At today’s sitting, the Riigikogu passed two Acts that regulate the termination of the activities of county governments and the organisation of the cooperation of local authorities.
County governments will terminate their activities on 1 January 2018. The reorganisation of county governments will not eliminate counties as administrative units. Counties will remain units of state administration where the provision of the necessary state services is ensured for residents. At the same time, the functions of county governments will be distributed between local governments, ministries and other state authorities.
The Riigikogu approved with 89 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Government of the Republic Act and Other Acts, arising from the termination of the activities of county governments (432 SE), initiated by the Government, under which Estonian county governments will terminate their activities as of 1 January 2018. Under the Act, the organisation of the population procedures performed by county governments are transferred to local governments.
The Deputy Chairman of the state reform study committee and member of the Constitutional Committee Arto Aas said that the county governments reform had begun the previous year when an extensive state tasks analysis had been completed. It had shown that the role of county governments had changed over time so much that it was not reasonable to continue in the current way and the organisation of work had to be updated.
“Besides administrative reform, this is one of the most important governance reforms,” Aas said. “Today we can be happy that also the new Government coalition has decided to move on with the county governments reform and the Act was passed in the Riigikogu with a large majority. However, the Government still has to make serious efforts in order that the reforms entering into force as of the new year would be implemented smoothly.”
The Riigikogu approved with 77 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Local Government Organisation Act and Other Acts relating to the Implementation of Administrative Reform (433 SE), initiated by the Government, which transfers the organisation of public transport to local governments and the Road Administration.
The Chairman of the state reform study committee and member of the Constitutional Committee Ivari Padar said that the termination of the activities of county governments was part of the great state reform of Estonia. “Regarding several decisions relating to the termination of the activities of county governments, the impact needs additional analysis. The state reform study committee has set as its priority the assessment of the progress of administrative reform and the after-effects of the elimination of county governments,” Padar said.
The main tasks of county governments include organisation of public transport, supervision of educational institutions, issuing and supervision of activity licences in social affairs, land reform and acts relating to land, population procedures, and supervision and consultation of the administrative acts of local governments.
Both Acts enter into force on 1 January 2018.
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