Parishes without shared border to be allowed to merge
The Constitutional Committee of the Riigikogu supported several changes to the government's administrative reform bill, including a provision that would allow parishes to enter merger negotiations that do not directly share a border.
The possibility for such negotiations would be limited to parishes with less than 5,000 residents between them, and they would also need the support of the local merger commission.
The committee also supported a change of the bill that would allow exceptions for parishes along the temporary control line (the section of the border subject to the treaty with Russia still to be ratified). A new parish along the temporary control line would not need to meet the minimum requirement for population size.
According to the administrative reform bill, parishes have until the end of the year to voluntarily enter merger negotiations. The goal is to have parishes with at least 11,000 residents, the minimum prescribed by the bill would be the current 5,000.
The government will allocate €80m in merger support payments. Parishes that don’t enter negotiations this year will be merged to meet the requirements by the government.
The Riigikogu’s second reading of the bill is set for May 11.