Report: Rule of law principles are well-protected in Estonia

07.07.2023 | 14:05

The European Commission published a report that provides an overview of the rule of law situation in the European Union and its Member States. According to the report, freedom of expression and media freedom are well-protected in Estonia, and the country is also recognised for its progress in the digitalisation of the justice system and corruption prevention.
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Kadi Karus, Adviser at the Department of Regulatory Policy of the Ministry of Justice, points out that Estonia’s progress in the digitalisation of the justice system and corruption prevention was recognised by the evaluators for the fourth year in a row. ‘In the case of the digitalisation of the justice system, the report highlights our use of a web platform for more efficient document delivery,’ Kadi Karus said. ‘As for corruption prevention, it positively notes our procedure for avoiding conflicts of interest and introducing lobbying guidelines, among others, to all ministers and their advisers.’ 

According to the report, freedom of expression and freedom of press in Estonia is well guaranteed, and public confidence in the public broadcasting remains high.

The report also identifies aspects that require more attention in order to strengthen the rule of law. Thus, in terms of anti-corruption activities, the report notes the fact that Estonia has still not adopted legislative amendments required to improve the supervision of the financing of political parties. As a clear area of concern, the report points out the funding of civil society organisations by the Riigikogu from the state budget, for which there are no transparent and objective rules.

According to the evaluators, Estonia also needs to focus on a set of rules for granting access to data in order to protect personal data and make public information easily accessible to society. Although legislative amendments adopted to change the organisation of work of courts were necessary to lighten the heavy workload of judges, the report also addresses judges’ concern about the potential impact of specialised departments on their organisation of work.

Among other topics, the report highlighted Estonia’s outstanding progress in the development of a digital co-creation platform, which will make the legislative process more inclusive and transparent than before. It also recognised the active role of the Chancellor of Justice in upholding the rule of law.

The European Commission has been publishing the Rule of Law Report since 2020, making this year’s the fourth. The rule of law situation is assessed in the report in four primary areas: the justice system, anti-corruption activities, media freedom and media pluralism, and other activities related to state institutions. The report published by the European Commission can be found here.

Andri Küüts

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