Civil society and integration

A civil society is a participatory society that involves people based on their interests and abilities, encompassing self-initiative in discussing public affairs and making the decision to participate. This means each citizen may submit to the government ideas and proposals and to be actively involved in state issues.

A participatory democracy website has been set up at www.osale.ee to allow people to take part in government matters and be an active member of civil society. The purpose of the participatory democracy website is to include Estonian civil associations and inhabitants in active participation in dialogue on matters of importance to society.

The participatory website may be used to submit proposals to the government. Relevant, well-grounded opinions and proposals are welcomed, as is criticism regarding aspects that should be changed in the country and ideas as to how to accomplish this.

The following can be done via the participatory website:

  • submit ideas and proposals to the government;
  • gather signatures for support for civic initiatives;
  • express opinions regarding government-sponsored draft legislation;
  • search for legal acts or policy documents.

The purpose of the Estonian civil society development strategy adopted by the parliament is the broader inclusion of citizens and associations of citizens in developing policies and legal acts. Each ministry deals with the matters specified in the Government of the Republic Act. The topics on the participatory website are distributed according to the area of responsibility of each ministry.

The government’s objectives are listed in the government coalition programme and the functions of the ministries are specified in the government’s activity programme. The websites of ministries likewise provide information regarding the government’s plans. Draft legislation sent to the ministries for endorsement shall be published in the legal information environment, known in Estonian as e-õigus (e-law).

Integration in Estonia

Integration Foundation is a foundation established by the Government of the Republic of Estonia. Foundation initiates and supports the projects aimed at the integration of the Estonian society and co-ordinates financing in this field, including several projects financed by foreign states.

The successful course of the integration process in Estonia depends on the effective co-operation between all the levels acting in the Estonian society like state authorities, local governments, schools, universities, private companies and private individuals. More information about cultural diversity and integration can be found in “The Strategy of Integration and Social Cohesion in Estonia 2020”(in Estonian, 1,67 MB).

Compiled by: Ministry of Culture