The Estonian government on Thursday gave its nod to a bill that will disband Estonia's 15 county governments and divide up their current functions between municipalities and state institutions; the bill was thereafter forwarded to the Riigikogu.
The government has decided to terminate county governments as of Jan. 1, 2018. The reorganization of county governments will not eliminate counties as administrative units, however.
In accordance with the bill, the function of organization of public transport via public transport centers will be handed over to the National Road Administration, while supervision over educational institutions will be taken over by the Ministry of Education and Research, the coordination of the organization of educatin to Foundation Innove, the issuance of activity permits in the social sphere and supervision thereof to the Social Insurance Board, land reform and procedures with land to the Land Board and the analysis of youth work, programs and subsidies to the Ministry of Education and Research and the Estonian Youth Work Centre.
The function of supervision over population procedures and examinations will be transferred to the Ministry of the Interior, while supervision over libraries will be transferred to the Ministry of Culture and the organization of elections to the National Electoral Service. The Ministry of Finance will take over the planning and supervision over planning, the coordination of regional development programs, the supervision of municipal administrative actions and counseling, and the function of duties related to property reform.
Functions to be handed over to municipalities include population procedures, the organization of public transport via public transport centers, county development activities, health development and coordination of cooperation in the field of public safety, the functions of island watch as well as the organization of elections.
One-off costs related to the disbanding of county governments are estimated to total approximately €1.9 million. The reorganization is estimated to result in approximately €1.5 million in annual expenses saved, however.
Editor: Aili Vahtla