A bill disbanding Estonia's 15 county governments and dividing up functions for which they were responsible between municipalities and state institutions exited the Ministry of Finance on Thursday.
"The role of county governments has been declining consistently, and now that we have decided to enhance the capabilities of municipalities, their importance will decrease further," Minister of Public Administration Mihhail Korb said according to remarks released by the ministry's press service.
"One of the goals of the administrative reform is to increase the roles of municipalities, therefore we will hand over to them some of the self-government functions that were previously duties of the county government together with related funds," he explained.
Likewise, bringing together the performance of the duties of state supervision from the 15 counties into one sectoral ministry or agency will make the quality of the service more equal regionally as well, the ministry said.
The Estonian government has decided to terminate county governments as of 2018. This change will not eliminate counties as administrative units, however.
Functions to be reassigned to ministries, state agencies
• organization of public transport via public transport centers (Estonian Road Administration)
• supervision over educational institutions (Ministry of Education and Research)
• coordination of the organization of education (Foundation Innove)
• issuance of activity permits in the social sphere; supervision thereof (Social Insurance Board)
• land reform and procedures with land (Land Board)
• analysis of youth work, programs and subsidies (Ministry of Education and Research, Estonian Youth Work Center)
• supervision over population procedures and examinations (Ministry of the Interior)
• supervision over libraries (Ministry of Culture)
• organization of elections (National Electoral Service)
• planning and supervision over planning by municipalities (Ministry of Finance)
• coordination of programs in regional development (Ministry of Finance)
• supervision over administrative actions of municipalities and counseling (Ministry of Finance)
• mergers of municipalities; changes to borders of administrative units (Ministry of Finance)
• duties related to property reform (Ministry of Finance)
Functions to be reassigned to municipalities
• population procedures (the municipality of the county capital)
• organization of public transport via public transport centers (municipality)
• county development activities (municipalities together)
• health development; coordination of cooperation in the field of public safety (municipalities together)
• functions of island watch (municipality)
• organization of elections (municipality)
Editor: Aili Vahtla