No. 9




Challenges for Accession to the European Union for Estonian Public Administration

14 June 2004


RiTo No. 9, 2004

  • Tiina Randma-Liiv

    Tiina Randma-Liiv

    Vice-dean for Research, Professor at Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology

The aim of the study is to examine the consequences of the size of a state with regard to the Europeanization of the Estonian public administration.

The article does not treat the EU decision-making process but instead focuses on the administrative problems within the Estonian civil service. Differences between larger and smaller countries are shown to be not merely quantitative but also qualitative. The size of the state appears to have a number of implications for the development of public administration. Public organizations in small states face some problems which are significantly different from those of larger countries, such as the importance of individuals and personal relationships, multi-functionalism of jobs, and the employment of specialists in very specific fields. It is argued that one of the main challenges of Europeanization is the improvement of policy analysis and professionalism within a small country as there is less space for specialization. “Managed intimacy” of small states offers both positive and negative consequences for coordination. Opening up the Estonian civil service to citizens of the other EU member states may have a positive effect on specialization by creating competition for specialist and managerial posts. Finally, the study suggests that elements of traditional bureaucracies may not be well suited to the small state context, because a higher degree of ‘personalism’ in small states causes more ‘flexible’ adoption of administrative rules as opposed to the values of rationality and universality in bureaucratic systems which prevail in Continental Europe and EU institutions.

Full article in Estonian