Riigikogu discusses Administrative Reform Act
On the initiative of the Center Party the Riigikogu discussed the Administrative Reform Act on Thursday. MPs as well as representatives of municipalities voiced criticism of how the government is planning to enforce the law.
Center Party MP Mailis Reps pointed to the fact that Minister of Public Administration Arto Aas (Reform) said in spring that the Administrative Reform Act would derive its real substance from 18 additional laws, the drafts of none of which had since been presented to the Riigikogu.
Lawyer Paul Varul spoke on the constitutionality of the act, which has been subject to complaints before the Supreme Court as well as an intervention by Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise, who in her position submitted to the court said that the deadlines for municipalities to merge were too short.
According to Varul, the main problem is that administrative capacity is only measured by the number of people living in a municipality, which the act demands to be at least 5,000. He added that there were also municipalities with less than 5,000 residents where everything was actually in order, and no need to force them to merge.
Representing the municipalities of Ida-Viru County, Veikko Luhalaid said that he had worked in the administration of Vaivara since 2000, and headed the association of Ida-Viru County’s municipalities for more than a decade. Based on his experience, Luhalaid said that he strongly supported municipality mergers, as long as they were voluntarily.
Luhalaid also brought up several problems that have come up in municipalities that do not promote putting the Administrative Reform Act into practice. He sees a need for a more thorough analysis to make well-considered decisions about the course of the implementation of the act.