Newspaper: Meremäe parish council hinders establishment of unified Seto parish
Six members of the electoral alliance Koduvald on the Meremäe Parish Council have not agreed to begin merger talks with Värska Parish, which has caused the proposed creation of a unified Seto Parish from the four current members of the Union of Setomaa Parishes, or Meremäe, Mikitamäe, Värska and Misso Parishes, to grind to a halt.
Estonian daily Postimees reported that the representatives of Koduvald have considered merging with Vastseliina, Orava and Misso Parishes, however such a merger would not be permissible under the new administrative reform law.
Meremäe Parish Council Chairman and Koduvald members Mihhail Link and Helgi Metsik would not comment on the subject, however councilmen Rein Nikitin and Arno Vares justified their position primarily based on the fact that there was no such thing as Seto County; that there was only the former Petseri County (currently in large part the Pechorsky District of Russia's Pskov Oblast).
Vares was in favor of the idea of establishing a larger Suur-Võru region, as according to the councilman, many area residents travel to Võru County to run daily errands, and so life has essentially done the work of the administrative reform already. Nikitin also noted that the majority of Meremäe residents have also expressed a desire to merge with the Võru region specifically.
According to the new administrative reform law passed in June, the minimum required population size for an independent parish will be raised to 5,000, with a recommended minimum of 11,000, however exceptions will be made for the mergers of culturally connected parishes, such as the small Seto-region parishes of Värska, Mikitamäe, Misso and Meremäe, in which case the required minimum number of residents would be lowered to 3,500.