An End to Creeping Administrative Reform
The need for a new regional policy has long been clear to all those even remotely involved with regional issues. Unfortunately, it is far from easy to achieve a political compromise between different parties on such a complicated issue.
Currently it has been agreed among the partners in the governing coalition that Estonia will keep its one-tiered system of local government. Regional local government unions have not been given legal personality or their own revenue base, yet the local government unions act makes it possible to impose obligations on them. It has also been decided to allocate up to a billion kroons in the coming three years to support voluntary merger between municipalities. The fact that the parties in the coalition support!merger is a positive message above all for those municipalities who have already made merger plans. But the writer does not feel that the agreements so far are sufficient to ensure balanced development in Estonia, and feels the agreements have skirted the regional administrative reform issue and the possibility of channeling additional funds to counties.