The Estonian Ministry of Education and Research has submitted the draft law amending the Language Act and the Public Transport Act. This would affect the language requirements of taxi drivers and food deliverers, writes Estonian media outlet ERR.
The changes proposed to the legislature would, among other things, affect audio advertisements in shopping malls and other public places. To enter into force, the bill would have to be debated in the Riigikogu, pass three votes in the Riigikogu, and receive presidential assent.
Education and Research Minister Tõnis Lukas said these changes are necessary because society has changed and many factors that were not important ten years ago have come to light. As reported by the Language Council of Estonia, many complaints relate to misunderstandings related to a lack of knowledge of the Estonian language. This mainly concerns the service sector – taxi drivers and food couriers, especially those working through apps. Lukas said the goal is to make Estonian more visible and dominant, and that would protect the Estonian consumer.
If the bill passes all the necessary levels, it would mean that all taxi drivers must have Estonian language skills at level B1.
It will also affect those who obtained a license before the law came into effect. To keep the license, they will need to confirm their language skills. To some extent, this requirement will also apply to food couriers.
The bill would also require internet domain names and email addresses of national and local government institutions only, with only Estonian words and abbreviations allowed in this case. This is an addition to the law and would affect several state institutions that actually have a foreign language domain name. For example, the Ministry of the Environment (Keskonnaministeerium) uses envir.ee.