Language policy is governed by the Ministry of Education and Research. The first Language Act was passed by the Parliament already in 1934. After reindependency, the law was passed in 1989, and the Language Act which is in force now was passed in the Parliament in 2011.
The purpose of Act is to develop, preserve and protect the Estonian language and ensure the use of the Estonian language as the main language for communication in all spheres of public life. The Language Act regulates the use of the Estonian language and foreign languages in oral and written administration, public information and service, the use of Estonian sign language and signed Estonian language, the requirements for and assessment of the proficiency in the Estonian language, exercise of state and administrative supervision over compliance with the requirements provided in this Act.
The use of language of legal persons in private law and natural persons is regulated if it is justified for protection of fundamental rights or in the public interest. For the purposes of this Act, public interest means public safety, public order, public administration, education, health, consumer protection and occupational safety. The establishment of requirements concerning use of and proficiency in Estonian shall be justified and in proportion to the objective being sought and shall not distort the nature of the rights which are restricted.
The rights of persons using a foreign language, including the language of national minorities shall be ensured in compliance with other acts and international agreements. The measures to support foreign languages shall not damage Estonian.
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