The Government approved the changes in the administrative territorial organisation at its session today, according to which the mergers will be completed on the basis of the 12 previously made proposals. Six merger proposals were abandoned and four were sent to the regional committees for reassessment.
“Local governments have worked hard, and above all, I would like to thank these local government leaders who managed to carry out the mergers in the voluntary stage,” said Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab. “However, there were some local governments that couldn’t or didn’t want to do this and waited for the Government’s decision instead. We analysed and considered all of the arguments submitted to us by the local governments that received merger proposals. Every local government is unique and the decisions were therefore not easy to make.”
The applications for changing the administrative territorial organisation of local governments for mergers at their own initiative had to be submitted to county governors by 1 January 2017. In February, the Government made merger proposals to all of the local governments that failed to agree about merging by the start of the year or did not meet the criterion of 5,000 residents. The proposal concerned 104 local governments, 39 of which agreed with the proposal and 65 did not.
The purpose of the administrative reform is the formation of local governments that can offer better public services to people, guarantee an increase in the competitiveness of regions and independently perform the functions assigned to them by law.
Exceptions were earlier made for four island municipalities: Kihnu, Ruhnu, Muhu and Vormsi.
83 local governments will be left according to the decision – 16 towns/cities and 67 municipalities.
The Government had previously approved two proposals:
• the merger of Pöide Municipality with other local governments in Saaremaa; and
• the merger of Puka Municipality with Otepää Municipality and Sangaste Municipality.
Six merger proposals were abandoned:
• the merger of Loksa Town (2,738 residents) with Kuusalu Municipality;
• the merger of Vaivara Municipality and Narva-Jõesuu Town (4,772 residents) with Sillamäe Town (but the Viivikonna district of Kohtla-Järve will be transferred);
• the merger of Kohtla Municipality, Kohtla-Nõmme Municipality and Toila Municipality, and the merger of Illuka Municipality with Alajõe Municipality, Iisaku Municipality, Mäetaguse Municipality and Tudulinna Municipality (Please note: The merger will only be completed in respect of Kohtla Municipality, Kohtla-Nõmme Municipality and Toila Municipality);
• the merger of Häädemeeste Municipality and Tahkuranna Municipality (4,982 residents in total) with Saarde Municipality and Surju Municipality (4,873 residents);
• The merger of Kanepi Municipality, Kõlleste Municipality and Valgjärve Municipality (4,962 residents) with Ahja Municipality, Laheda Municipality, Mooste Municipality, Põlva Municipality and Vastse-Kuuste Municipality; and
• the merger of Antsla Municipality and Urvaste Municipality (4,649 residents) with Orava Municipality and Vastseliina Municipality, and with Lasva Municipality, Sõmerpalu Municipality and Võru Municipality.
A new opinion will be requested about four merger proposals:
• the merger of Keila Town, Keila Municipality, Padise Municipality, Paldiski Town and Vasalemma Municipality;
• the merger of Haljala Municipality and Vihula Municipality with Rakvere Municipality and Sõmeru Municipality;
• the merger of Luunja Municipality and Tähtvere Municipality with Tartu City; and
• the merger of Nõo Municipality with Elva Town, Konguta Municipality, Palupera Municipality, Puhja Municipality, Rannu Municipality and Rõngu Municipality.
12 merger proposals will be completed according to the submitted proposal (the name of the municipality to be formed is added):
• the merger of Emmaste Municipality and Pühalepa Municipality with Hiiu Municipality and Käina Municipality – HIIUMAA MUNICIPALITY;
• the merger of Lüganuse Municipality with Kiviõli Town and Sonda Municipality – LÜGANUSE MUNICIPALITY;
• the merger of Illuka Municipality with Alajõe Municipality, Iisaku Municipality, Mäetaguse Municipality and Tudulinna Municipality – ALUTAGUSE MUNICIPALITY;
• the merger of Koeru Municipality with Albu Municipality, Ambla Municipality, Imavere Municipality, Järva-Jaani Municipality, Kareda Municipality and Koigi Municipality – JÄRVA MUNICIPALITY;
• the merger of Rakke Municipality with Väike-Maarja Municipality – VÄIKE-MAARJA MUNICIPALITY;
• the merger of Tõstamaa Municipality with Audru Municipality, Paikuse Municipality and Pärnu City – PÄRNU CITY;
• the merger of Juuru Municipality with Kaiu Municipality, Raikküla Municipality and Rapla Municipality – RAPLA MUNICIPALITY;
• the merger of Tabivere Municipality with Laeva Municipality, Piirissaare Municipality and Tartu Municipality – TARTU MUNICIPALITY;
• the merger of Kallaste Town and Pala Municipality with Alatskivi Municipality, Peipsiääre Municipality and Vara Municipality – PEIPSIÄÄRE MUNICIPALITY;
• the merger of Kambja Municipality with Ülenurme Municipality – KAMBJA MUNICIPALITY;
• the merger of Meremäe Municipality, Mikitamäe Municipality and Värska Municipality, and transfer of Misso Municipality and Luhamaa region to the merging local government – SETOMAA MUNICIPALITY; and
• the merger of Orava Municipality and Vastseliina Municipality with Lasva Municipality, Sõmerpalu Municipality and Võru Municipality – VÕRU MUNICIPALITY.