President of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Eiki Nestor said in his welcome speech to the Local Government Day Conference that he hoped the state would not remain far from the people as a result of administrative reform, and that there would be room for both the state power and the local power on the same boat.
“Especially now that there will be fewer local governments, the activities of local governments have to be open,” Nestor told the local government employees. In his opinion, today all decisions have to be made together with the people. “It is important that the state would not be far from the people.”
Nestor said that, for a long time already, he had been disturbed by the fact that there seemed to be not enough room for the state power and the local power on the same boat. “Protocol of disagreements attached to the state budget is not a sign of cooperation,” the President of the Riigikogu emphasised. He expressed hope that the local and state powers would not separate in the future, and that there would be no impression that they were pursuing different aims.
In Nestor’s opinion, the Riigikogu has had strong cooperation with the local governments, and it will remain strong also in the future. He recalled various reforms of recent history, during which the people involved had first been rebuked, and praised some years later. Nestor said that the local government reform was a great and important change in the society, and as always, there were issues that had to be improved and adjusted.
The conference, which was held at Kalev’s Sports Hall today, was opened by Chairman of the Local Governments and Regional Policy Support Group of the Riigikogu Aivar Kokk. The participants were also greeted by Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia Jüri Ratas.
The reports of the conference deal with the restoration of Estonian local governments and local government associations, and their role in shaping and developing the public administration of Estonia. Regional policy and the developments in the local governments sector are also spoken about. The conference will end with a panel discussion on the current situation and future of local government by the heads of the political parties represented in the Riigikogu. The day will end with a reception, where Vice-President of the Riigikogu Enn Eesmaa will deliver a speech.
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