The Development of Estonian Social Law and Cooperation with Finland
Estonia’s social policy was shaped in cooperation with the Nordic countries and the Phare project.
In its beginnings it was appropriate to a transition society. To ensure minimum incomes, a system of guarantees was rapidly created in Estonia, which helped avoid extensive poverty. The particulars of such a social policy can be described as a pragmatic solidarity: people in need were given third class train tickets (they were at least not kicked off the train). The acceleration was gentle enough to allow a stable foundation to be created for the state’s new social policy. At the same time, the transitional period left future governments facing several challenges, such as problems in employment policy, undervaluing the contribution of public sector employees and deficiencies in solidarity and rule of law. Now social policy requires corrections from the standpoint of social justice and solidarity as well as public sector employees. One of the main challenges for the years to come is getting private firms to pay their taxes more proactively, which could in turn help revitalize the residential economy and develop regional policy, which would allow investments in education to be increased, especially outside the Tallinn area.