Government Office supports the planning of the government's work, prepares the government's action plan and coordinates its implementation, prepares and organises government sessions and cabinet meetings, ensures compliance of draft government legislation with the Constitution and other laws, coordinates Estonia's positions and advises and supports the Prime Minister on EU affairs.
Government Office also organises public relations of the government and the Prime Minister and internal public relations work related to the European Union, advises the Prime Minister on national security and national defense issues, organises the work of the government security committee and coordinates national security and national defense management.
The objective of the coordination of national security and defence is to ensure the systematic preparation for the defence of the state and the effective governance of the state during both peace and war-time.
Estonian Government sessions are held in the Government Session Hall of Stenbock House, where longstanding traditions meet innovative technical solutions.
In 2000, the Estonian Government discarded the old paper document based decision-making system and opted for an innovative digital system – e-Cabinet. This tailor-made solution has been designed to prepare and conduct government meetings in an electronic form – entirely without paper.
In 2000, e-Cabinet was based on stationary computer terminals situated in the Government Session Hall. Today, the session hall is free of any stationary electronic devices. This means ministers can access e-Cabinet simply from their own portable digital devices, be it a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Ministers securely log into e-Cabinet with their ID-card or mobile-ID. They can access all items submitted to government for discussion or decision. They can view the forthcoming meeting’s agenda, notify colleagues on their views or give input and even give preliminary votes on a proposal well before the actual meeting has begun. The items on the agenda with no objections will not be debated but will be adopted by default at the beginning of the government session.
The system is connected to another information system that has been designed for consulting draft legislation and other government instruments between the ministries as well as with the public – the e-Consultation System. Both effectively link the different branches of Government into one seamless information network.
Furthermore, e-Cabinet enables the secure digital signing of government legal acts and other documents. For example, all government regulations are digitally signed by the Prime Minister, the responsible minister and the cabinet secretary during or shortly after the sessions. After every session, the documents are stored in an easily accessible archive dating back to 2000, when the innovative system was first established.
Most importantly, e-Cabinet has helped introduce more efficient decision-making procedures and has helped to save time. Before the system, sessions took 4-5 hours. Thanks to e-Cabinet, average sessions last 30 minutes.
With e-Cabinet, the Republic of Estonia has created a fast, transparent and environmentally friendly governing tool that is constantly evolving to better suit the needs of our innovatively-minded government.
The Government Communication Unit informs the public of the sessions of the Government and the resolutions that have been adopted. As a rule, journalists put questions to the members of the Government at the press briefings held after each session. Transcripts of press conferences are published by the Government Communication Unit (in Estonian).
Last updated: 01.10.2020