No. 48



State Reform and the Future of Governance

13 December 2023


RiTo No. 48, 2023

  • Gerly Elbrecht

    Gerly Elbrecht

    Adviser on State Reform, Public Administration and Public Service Department, Ministry of Finance; doctoral student of political science, Tallinn University


Like all areas of policy, governance as a whole needs development.

Estonia is unique in creating the “state reform” as a comprehensive concept, the need for which has been underlined by the Office of the President of the Republic, representatives of business and lawyers, political parties and others. The aim was ambitious reforms to ensure that the state would not be too costly, complex or non-transparent.

While the original plans for state reform foresaw larger reforms with a clear start and end (e.g. merging ministries into a single government agency), there have been larger reforms, such as the administrative reform, as well as smaller sectoral development activities in the large-scale action plans for state reform in the period of 2015–2023. As there is still ambiguity in the analysis of state reform, and political enthusiasm for state reform has waned, in 2023, the Ministry of Finance prepared an analysis of the state reform activities to date and the future needs of governance.

The areas for further development include setting strategic development objectives for governance, flexibility of state institutions and staff management, harmonisation and quality management of services, coherent development of digital and data sectors, establishing a better dialogue between the state and the citizens, and increase of capabilities at regional level. The analysis concluded that there is little added value in a separate agenda for state reform, but rather that it is important to jointly address the strategic issues of governance.