If the Estonian State is a House, then What Kind of a House?
Certainly, the Estonian state was not built on an empty space. Neither in 1918 when the state emerged from local governments, nor in 1991 when the foundation and solid plans of the state were still there. True, we largely used whatever material we could get back then, and some things have changed in the process, and of course life has moved on. However, people’s expectations are still generally the same. People want to live their lives in peace, to rear children and build their houses. For that, the state must provide protection, and help from time to time as the situation allows; it would be nice to have warm rooms, and a sufficiently large living room is needed where the inhabitants could meet each other.
As Estonia’s population is decreasing, it is becoming increasingly more expensive to sustain the state, because there are certain functions that must be similar in large countries like the US or Germany, as well as small countries such as Estonia. In the new issue of “Riigikogu Toimetised”, we speak about state reform. This is a question of how the Estonian state should be built. Two groups have engaged in the state reform systematically in recent years: the Riigikogu study committee on state reform, and the Foundation for State Reform. The results of their activities are mutually complementary, although from slightly different angles. This issue offers an overview of the activities of both groups: we publish the essay on state reform by Raivo Vare, and Andres Herkel gives a summary of the study committee. Political scientist Alar Kilp also briefly comments on the work of the committee.
We have completed one part of the state reform, the administrative reform, and Garri Raagmaa studies the results. However, the main recommended reading of this issue concerns the contribution by the Foresight Centre, the scenarios arising from the governance report of 2018. Political scientist Mihkel Solvak speaks about e-services as well as Internet elections. Aimar Altosaar writes about what makes our society coherent, and Ero Liivik writes about direct elections of the President of the Republic. Political scientist Rein Toomla gives a summary of the latest Riigikogu elections. They were elections to the Riigikogu which is one hundred years old now, if we count the convention of the Constituent Assembly in 1919 as the beginning. To celebrate this occasion, the National Library of Estonia has published an e-book presenting the biographies of all members of the first Riigikogu.
Long-time member of the Riigikogu Jüri Adams gives an overview of the evolution of the rules of procedure of the Riigikogu, and observes the three stages of their history. This story will continue in the next issue of “Riigikogu Toimetised”.
The new issue of “Riigikogu Toimetised” includes some other studies that are linked to the focus of this issue, like for example the study on the involvement of stakeholders, conducted by the National Audit Office, mediated by Eva-Maria Asari, or the summary of the public transport study by Helerin Äär from Statistics Estonia. The reader will find studies on other topics as well.
I hope you will enjoy reading this issue. I am particularly pleased that, by a decision of the Board of “Riigikogu Toimetised”, it is also published on paper, although the whole content of the new “Riigikogu Toimetised” is freely available on the Internet, as is becoming for an e-state. This issue is our contribution to the state reform.