County governments to be abolished effective Jan. 1, 2018 ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Map of Estonia's counties.
Map of Estonia's counties. Source: (Archive)

The government decided in its cabinet meeting on Thursday to abolish all county governments effective Jan. 1, 2018. Their tasks will be distributed among local councils as well as different existing authorities.

Minister of Public Administration Mihhail Korb (Center) said that the way regional administration is organized needed to be changed. The amount of tasks assigned to the county governments was small, and with the ongoing administrative reform would shrink even more.

The larger and stronger municipalities produced by the implementation of the Administrative Reform Act would take over all the county governments’ local tasks, the press office of the Ministry of Finance confirmed. State-level matters would be dealt with by existing offices in the jurisdiction of the different ministries.

“With the reform of the county governments we increase decision-making competency at the local level, bring clarity to the distribution of tasks among government institutions, and avoid duplication between authorities,” Korb said. He added though that the counties would remain administrative subdivisions of the country.

No essential services currently in the responsibility of the county governments would be lost, the minister added. The quality of services would become more even and more easily available at the county level, while local coverage was up to the municipalities.

The government found that local councils could take up the coordination of development work as well as county-level planning among themselves. Their cooperation would have to concern the areas of registers, cultural tasks, and public transport as well.

What would remain up to the ministries to deal with were supervision in different sectors, coordination, matters relating to land ownership and the cadaster, setting up local development plans, and all planning related to state-level projects.

The task of scaling back and eventually closing the county governments was assigned to the Ministry of Finance, which will submit a schedule to the government in March this year.

Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn

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