Estonia

   

Executive Capacity

#19
Key Findings
With a comparatively weak prime minister, Estonia receives a middling score in international comparison (rank 19) in the area of executive capacity. Its score in this area is unchanged relative to its 2014 level.

The analytical capacity of the Government Office’s Strategy Unit is improving. The Prime Minister’s Bureau separately provides expert advice to the prime minister. An effort to improve the prime minister’s formal coordinating role is underway. Proposals are discussed in the coalition council and in cabinet meetings, with formal and informal interministerial coordination playing an important role.

Though the RIA framework is well developed, practical implementation has been very slow. Stakeholders are consulted during policy preparation, but a corporatist tendency giving likely policy supporters precedence is emerging. Ministers in coalition governments sometimes make statements out of sync with the government’s general line.

The new government has proved more effective than its predecessor in achieving policy goals. A major municipal-merger reform has been underway, prompting tensions and opposition at the local level Adaptation to EU norms has been strong.

Strategic Capacity

#9

How much influence do strategic planning units and bodies have on government decision-making?

10
 9

Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions, and they exercise strong influence on government decision-making.
 8
 7
 6


Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Their influence on government decision-making is systematic but limited in issue scope or depth of impact.
 5
 4
 3


Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Occasionally, they exert some influence on government decision-making.
 2
 1

In practice, there are no units and bodies taking a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions.
Strategic Planning
7
The supporting structures of the government in Estonia are mainly located in the line ministries. The Government Office (GO) is quite limited in this respect, though there is a Strategy Unit within the GO, which mainly has a consulting function. Its main tasks are to support the composition of strategic-development plans, to coordinate and draw up the government’s action plan, and monitor the implementation of the above-mentioned policy documents. The Strategy Unit employs 10 staff. A seven-year governmental program intended to improve the quality of policymaking was approved in 2014. The human capacity of the Strategy Unit is enhanced by various expert groups and task forces established within the aforementioned program. By 2017, several ex ante and ex post policy analyses and forecasts had been requested.

In addition to the Strategy Unit, there is also a Prime Minister’s Bureau, comprised of experts in various policy areas who advise the prime minister. Different from the Strategy Unit, this body is closely linked to the prime minister’s political party and its members change with each new prime minister.

How influential are non-governmental academic experts for government decisionmaking?

10
 9

In almost all cases, the government transparently consults with a panel of non-governmental academic experts at an early stage of government decision-making.
 8
 7
 6


For major political projects, the government transparently consults with a panel of non-governmental academic experts at an early stage of government decision-making.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, the government transparently consults with a panel of non-governmental academic experts at an early stage of government decision-making.
 2
 1

The government does not consult with non-governmental academic experts, or existing consultations lack transparency entirely and/or are exclusively pro forma.
Scholarly Advice
7
The extent and impact of academic consultation is framed by the overall pattern of government decision-making. Limited strategic capacity in the center and a tendency to pass policy-formulation initiatives to the line ministries makes the overall picture fragmented and uneven. Final reports of the research projects are made publicly available on the websites of the governmental institutions that requested the study. However, 25% of these studies are not made public, and the remaining ones are difficult to find due to the varying web architecture maintained by the ministries and agencies. The quality of the terms of reference, and as a result the quality of the commissioned studies themselves also varies largely. Even more importantly, the majority of the studies (63%) were commissioned simply to obtain overviews of problems. The use of studies for policy decision-making purposes was clearly proven in the case of 46% of those reviewed.

Citations:
National Audit Office (2015). Activities of the state in commissioning studies. http://www.riigikontroll.ee/tabid/206/Audit/2345/Area/1/language/et-EE/Default.aspx (accessed 02.10.2015)

Interministerial Coordination

#28

Does the government office / prime minister’s office (GO / PMO) have the expertise to evaluate ministerial draft bills substantively?

10
 9

The GO / PMO has comprehensive sectoral policy expertise and provides regular, independent evaluations of draft bills for the cabinet / prime minister. These assessments are guided exclusively by the government’s strategic and budgetary priorities.
 8
 7
 6


The GO / PMO has sectoral policy expertise and evaluates important draft bills.
 5
 4
 3


The GO / PMO can rely on some sectoral policy expertise, but does not evaluate draft bills.
 2
 1

The GO / PMO does not have any sectoral policy expertise. Its role is limited to collecting, registering and circulating documents submitted for cabinet meetings.
GO Expertise
5
The GO and prime minister’s support structures primarily provide consulting services, monitor governmental processes and provide technical (judicial) expertise. There is no capacity to perform substantial evaluation of line-ministry proposals. Two OECD governance reports (2011; 2015) have pointed out that national policymaking lacks coherence and interministerial cooperation. Despite the action plan for the implementation of OECD recommendations (2014), no significant improvement has been achieved so far. The 2015 OECD report recommends that the government sharpens it focus and concentrates, at maximum, on five policy priorities. The current government of Ratas has defined four priorities in the “Basic Principles of the Government Coalition” for the 2016 – 2019 period. This step was not, however, accompanied by another also recommended by the OECD: to give the GO more discretion in (re)allocating organizational, financial and human resources for the implementation of key priorities. However, in March 2017, the cabinet discussed increasing the strategic coordinating role of the prime minister and GO with draft law amendments expected in 2018.

Can the government office / prime minister’s office return items envisaged for the cabinet meeting on the basis of policy considerations?

10
 9

The GO/PMO can return all/most items on policy grounds.
 8
 7
 6


The GO/PMO can return some items on policy grounds.
 5
 4
 3


The GO/PMO can return items on technical, formal grounds only.
 2
 1

The GO/PMO has no authority to return items.
GO Gatekeeping
6
Since the evaluation capacity of the PMO is very limited, policy considerations rarely serve as a reason to return the proposals. The coalition government program and political arguments between coalition partners tend to be more important in this context.

To what extent do line ministries involve the government office/prime minister’s office in the preparation of policy proposals?

10
 9

There are inter-related capacities for coordination in the GO/PMO and line ministries.
 8
 7
 6


The GO/PMO is regularly briefed on new developments affecting the preparation of policy proposals.
 5
 4
 3


Consultation is rather formal and focuses on technical and drafting issues.
 2
 1

Consultation occurs only after proposals are fully drafted as laws.
Line Ministries
7
Two different forms exist to communicate line ministries’ proposals to the GO. Firstly, all policy initiatives are discussed in coalition council. Second, the cabinet informally examines all substantial issues at its weekly meetings. No binding decisions are made in the meetings, the main function being to exchange information and to prepare for formal government sessions. The new coalition appears to be more coordinated despite ideological differences.

How effectively do ministerial or cabinet committees coordinate cabinet proposals?

10
 9

The large majority of cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated first by committees.
 8
 7
 6


Most cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated by committees, in particular proposals of political or strategic importance.
 5
 4
 3


There is little review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees.
 2
 1

There is no review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees. Or: There is no ministerial or cabinet committee.
Cabinet Committees
2
Estonia does not have a committee structure within government, or any ministerial committee. Ministers informally discuss their proposals and any other pending issues at weekly consultative cabinet meetings. No formal voting or any other selection procedure is applied to issues discussed in consultative meetings. The creation of cabinet committees was proposed by government in March 2017 with a draft law expected in 2018.

How effectively do ministry officials/civil servants coordinate policy proposals?

10
 9

Most policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
 8
 7
 6


Many policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
 5
 4
 3


There is some coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
 2
 1

There is no or hardly any coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
Ministerial Bureaucracy
10
Formal procedures of coordinating policy proposals are set in the rules of the national government. According to it, all relevant ministries must be consulted and involved in a consensus-building process before an amendment or policy proposal can be brought to the government. An online draft-bill portal (Eelnõude infosüsteem, EIS) is used for the purposes of inter-ministerial coordination and public consultations. In addition to this formal procedure, senior civil servants from the various ministries consult and inform each other about coming proposals; deputy secretaries general are key persons in this informal consultation process.

How effectively do informal coordination mechanisms complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination?

10
 9

Informal coordination mechanisms generally support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 8
 7
 6


In most cases, informal coordination mechanisms support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, informal coordination mechanisms support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 2
 1

Informal coordination mechanisms tend to undermine rather than complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
Informal Coordination
7
Informal coordination has played an important role in ensuring efficient policymaking. In addition to contacts between high-ranking civil servants in ministries, the coalition committee and governing bodies of political parties have been key players in this regard. Getting support from coalition partners is generally the first step in successfully passing legislation.

Almost as important as the political support of coalition partners is the backing of local governments. Between 2016 and 2017, an administrative reform entered the final stage, which resulted in mergers of local governments (some of these forced by the central government). Because local governments and their associations cannot veto the policy process, their position can be ignored. Due to the ongoing reform, there has been much confusion and ill communication as well as opposition to central government initiatives. However, the amalgamation process is completing by the end of 2017 and the next steps of the administrative reform, aiming at clarifying the division of competences between the levels of government, can facilitate better coordination.

Fifteen county governments – the regional arm of the central government – will be disbanded in 2018 with their functions divided between agencies of the central government and municipalities. In principle, this ought to improve coordination.

Evidence-based Instruments

#13

To what extent does the government assess the potential impacts of existing and prepared legal acts (regulatory impact assessments, RIA)?

10
 9

RIA are applied to all new regulations and to existing regulations which are characterized by complex impact paths. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
 8
 7
 6


RIA are applied systematically to most new regulations. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
 5
 4
 3


RIA are applied in some cases. There is no common RIA methodology guaranteeing common minimum standards.
 2
 1

RIA are not applied or do not exist.
RIA Application
8
The development and monitoring of regulatory impact assessments (RIA) is shared between the Ministry of Justice and the GO’s Strategy Unit, with the latter taking a leading role with regard to EU-related issues during the 2014 – 2020 period. Formal RIA procedures are quite well established, with all relevant normative acts, manuals and guidelines accessible on a dedicated website.

Since 2014, RIA has been mandatory for all categories of legal acts. A major breakthrough should be achieved with the help of EU structural assistance over the 2014-2020 period. Various training, development and implementation measures focused on RIA procedures are foreseen; the number of assessments performed is expected to increase tenfold by 2020. Yet, progress has been very modest thus far and lack of human resources is one of the major obstacles to meet the target.

Does the RIA process ensure participation, transparency and quality evaluation?

10
 9

RIA analyses consistently involve stakeholders by means of consultation or collaboration, results are transparently communicated to the public and assessments are effectively evaluated by an independent body on a regular basis.
 8
 7
 6


The RIA process displays deficiencies with regard to one of the three objectives.
 5
 4
 3


The RIA process displays deficiencies with regard to two of the three objectives.
 2
 1

RIA analyses do not exist or the RIA process fails to achieve any of the three objectives of process quality.
Quality of RIA Process
6
Legal regulations established by governmental decree (2012) require involvement by relevant interest groups and public consultations in the lawmaking process. It must be formally documented which interest groups have been involved, what their proposals have been and to what extent the proposals have been taken into account. All this information is publicly available in the explanatory paper accompanying the draft law. Alongside these formal requirements, involving stakeholders and hearing their opinions has become a common practice. However, two reports on the quality of the RIA process (see citations) have found that stakeholder involvement needs to be improved at all stages. RIA analyses are not communicated to the public, and only those partners closely participating in the process are sufficiently informed.

RIA results are not subject to regular evaluations by an independent body, and far more stress is put on the further elaboration of impact-assessment methods than on making use of results to create better policies.

Citations:
Praxis (2015). Arengukavade mõjuhindamine. Valdkonna arengukavade mõjude hindamise süsteemi analüüs. http://www.praxis.ee/tood/arengukavade-mojude-hindamise-susteemi-analuus/ (accessed 29.09.2015).
Praxis (2014).Mõju hindamise metoodika rakendamine Euroopa Liidu asjades. https://riigikantselei.ee/sites/default/files/content-editors/Failid/moju-hindamise-metoodika-rakendamine-euroopa-liidu-asjades.pdf (accessed 29.09.2015)

Does the government conduct effective sustainability checks within the framework of RIA?

10
 9

Sustainability checks are an integral part of every RIA; they draw on an exhaustive set of indicators (including social, economic, and environmental aspects of sustainability) and track impacts from the short- to long-term.
 8
 7
 6


Sustainability checks lack one of the three criteria.
 5
 4
 3


Sustainability checks lack two of the three criteria.
 2
 1

Sustainability checks do not exist or lack all three criteria.
Sustainability Check
6
The dimension of sustainability is included in the methodological guidelines for RIA. The guidelines demand an assessment of the reviewed policy’s impact over the short, medium and long term. However, concern with sustainability is given a marginal role in the impact-assessment process overall. The existing set of indicators is not explicitly linked to the sustainability check.

Estonia has a national long-term (30-year) sustainability strategy, “Sustainable Estonia 21,” which was adopted by the national parliament in 2005. However, the latest government decree and the methodological guidelines do not make any reference to this national strategy. In November 2016, a comprehensive analysis of the strategy commissioned by the Government Office proposed updates to the sustainable development strategy together with a range of indicators for assessing objectives of the strategy.

Citations:
Summary of the Analysis of the Estonian Sustainable Development Strategy “Sustainable Estonia 21”. https://riigikantselei.ee/sites/default/files/content-editors/Failid/SA_eesti/summary_of_se21_analysis_eng.pdf (accessed 17 December 2017).

Societal Consultation

#12

To what extent does the government consult with societal actors to support its policy?

10
 9

The government successfully motivates societal actors to support its policy.
 8
 7
 6


The government facilitates the acceptance of its policy among societal actors.
 5
 4
 3


The government consults with societal actors.
 2
 1

The government rarely consults with any societal actors.
Negotiating Public Support
7
Consultations with societal actors are regulated by government guidelines contained in the Good Engagement Practices (GEP) document, approved in 2011. Although not legally binding, it prescribes in detail procedures for engaging social stakeholders in the policymaking process. The GEP includes eight recommended principles, which place importance on the clarity of goals, openness of relationships, and dedication to goals. Once a year, the Government Office presents an overview of the GEP’s implementation to the government. All ministries employ an engagement coordinator who assists interested citizens and advocacy groups.

Existing regulations and established practices render it almost impossible to avoid interest groups’ involvement in the policymaking process. The main focus is on consultations during the preparatory phase, when a broad range of societal actors is typically involved. However, at later stages, only those advocacy organizations tending to be supportive of the proposed policy are invited to the table. Thus, corporatist tendencies are becoming apparent that are not entirely in accordance with GEP principles. Furthermore, engagement practices have not yet been extended to the policy-implementation or policy-evaluation phases.

Policy Communication

#19

To what extent does the government achieve coherent communication?

10
 9

The government effectively coordinates the communication of ministries; ministries closely align their communication with government strategy. Messages are factually coherent with the government’s plans.
 8
 7
 6


The government coordinates the communication of ministries. Contradictory statements are rare, but do occur. Messages are factually coherent with the government’s plans.
 5
 4
 3


The ministries are responsible for informing the public within their own particular areas of competence; their statements occasionally contradict each other. Messages are sometimes not factually coherent with the government’s plans.
 2
 1

Strategic communication planning does not exist; individual ministry statements regularly contradict each other. Messages are often not factually coherent with the government’s plans.
Coherent Communication
6
Ministries in Estonia’s government have remarkable power and autonomy. Therefore, ministers belonging to different political parties sometimes make statements that are not in line with the general position of the government. However, in the period under investigation, this has occurred very rarely.

Implementation

#21

To what extent can the government achieve its own policy objectives?

10
 9

The government can largely implement its own policy objectives.
 8
 7
 6


The government is partly successful in implementing its policy objectives or can implement some of its policy objectives.
 5
 4
 3


The government partly fails to implement its objectives or fails to implement several policy objectives.
 2
 1

The government largely fails to implement its policy objectives.
Government Efficiency
8
In November 2016, a coalition led by Jüri Ratas (Center Party) entered office after Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform Party) lost a no confidence vote in the parliament. Basic principles of government for the period 2016 – 2019 stipulate four priorities: to safeguard and increase national security, to bring Estonia out of economic stagnation, to increase public welfare and cohesion, and to grow the population. The Government Action Plan 2016 – 2019 and 100-Day-Action Plan (together with an Evaluation Report published in March 2017) have been published on a government website. Of the 101 tasks for the first 100 days, only 10% remained unaccomplished, mainly due to a need for additional investigation. Thus, in terms of quantity, the government has been sufficiently effective. In terms of quality, significant progress has been made compared to the previous cabinet. First, tasks are better aligned with the strategic policy goals and second, several burning issues have finally been brought into the agenda (e.g., tax reform, pension reform, and securing the sustainability of pension funds).

As a joint effort by the thinktank Praxis and Estonian Employers’ Confederation, an independent project Riigireformi Radar (Governance Reform Radar) was launched in 2016 for monitoring the administration’s performance in making the government more efficient. An expert panel assesses government’s performance every three months along five dimensions. The evaluation in September 2017 commended the accomplishment of an administrative reform (i.e., the amalgamation of municipalities) but remained critical of improvements of central government efficiency.

To what extent does the organization of government provide incentives to ensure that ministers implement the government’s program?

10
 9

The organization of government successfully provides strong incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 8
 7
 6


The organization of government provides some incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 5
 4
 3


The organization of government provides weak incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 2
 1

The organization of government does not provide any incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
Ministerial Compliance
9
Estonia typically has coalition governments; reaching an agreement on priorities and goals of the future government is the core issue of the cabinet-formation process. After a coalition cabinet is sworn in, it acts in accordance with the government program and rules of procedure signed by all coalition partners. The process of program implementation is coordinated by the coalition committee, comprised of a representative of each coalition partner. Compared to some previous governments, the sitting coalition places less emphasis on the coalition committee, instead discussing most issues openly at cabinet meetings. This can be regarded as evidence of general concord within the government, which facilitates implementation of the government program.

How effectively does the government office/prime minister’s office monitor line ministry activities with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The GO / PMO effectively monitors the implementation activities of all line ministries.
 8
 7
 6


The GO / PMO monitors the implementation activities of most line ministries.
 5
 4
 3


The GO / PMO monitors the implementation activities of some line ministries.
 2
 1

The GO / PMO does not monitor the implementation activities of line ministries.
Monitoring Ministries
5
The Prime Minister’s Office has a small staff that performs mainly supportive and technical tasks. Thus, the capacity to monitor the line ministries’ activities from the core executive is limited. Even though the prime minister has little power over ministers, they rarely challenge the government program. Still, sometimes line ministers break with consensus, which results in bilateral talks with the prime minister.

How effectively do federal and subnational ministries monitor the activities of bureaucracies and executive agencies with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The ministries effectively monitor the implementation activities of all bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 8
 7
 6


The ministries monitor the implementation activities of most bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 5
 4
 3


The ministries monitor the implementation activities of some bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 2
 1

The ministries do not monitor the implementation activities of bureaucracies/executive agencies.
Monitoring Agencies, Bureaucracies
8
Estonian government is horizontally decentralized. This means that besides 11 ministries, there are 25 executive agencies and several foundations established by the government. Foundations have specific policy objectives, often managing implementation of the EU structural funds in Estonia. Foundations are led by a counselor and appointed by a minister. Agencies implement policies within the broader policy area and are accountable to the relevant ministry. Ministers appoint agency directors. These organizational arrangements enable ministries to monitor the activities of executive agencies. However, agencies have grown substantially both in terms of staff and task volume; this may ultimately produce negative effects such as a lack of coordination between the ministry and agency, or misuse of administrative power by executive-agency CEOs. This latter problem is illustrated by the increase in corruption offences within these institutions.

To what extent does the central government ensure that tasks delegated to subnational self-governments are adequately funded?

10
 9

The central government enables subnational self-governments to fulfill all their delegated tasks by funding these tasks sufficiently and/or by providing adequate revenue-raising powers.
 8
 7
 6


The central government enables subnational governments to fulfill most of their delegated tasks by funding these tasks sufficiently and/or by providing adequate revenue-raising powers.
 5
 4
 3


The central government sometimes and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational governments.
 2
 1

The central government often and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational self-governments.
Task Funding
4
Estonian local governments are heavily dependent on financial resources from the central budget, as revenue from local taxes is negligible. During the economic recession, the central government cut funds allocated to the local governments by 13%. Pre-recession levels will first be restored in 2018. In addition, considerable uncertainty looms over the tasks of local councils following the municipal mergers completed in 2017.

To what extent does central government ensure that subnational self-governments may use their constitutional scope of discretion with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The central government enables subnational self-governments to make full use of their constitutional scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 8
 7
 6


Central government policies inadvertently limit the subnational self-governments’ scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 5
 4
 3


The central government formally respects the constitutional autonomy of subnational self-governments, but de facto narrows their scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 2
 1

The central government deliberately precludes subnational self-governments from making use of their constitutionally provided implementation autonomy.
Constitutional Discretion
5
According to the Estonian constitution, local self-governments can independently decide on all local issues. The rights and responsibilities of local governments are stipulated in detail in the Local Government Organization Act. In the spring of 2016, the government launched a radical administrative reform, including merging smaller local governments (i.e., with fewer than 1,000 residents) into larger units comprising at least 5,000 residents. Mergers were carried out by the central government where they did not occur voluntarily; several municipalities appealed the decisions to the courts. However, the Supreme Court ruled that the central government acted in accordance with the constitution.

To what extent does central government ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services?

10
 9

Central government effectively ensures that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
 8
 7
 6


Central government largely ensures that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
 5
 4
 3


Central government ensures that subnational self-governments realize national minimum standards of public services.
 2
 1

Central government does not ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
National Standards
6
The issue of national standards is relatively new to Estonia. First the European Union and later the OECD brought it to the government’s agenda. Until recently, transportation and water management were the only issues subject to quality standards. Local governments were not part of this national system and were responsible for ensuring service quality on their own.

Based on recommendations made in the OECD Governance Report 2011, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications established a unit responsible for developing a comprehensive system of public-services standards. In 2013, a green paper on public services was approved by the government cabinet, establishing online-service standards as the main priority. However, besides one other sophisticated study on possible quality evaluation methods for various public services (2014), no progress has occurred. Since several public services are provided at the local level, the quantity and quality of services varies greatly across municipalities.

Adaptability

#16

To what extent does the government respond to international and supranational developments by adapting domestic government structures?

10
 9

The government has appropriately and effectively adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 8
 7
 6


In many cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational.
 2
 1

The government has not adapted domestic government structures no matter how useful adaptation might be.
Domestic Adaptability
9
The most important supranational organization affecting domestic policies is the European Union. After consultations with the parliament and advocacy groups, the government has typically adopted a framing-policy document (e.g., Estonian EU Policy 2015 – 2019). Generally, the formation and implementation of national EU policy is the responsibility of the government. An interministerial Coordination Council for EU Affairs is tasked with facilitating coordination of these national efforts. The Coordination Council plans and monitors the initiation and implementation of all EU-related policy activities. Each ministry bears the responsibility for developing draft legislation and enforcing government priorities in its domain.

The Secretariat for EU affairs within the GO provides administrative and legal support in preparing EU-related activities. It advises the prime minister on EU matters (including preparations for European Council meetings), manages EU affairs across all government bodies, and offers guidelines for permanent representations. To prepare for the 2017 Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU, a special task force (i.e., GO Presidency Team) was formed with 31 positions. For the presidency, 335 temporary positions were established with relevant staff training. These arrangements were successfully accomplished even though the EU Presidency started six months earlier than initially planned.

The parliament’s European Union Affairs Committee issues political positions on draft EU legislation, provides political opinions and oversees the activities of the government as it implements EU policies.

Cooperation with international organizations (e.g., WTO, OECD and NATO) is the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

To what extent is the government able to collaborate effectively in international efforts to foster global public goods?

10
 9

The government can take a leading role in shaping and implementing collective efforts to provide global public goods. It is able to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
 8
 7
 6


The government is largely able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Existing processes enabling the government to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress are, for the most part, effective.
 5
 4
 3


The government is partially able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Processes designed to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress show deficiencies.
 2
 1

The government does not have sufficient institutional capacities to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. It does not have effective processes to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
International Coordination
5
Engagement in international development is mainly the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There is an interministerial coordination group tasked with coordinating foreign-policy issues, which includes cabinet ministers. As in other areas, Estonia is good at adhering to international commitments but rarely takes the lead. Likewise, Estonia is not very good at assessing the impact of national policies on the global challenge of human development. Assessment takes place in some policy areas (e.g., environment, energy and IT), but integrated coordination and monitoring across policy fields remains in its infancy. Yet in some specific areas, such as development aid and combatting HIV/AIDS, various interest groups do serve as active government partners.

Organizational Reform

#27

To what extent do actors within the government monitor whether institutional arrangements of governing are appropriate?

10
 9

The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly and effectively.
 8
 7
 6


The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly.
 5
 4
 3


The institutional arrangements of governing are selectively and sporadically monitored.
 2
 1

There is no monitoring.
Self-monitoring
6
Based on the amount of amended or adopted regulations that deal with institutional arrangements, the government’s monitoring activities certainly exist and inform policymaking. Since March 2014, the Act on National Government has furnished the ministerial nomination processes with a new flexibility; it no longer lists ministers, but only sets a maximum number for the government as a whole. This enables nominations to better reflect current needs. However, it is generally difficult to estimate how systematic and consolidated the government’s self-monitoring activities truly are. The maximum limit on the number of ministers is likely to be removed in 2018.

To what extent does the government improve its strategic capacity by changing the institutional arrangements of governing?

10
 9

The government improves its strategic capacity considerably by changing its institutional arrangements.
 8
 7
 6


The government improves its strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
 5
 4
 3


The government does not improve its strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
 2
 1

The government loses strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
Institutional Reform
5
Top politicians and executive officials widely understand the problem of fragmented policymaking as it was highlighted in the OECD Governance Report. Yet the government has responded to the OECD’s call to move “toward a single government approach” only at the rhetorical level. Strategic capacity remains located within line ministries, and not in the Prime Minister’s Office. Policymakers consult academic experts only sporadically, and mainly in the context of concrete reforms.
Back to Top