Partnership between the Estonian state and civil society
The article compares the goals of two national strategies – the Estonian Civil Society Development Conceptand an addition from this spring, the concept for restructuring state budgetary funding of civil society – with the views of ministries and representatives of the political elite.
The article weighs the implications of the public authority’s representatives for cooperation between civil society and the state. The objective of financing is to support the implementation of the Civil Society Development Concept from the state funds on the basis of transparent and effective principles. This is a breakthrough of undisputed significance on the political level.
The writer believes that at present, around seven years after the adoption of the Civil Society Development Concept, the objectives of the concept continue to be timely as these are core values in dealing with the substance of Estonian civil society. The concept for restructuring funding is a critical addition to the Civil Society Development Concept. Unfortunately, not all parties interpret the meanings of these objectives in the same way. In the concept on restructuring funding, agencies and politicians are called on to adopt a society-centred vision of civil society. However, agencies and representatives of the political elite prefer state-centred approaches in certain aspects of shaping civil society and the state partnership model. The writer concludes that change in the model of partnership between the Estonian state and civil society according to objectives based on the Civil Society Development Concept depends in large part on how agencies and the political elite interpret the substance of the concept for restructuring funding.