Rõivas: Saaremaa merger into one local government would be exemplary ({{commentsTotal}})

Meeting with local government leaders in Saaremaa on Thursday, Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas said that the desire of the majority of local leaders to merge the entire island into one large administrative unit would be a logical step worthy of recognition.

"With such a large merger, Saaremaa would have the opportunity to set an example for the entire country, as it would be the first case of the formation of a local government covering an entire county," said Rõivas, who added that, according to current plans, only the islands of Muhu and Ruhnu would be left out of the proposed merger.

According to the prime minister, local government leaders deserved not only praise for this initiative, but support from the state government as well.

He noted that of utmost importance was access to needed services, pointing out that ideally progress would continue in the direction of being able to utilize access to as many e-services as possible, with obvious exceptions such as social welfare services.

Rõivas stated that Saaremaa had begun setting a good example in 2014 already, when Kaarma, Kärla and Lümanda Parishes merged to form one bigger West-Saare Parish.

During the hour and a half dedicated to discussion regarding the administrative reform, the topic of ferry connections to the mainland was raised as well. "There is no doubt that connections between the islands and the mainland must operate without a hitch for both passengers and freight," said Rõivas. "This service must be of high quality."

Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik

Siim Kallas.

Interview: Siim Kallas on ambitions, Estonian politics, and EU presidency

Following the local elections in October this year, Reform Party founder, former prime minister, EU commissioner, and presidential candidate Siim Kallas took on the job of municipal mayor of Viimsi, a community on the outskirts of Tallinn. In his interview with ERR's Toomas Sildam, Kallas talks about local government, his party, the EU presidency, and perspectives in Estonian politics.

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