Two dozen knots to untangle
It needs to become clear by evening which one of dozens of parishes and towns in 22 areas all over Estonia will allow themselves to be merged without a fight.
15.05.2017, Anneli AmmasPM
Next president could be decided by electoral body
A coalition working group on changes to the presidential election process is weighing a constitutional amendment that would abolish the current Riigikogu voting rounds and give the task of electing the president straight to the electoral body.
21.02.2017, Karin KangroPM
Successful small parishes weak point of administrative reform
Postimees interviewed members of the new government soon after it took office toward the end of last year. Because the administrative area of the state administration minister was living busy days and several decisions were still outstanding at the time, we will publish the final piece in the series today – almost a month after the local governments' merger deadline came and went.
07.02.2017, Joosep VärkPM
Tootsi wind farm to become Estonian Air vol. 2
The government's decision to hand the Tootsi wind farm over to national energy company Eesti Energia has resulted in an appeal to the European Commission by a number of wind energy companies that demand the decision to be overturned.
18.01.2017, Siiri LiivaPM
Number of local governments to fall threefold
Postimees' calculations suggest that Estonia's future map of towns and parishes will at best have 76-77 local government units, or nearly three times fewer than today.
03.01.2017, Nils NiitraPM
What will the year 2017 bring us? From broken teeth to fishing
What will the year 2017 bring us? Besides increased excises, the coming year will bring Estonia’s residents new subsidies – for example, it is likely that more people will visit dentists in 2017, because a small compensation will be paid to adults as well. Postimees reviews the most significant law amendments.
30.12.2016, Tiina KaukverePM
Fake democracy had its effect
The merger polls carried out recently in many municipalities due to the administrative reform largely turned out a fiasco, since only a tiny minority took part. Minister of State Administration Mihhail Korb thinks that such polls could have been as well cancelled.
29.12.2016, Nils NiitraPM
Time of county governments will soon be over
The time of county governments will soon be over, Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas said in an opinion piece published in the regional daily Meie Maa on Wednesday.
Government scored half a victory in administrative reform case
Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling definitely showed the green light for the forced merger of municipalities, but on the other hand this complicates the merger of municipalities based purely on the minimum limit of 5,000 residents.
21.12.2016, Nils NiitraPM
Mergers producing new names
Arguments over future names of merged parishes can lead to collapsed negotiations as happened recently in Ida-Viru County after Lüganuse parish refused to change its 13th century name and adopt that of Kiviõli, the history of which spans just 70 years.
30.11.2016, Nils NiitraPM
Administrative reform fate slipping into Supreme Court hands
According to thorough legal analysis completed last week the administrative reform violates constitutional rights of local governments in several issues. If Supreme Court sides with the local governments who ordered the analysis, part of the law is likely to be annulled and the reform will not be fully carried out.
15.08.2016, Oliver KundPM
Editorial: presidential kettle near boiling point
Day by day, Estonia draws nearer to electing its new President. Sounds like the soup is getting ready to boil.
Editorial: midgets (like Iceland) may mow down giants
Always, the stories of little ones overcoming the big have fascinated mankind. Like the tiny Iceland beating big England. How on earth can that be?! We Estonia being four times their size... could we repeat that?
Social ministry sets recruitment quotas
Social ministry has divided the number thousand between counties and ministries and thus determined how many people with permanently reduced work capacity local governments and state agencies are to hire in next five years.
16.06.2016, Anneli AmmasPM
Editorial: a step taken, a long way to go
In certain situations, try as you may to swim against the stream, it carries you along. Better to get smart along the way.
Small parishes given till end of year to unite
Passed with 56 «yes» votes yesterday, Estonia's administrative reform act sounds dry but is explosive at heart.
08.06.2016, Madis VaikmaaPM
Estonian parlt adopts administrative reform bill
Estonian parliament on Tuesday adopted the administrative reform bill. A total of 56 MPs voted to pass the law and 38 voted against it, while there were no abstentions.
Editorial: Ida-Viru County needs a vision for the future
Ida-Virumaa and its largest city Narva of nearly 60,000 inhabitants has been rather prominent in local and international media these past few years. predominantly, this has been because of the 2014 events in Ukraine: many a Western journalist has been seeking for another Donbas and Crimea both in Narva and the Latvian region of Latgale. Even so, the Daugavpils and Narva reality has proven otherwise, and one may understand the displeasure in locals regarding such focus.
Editorial: the simple complex stuff
Alter a part of it, and any social system changes. The shrinking and ageing rural population, the urbanisation, and the related need to tweak the infrastructure does pose serious everyday issues. At times, for the decision makers these may seem so simple as to deserve no attention...
Old folks getting lost looking for a hospital
Plan by Health Insurance Fund (the Haigekassa) to bring bulk of medical specialists into a couple of big centres has raised the issue of how people from afar will make it there with private transport unavailable. Social ministry tells us this will have to be settled by local governments.
20.05.2016, Heilika LeinusPM
In cities, small private schools to tighten belts
Next year, lion's share of private schools will have to cut operating costs by half or significantly raise tuition fee. They will not close doors, though.
19.05.2016, Anneli AmmasPM
Estonia-Latvia borderlands merger makes Riigikogu splash
At the end of March, Latvia's Valka County duma chairman Vents Krauklis decided to do an experiment in Valga Hospital. Namely, he sent his wife across state border to give birth there.
11.05.2016, Priit PulleritsPM
Editorial: growing up or throwing up?
So they are trying to warm up that old sandwich of people in the parliament allowed to sit at local councils... Possibly biting off more than we are willing to chew.
Local leaders carry differing price tags
Though in eyes of law all local governmental leaders share the same tasks, councils price their jobs very differently. Not always is this linked to wealth of the region or size of population. Estonia's highest mayoral salary is thrice the lowest. With parish elders, the difference is six-fold.
03.05.2016, Oliver KundPM
Few viewers, many critics
13,000 – this was the amount of viewers who this Saturday watched part one of «Savisaare protsess» series produced by Tallinn TV for taxpayer money.
27.04.2016, Anneli AmmasPM
The troubles with Estonian education
In its report published yesterday, OECD says Estonia has too many teachers and students with Russian as mother tongue do not cope at Estonian language based school.
Society threatened by underfinancing of kindergarten education
Currently, lion's share of Estonian educational spending goes to gymnasiums, while the society would win out by proper financing of kindergarten education, as claimed by authors of OECD report. Extra money needs to be spent to alleviate the chronic underfinancing of kindergarten teachers.
07.04.2016, Oliver KundPM
Editorial: OECD strikes chord in Estonian educational debate
Estonia would do well to heed the advice by OECD as touching issues debated and carrying a broader weight in society with regards to principles and even the future.
Editorial: enraging equivocating engulfing education
As Private Schools Act amendment draft act reached Riigikogu last November, Postimees expressed hopes the costs debate would not descend into labeling and personal insults. Alas, not happening.
Pigeon post just had a busy weekend
The stand-off between supporters of private schools and education ministry has lasted for over half a year. This weekend, it assumed a dimension altogether new as 69 culture personas including the revered composer Arvo Pärt have signed an address to defend private schools' right to life.
04.04.2016, Anneli AmmasPM
New cameras helping detect crimes
Northern prefecture criminal department had to admit defeat while trying to identify a professional thief after the event – the picture by public camera was only good enough to point out a dark coat and hat. Half of Tallinners would have been suspects...
02.03.2016, Risto BerendsonPM
Elderly stuck in wards with mentally ill and dangerous
Due to lapses in Estonian law, demented elderly and alcoholics find themselves sharing wards with aggressive and dangerous schizophrenics and the like.
01.03.2016, Martin LainePM
Ligi says no to castes for kids
Education and research minister Jürgen Ligi thinks sustainable private schools do have a future but rules out the state maintaining their special conditions vs municipal ones.
03.12.2015, Anneli AmmasPM
Parish governments come under Central Criminal Police scrutiny
Parish leaders used to lack of control are being targeted by police, and criminal proceedings are coming down like a pouring rain. Central Criminal Police corruption crimes bureau chief Mati Ombler says spread of corruption depends on attitude towards the vice in society.
01.12.2015, Nils NiitraPM
Editorial: the rural Estonian swimming pool boom
Alas, European money alone will not make the Estonian regions equally prosperous. As shown by a Praxis study, the funds have found a use rather self-centered and driven by narrow-minded local interests.
National Audit Office dissatisfied with governmental efforts to develop economy
The chronic ills of Estonian economy have been overshadowed by positiveness of macroeconomic indicators but haven't gone anywhere, Auditor General Alar Karis writes in annual report.
24.11.2015, Kadri HansaluPM
Editorial: the increasingly bitter private schools debate
Approved in the government and sent to the parliament, the Private Schools Act amendment bill has become contentious, at times erupting into a war of words between interest groups and politicians.
High speed internet makes many mad
Illusions of harmonious expansion of Estonian internet network got crushed on October 17th as into numerous inboxes of entities responsible for Estonian IT-development and of media outlets landed a press release by Estonian Broadband Development Foundation (ELASA).
29.10.2015, Aivar PauPM
Arabic speakers countable on fingers
Lion's share of refugees coming to Estonia will be Syrians whose command of English will be our basic school level at best. Meanwhile, Arabic speakers in Estonia number under two dozen.
07.10.2015, Nils NiitraPM
A ministry and its lone half-time crisis manager
Addressing the social ministry regarding refugees, journalists have but one person to address. That'll be Triin Raag, a local governments specialist at social department. In this situation of crisis, one lady is loaded with arrangement of housing and support. What's more, she's officially employed just half-time. Come New Year, Estonia will be receiving some 200 «batch one» refugees. To this, add 373 latest Juncker-quota people.
11.09.2015, Tiina KaukverePM
Local leaders want no refugees
In August, social protection minister Margus Tsahkna asked parish and city elders if they'd be ready to receive and house refugees. With a few exceptions, the answer is «no».
09.09.2015, Nils NiitraPM
Ministries swell with fresh vigour
Analysis by Chamber of Commerce and Industry says Estonia's public officialdom is resistant to thinning and if the numbers do come down at all, then on account of police patrols and firefighters. Meanwhile, the ministries keep on ballooning.
07.09.2015, Nils NiitraPM
Gas pipe route defies distress of locals
With the two options for Balticconnector gas pipe placement, impact on nature is rather alike. Even so, Elering favours the variant through a village which stands against.
14.08.2015, Anette ParkseppPM
Turkish hospital bill awaiting government verdict
For a family of four, and end-of-April trip to Turkey ended with father's illness and a mega hospital bill, the compensation of which hangs on decision by Estonian government.
03.08.2015, Siiri LiivaPM
Swine fever the new normal?
Estonia's initial domestic swine dead by African swine fever this weekend will hardly remain the last, as the virus will lurk the surrounding forests for 5 to 20 years.
22.07.2015, Oliver KundPM
Editorial: leave city, be happy
As observed in a deep-delving story on small town niceties in Postimees today, people tend to be happier there... provided they have what it takes to be happy like family, friends, work and income.
Finland and Estonia on joint X-Road starting November
According to agreement signed some weeks ago, Estonia and Finland will be the first two nations in Europe to develop a joint data exchange platform to make digital services mutually accessible for inhabitants.
17.07.2015, Aivar PauPM
Stronger stick, sweeter carrot, and urge to merge
At the moment, Estonia sports 213 local governments. By our 100th Anniversary, they should be three times less. The conditions for survival of some and extinction of others are being feverishly forged.
16.07.2015, Oliver KundPM
Tallinn soc dems present proposals to tweak Estonian coalition treaty
Monday night, Soc Dems Tallinn region board forwarded its advice on how to alter the coalition agreement, main points being rise of income tax free minimum, a ceiling set to elections costs, and inclusive budgets for local governments.
15.07.2015, Andres EinmannPM
Number of central government employees grows by 1,000 in 2014
While the number of public sector workers in Estonia dropped from 138,000 to 137,000 in Estonia last year, the number of workers of the central government grew from 55,000 to 56,000.
On spreading the refugees across entire Estonia
Are Estonia’s towns and parishes prepared to embrace refugees arriving from crisis areas, should it be decided to scatter these across the nation?
20.05.2015, Anneli AmmasPM
Estonian parties reach agreement re administrative reform at coalition talks
The three Estonian parties engaged in coalition-building talks on Friday reached a principled agreement regarding the administrative and state reforms.
Entrepreneurs increasingly eager to challenge public procurements
Last year, entrepreneurs contested public procurements, vital for their income, by a fifth more than in 2013 – resembling the explosive growth of challenges during financial crisis.
24.03.2015, Andres ReimerPM
Agriculture minister throws money to educational institution
Soc dem agriculture minister Ivari Padar this Wednesday signed directive granting Võrumaa Local Governments Union €75,000 – exceptionally. Mr Padar runs for parliament in selfsame district.
27.02.2015, Nils NiitraPM
Editorial: strategic cooperation or tactical spending spree?
While a relatively successful user of EU support, Estonia does have stuff to think over regarding the new budget period. In our near-term investments, EU euros play a vital role. Therefore, should we use these unwisely or splash out stupidly, instead of hoped-for economic development all we’ll have is nothingness and an expensive (and at times pointless) infrastructure.
EU competitiveness aid about to be atomised
The European Union gives close to €135m till 2020 to boost competitiveness of Estonia’s rural areas. However, the naggings and back room agreements among local governments may spray some of the money.
30.01.2015, Nils NiitraPM
Rescue Board head: leaving Laekvere family without electricity was irresponsible
Rescue Board director-general Kuno Tammearu deems it irresponsible that electricity had been switched off in the house at Rohu village, Laekvere, Lääne-Viru County where a mother (33) perished in fire with two young children – boys aged five and two – on January 1st.
12.01.2015, Andres EinmannPM
Tallinn defeats Estonia in trash battle
Yesterday, by Supreme Court ruling, a Waste Act amendment entered into force – one allowing everyone to select a trash carrier while prohibiting local governments from setting their ASBLs as intermediaries for services.
08.01.2015, Andres ReimerPM
Estonian local govts lose right to appoint waste handler
Estonia's top court has decided that the Waste Act amendment which strips local self-governments and their nonprofit associations of the right to be the sole waste handler on the territory of the local authority is legal, but self-governments retain the right to designate the waste management facility.
Two «gold belt» governments face loan axe and reorganisation
Finance ministry has launched adjustment proceedings regarding six local governments above debt ceilings for two years running, prescribing cuts. These include Keila and Viimsi of the rich circle around Tallinn.
26.11.2014, Jonatan KarjusPM
Ministry mulls making mandatory school longer
Currently, only basic education is compulsory. Even so, as a pupil turns 17 and has yet to graduate from basic school, the institution is under no obligation to keep him.
25.11.2014, Tiina KaukverePM
Best chains should bear village pharmacy burden
Pharmacy administration bill will be built around the concept of liberating urban market beginning the coming June while the top successful city pharmacy owners would be expected to open shop in villages. This is the plan put down by social ministry as requested by Social Affairs Committee at Riigikogu.
06.11.2014, Oliver KundPM
EconMin finishes analysis of Rail Baltic route alternatives
Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications has finished the analysis of Rail Baltic route alternatives and based on the results county governors can make their decisions concerning the favored route in Estonia.
As one, the people denounce drink-in-public act
A poll ordered by National Institute for Health Development (TAI) says Estonians stand united against public drinking: a remarkable 82 percent were not supportive of alcohol consumption okayed in public.
23.09.2014, Liis VelskerPM
Drinking freedom applied as duty
Justice minister Andres Anvelt is asking everybody to send their suggestions on how to tame those tippling in public space.
29.08.2014, Tuuli KochPM
Political decision costs Estonian Post €3m a year
The law says Estonia must have a post office in each commune, no matter the size. In the countryside, the distance between letterboxes may not exceed two kilometres (1.2 miles).
06.08.2014, Kaspar JõgevaPM
Editorial: hogs worth fighting for
Pity the pig farmers: in the heat of the summer, chilly winds are howling from the south. Last week already, a dread epidemic – the African pig plague – had made it to Northern Latvia, nearing Estonian borderline. Alas, despite all measures taken and planned there’s small chance we will escape untouched.
High risk families entered into police register
Neighbours, relatives and teachers alike have become better at letting the police and child welfare know of kids in trouble.
16.07.2014, Anneli AmmasPM
Beaches bemoan tippler takeover
With mere two weeks gone by after entry into force of the public-drinking-allowed amendment, beach security says: at water’s edge, consumption of alcohol and the related problems are decidedly on the rise.
15.07.2014, Uwe GnadenteichPM
Editorial: dog lost. Who cares?
While a large part of Estonia’s local governments require cats and dogs to be registered, this is partly just formality – of not much use when the pets are lost. The local registers merge into no larger database. We do have two national registers, but only 23 local governments (out of 215) have entered one of these. The rest are using Excel tables or checkered workbooks or have given up registering pets altogether, no matter if rules so require – in these formats, the registers are pointless.
Estonia has over hundred useless pet registers
Cats and dogs entered into workbooks not found when lost.
15.07.2014, Kaspar JõgevaPM
Editorial: kill bench, kill problem?
Not long ago, Postimees got a phone-call by the troubled reader who told a story of apple trees on a lot next to an apartment-block in town. The apple-trees, she said, are old and nice, but whenever it rains drunks gather underneath the braches for shelter. «What to do?» there followed the traditional query. «Do I ask the town government to cut the threes down? I pity the trees, but how do we turn this around?»
Cities limit tippling
July saw entry into force of Law and Order Act provision allowing alcohol to be consumed at many a public spot – as long as others aren’t bothered. At that, local government hands were left untied to set aside areas for minors or promotion of health where booze isn’t okay.
10.07.2014, Tiina KaukverePM
Editorial: small schools under shadow of axe
«If school goes, life goes – from a village or a commune.» This, according to think-tank Praxis analysis on Estonian schools network, is a widespread statement on why Estonia keeps keeping alive its schools with few students. The same study claims the reasoning amounts to superficial simplification: a school alone will not breathe life into a region.
«Optimum» elusive for schools network
Local governments say they won’t close down undersized schools before the money runs out or numbers of kids drop to critical limit. They say: education ministry, eager to cut schools network, fails to grasp local conditions.
10.07.2014, Oliver KundPM
Disorder ordered in public order?
July 1st. New law allows for polite binging and protects people by silent hours starting 60 minutes sooner.
16.06.2014, Tuuli KochPM
Editorial: look further than a few years
Work capacity reform, the new coalition’s initial bone of contention, should not be rushed with. The practical aspects ought to be thoroughly considered. Let’s not forget, also, that regionally the conditions for getting to work – public transport, jobs on offer, willingness and ability of local governments – greatly vary. Overlooking such small yet vital details, the reform cannot be of expected benefit.
Politicians ordered to pay for banned election ads
Committee for monitoring political parties’ financing has prescribed that mayor of Tallinn Edgar Savisaar, deputy mayor Arvo Sarapuu, Northern Tallinn district elder Karin Tammemäe and her deputy Priit Kutser, Jaanus Mutli employed at Tallinn business department (all politicians hereunto mentioned belonging to Centre Party) and former Tartu mayor and now health/labour minister Urmas Kruuse (Reform Party) return costs of election ads – originally labelled as information campaign – related to local elections in 2013.
Pharmacies face prescription of temporary stricture
Today, social commission of the Riigikogu sits down to decide whether to impose temporary regulations for 1.5 years following the removal of limitations to opening new pharmacies, so as to curb mass establishing of pharmacies in towns and closure of those in the countryside.
08.05.2014, Karin KangroPM
Crooks pushing corrupt politicians
Last year, an accelerating trend was spotted by Internal Security Service (Kapo) of organised criminals seeking to plant cronies into local representative bodies. One such case was discovered in run up to 2013 fall local elections in Tallinn, as former Centre Party member Tõnis Bittman planned, with help by persons connected to organised crime, purchases of votes for Robert Sadovski.
In Estonia, three «e-kindergartens» born as triplets
With eKool, the electronic schools system, in use for over a decade, kindergartens only got the option this academic year. Curiously, three competing environments popped up as one man.
10.03.2014, Andres EinmannPM
The post-victory power struggles
In numerous local governments, seemingly small and insignificant discords have, over these past four years, split long-term coalitions.
30.09.2013, Tuuli KochPM
Editorial: commune chiefs for life
As revealed by today’s Postimees, Estonia has commune elders dating back to the days of Yuri Andropov*. In every sixth-seventh local government, elders and mayors have basically stayed the same over the entire period of our regained independence. A third, or 73, of these have held office for a decade at least; a half of the latter category – over 15 years.
Third of local leaders at the helm over a decade
In the recent local governments «top list», super senior elders may indeed be found with some of the «stars»; even so, most of the ancients are to be found towards the lower end of the table – or at rock bottom.
16.09.2013, Anneli Ammas