Expectations and Challenges of Riigikogu Study Committee
The article explores the challenges connected to the study committees of the Riigikogu, using the example of the State Reform Study Committee formed by the 13th Riigikogu (2015–2019).
The Committee studied and analysed the implementation of the administrative reform, defined the terminology of the state reform, and identified developmental avenues.
The Committee was formed in the beginning of 2017, when most of the decisions on the administrative reform had been made. The Riigikogu played a marginal role in the administrative reform, although it did raise certain issues in the form of interpellations and Bills, which were eventually resolved by government resolutions.
The article gives an overview both of the specific topics discussed in the Study Committee, as well as the administrative reform and state reform topics more broadly. The Foundation for State Reform and the State Reform Radar were also active at the same time. The final conclusions of the Committee owe more to the process centeredness of the Radar, rather than the specific political solutions approach of the Foundation.
Although it is difficult to fault the Committee report, the Committee failed to fully fulfil its role. It was a “cushioning committee” which allowed the parliament at least an apparent role in the administrative reform, and made it possible to seek a reasonable path between the different visions of the state reform.
In the future, the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act should be amended to reflect the work burden and the actual schedule of the members of the Riigikogu in the work of the special and study committees. Namely, we should revoke or reduce the additional remuneration for chairmen and deputy chairmen of the committees and streamline the work schedule of the committees, which has not been followed to the full extent for several terms now. This should be complemented with an increase in the actual role and significance of the work of the Riigikogu.