There Is Never Enough of Good State Reform
Jaak Aab (Estonian Centre Party), Arto Aas (Estonian Reform Party), Jaak Madison (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Andres Metsoja (Isamaa) and Ivari Padar (Social Democratic Party) spoke of the state reform in the discussion panel of Riigikogu Toimetised on 17 April.
JAAK AAB: State houses or state service bureaus are being constructed in the county centres; the services that are provided by the government and have remained in the counties will be concentrated into these houses. Digital bureaucracy should also be reduced. When you give any kind of data to the state, it should automatically be in the data bases in the future, which means interbase cross-usage of data. The services of local governments should also be as accessible as possible. In the future, the “one-stop-shop principle” should apply to different reports in the whole state apparatus, so that everything could be get done in one place.
ARTO AAS: So far, the trend of the state reform has been to scale down secondary activities, and provide the people higher-quality services for the money that has been saved. The project of state houses that provide all government-related services from one place has been a step in the right direction. All that can be provided electronically in Estonia should be provided electronically. Bureaucracy and making of unnecessary laws should be reduced, the minister responsible for state reform should have authorities across the Government.
JAAK MADISON: We must not allow the emergence of new peripheral areas. Developing of state houses in county centres is positive, but the concentration of services only into county centres should be prevented. The Riigikogu should have the competence and the will to be the supervisor of the issue of state reform, and to observe what is going on at the level of executive power. The new coalition has agreed on democracy package. It is very important to bring people closer to the government, but at the same time, thresholds that prevent interfering with the normal functioning of the state should be implemented.
IVARI PADAR: The Parliament should have the competence and the will to make the governance better and to be demanding towards the Government. It should also be clear who is responsible on the side of the executive power. Preserving of county towns as centres is an important topic. And interbase cross-usage of data by government agencies is also essential. I understand that this continues to be a problem, it should be dealt with.
ANDRES METSOJA: One of the most important issues is how we ensure the accessibility of e-governance. The state has to ensure reliable internet and telephone connection, and the availability of data communication. Secondly, the issue of state reform should prevail in the work of the Riigikogu, and it should be apparent in all committees. The government should be everywhere in Estonia, not only in two centres. The relocation of government agencies is important for that, Denmark serves as a positive example here. And a particular emphasis should be placed on the field of education.