembit Laane, recipient of August Rei Scholarship in Parliamentary Studies.

The research section of the new issue of “Riigikogu Toimetised” also offers readings on how the Defence Forces could support civil authorities in crisis resolution, what we should know of the use of peat in Estonia, the role of mass behaviour in respect of national security and the constitutional order, and, finally, the probability for people who are released from open prison or closed prison to commit a crime again.

As, unfortunately, the war in Ukraine is ongoing, the “Varia” section offers two stories on this topic: about the new security architecture taking shape in the world, and about what kind of defence industry the Estonian state should develop. “Varia” also offers a reading on whether and how Estonia could transit to renewable energy, and parliamentary news put a full stop to this issue.