Involvement in the Riigikogu: Practices of Committees and Opinions of NGOs
The basis of the article is an overview, written during the time the author was working in the law and analysis department of the Riigikogu Chancellery, of the involvement of NGOs and associations of companies in the writing of draft legislation on Riigikogu committees.
The source of all of the information about involvement is 16 interviews with NGOs, associations of companies and the Riigikogu’s standing committees. All of the committee officials interviewed confirmed that drafting of legislation relies on many different parties – other state institutions (such as the Chancellor of Justice), experts and various interest groups.
On the basis of the interviews conducted, it can be said that the possibilities of each association to participate in involvement are different. For instance, an association with several dozen employees claimed that communication takes place with almost of all committees and that during the year, they provide their opinion on nearly 60 draft acts. Civil associations with only a handful of employees or no paid employees communicate with one to three committees on average and are able to comment only on individual draft acts.
To sum up, the situation with involvement is not hopeless and the interviews even give some grounds for optimism. Most of the associations interviewed consider relations with Riigikogu committees good and see relations with the state as improving. Nor is it insignificant that committees are able to assess their work critically and see problems for themselves. Since committees and the associations are convinced that mutual negotiation is beneficial for the state (and the Riigikogu) it can be hoped that both parties have the will to improve involvement.