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Saeima discusses Environmental Ministry’s proposed territorial reform

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOn Tuesday, 6 October, Saeima’s Public Administration and Local Government Committee met with Environmental, Protection and Regional Development Minister Kaspars Gerhards to discuss the ministry’s developed concept regarding a new administrative and territorial division.

‘The ministry presented a detailed evaluation of the realized administrative and territorial reform and offered options to improve the municipal system. There are many questions about those options. If one of the options is chosen as appropriate, municipalities will be invited for talks before any decisions are made,’ – said Chairman of the parliamentary committee Sergei Dolgopolov during the meeting.

One of the ministry’s proposed solutions provides for the implementation of a model with 49 municipalities and current nine republican towns by 2021.

The second option offers creating 29 territories around national and regional development centres. It would provide municipalities an opportunity to merge freely to work together and provide residents with a range of services. The ministry offers realizing this initiative with amendments to the Administrative Territories and Populated Areas Law, which are currently in the process of review in the Saeima.

During discussions of the ministry’s proposal, deputies noted that the planned changes should be coordinated with the country’s regional division. It is also important to consider cultural-historic aspects of proposed territorial changes. Deputies also asked questions about the role of currently planned regions in the realization of the reform, as reported by Saeima press-service.

Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Kaspars Gerhards emphasized during the meeting that the ministry’s objective was to assess results of the 2009 municipal reform and offer proposals for a better municipal system. The minister reported that the project is submitted for discussions. It is planned that an agreement regarding the most appropriate option will be reached within one month in the Cabinet of Ministers.

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