bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Saturday 19.10.2019 | Name days: Drosma, Drosmis, Elīna
LatviaLatvia

Latvian government greenlights continuation of territorial reform

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

In spite of objections from many municipalities, Latvia’s government decided on Tuesday, 17 September, to support Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry to reduce the number of existing municipalities from 119 to 36 and allowed the ministry to continue efforts for the implementation of the territorial reform.

The ministry is entrusted with the task of developing and submitting to the government a legislative draft by 21 November on the new division of Latvia’s territories. According to Saeima’s decision, the legislative draft is to be submitted to the parliament for review by 1 December.

During discussions a number of representatives from municipalities criticized the ministry’s report. For example, representatives of Rūjiena municipality and businessmen criticized the decision to add Rūjiena to Valka, not Valmiera, with which Rūjiena has closer economic relations.

Iecava municipality’s representative criticized the idea of Iecava joining Bauska, which is not as economically developed as Iecava.

Latvian Association of Local Governments (LPS) representative Māris Pūķis said the ministry’s prepared solution is dissatisfying because it does not cover residents’ opinion about the reform. On top of that, topics important for the residents – schools, kindergartens, public transport residents – are ignored, adding there are no mechanisms to help resolve these matters.

Defece Minister Artis Pabriks stressed that if the government does not start the territorial reform now, it could be postponed for 20 years. The minister urged to start the reform without hesitation. Municipalities, on the other hand, are invited to present proposals to improve their work as part of the new reform.

Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš thanked Environment Minister Juris Pūce for the report, considering it was not a simple task.

Pūce thanked his partners who participated in the reform’s development process. He stressed that the development process of the administrative territorial reform was transparent – all opinions and arguments were heard.

The minister also reported that it is planned to develop a legislative draft for the administrative territorial reform within a month.

According to Pūce, approval of the conceptual report is an important affirmation that the ministry has performed the task given by government and the Saeima and has presented a territorial division model that allows municipalities to perform their functions ten years from now.

‘We have consulted with municipalities, society and social partners. We have taken into account argumeted proposals and data to form a territorial division model that reduces the existing inequality among municipalities. Additionally, municipalities will have the capacity to implement projects aimed at development.’ We are looking in a long-term perspective and the reform is Latvia’s opportunity,’ said the minister.

The ministry reminds that 59 of the 119 municipalities do not meet the requirements of the Law on Local Governments.

The ministry notes that in spite of population numbers, all municipalities have equal functions. However, many smaller municipalities are unable to perform all functions outlined in the law, which causes inequality to continue increasing. Administrative costs vary from 50 to 200 euros per capita. Only in 28 municipalities, costs account for less than 7% of their budget.

104 out of 119 municipalities receive grants from the municipal equalization fund and 57 of municipalities are able to provide jobs to more than 40% of their residents of working age, the ministry estimates.

It is planned that by implementing the reform this inequality will be reduced and residents’ access to residents will be improved, as will municipalities’ capacity to attract investments for infrastructure and business development.

The ministry stresses that the new administrative model was develop as a result of assessing population dynamics, mobility and service use habits, as well as after receiving data-based proposals after consulting with municipalities. Received proposals were taken into account in the development of a conceptual report, the ministry notes.

Between May and August Pūce met with experts and deputies of 114 municipalities. Approximately 50 meetings with local communities, residents, business organizations, other NGOs and social partners were held, the ministry explains.

At the same time, the ministry continues listening to society’s proposals. Meetings with residents will continue until May 2020.

Following the territorial reform, Daugavpils will become the second largest municipality population-wise after Riga. Līvāni will become the smallest.

Alūksne, Valka, Balva, Preiļi and Smiltene will become Latvia’s smallest municipalities after the reform. Each of them will have less than 20 000 residents.

Territory-wise the largest municipalities will include Liepāja, Madona and Jēkabpils, whereas the smallest will include Jūrmala, Salaspils and Mārupe.

The reform will not affect seven municipalities – Rīga, Jūrmala, Alūksne, Gulbene, Līvāni, Olaine and Salaspils.


Leave a reply

  1. Justs says:

    Soon 2 regions: Riga, Not Riga.

Ventspils rushes to extend Lembergs’ mandate in freeport

The Ventspils City Council has summoned an emergency sitting to decide on the extension of the mandate in the board of the Ventspils Freeport Administration to suspended Mayor Aivars Lembergs, as well as Jānis Vītolņš, Didzis Ošenieks and Guntis Blumbergs, according to information seen by the BNN.

Estonian pension reform expected later in 2019

The pension reform of Estonia should be adopted later this year to start it in 2021, believes Estonian Social Affairs Minister, who has pointed out that the country’s ruling coalition has reached an agreement on the core issues of the reform.

Latvian minister: Less than half of Latvian nationals in UK have applied for residence

Latvian nationals in the UK should take into consideration different scenarios possible after Brexit and to protect themselves they should register their place of permanent residence with the British Home Office, said the Latvian Foreign Minister to Latvijas Radio.

Verdict in Latvenergo bribery case enters into force with prison sentences

A Latvian court ruling in one of the bribe-taking cases of state energy producer Latvenergo has entered into force. According to the verdict, prison sentences have been given to Latvenergo’s former vice-president, its former director of production and the head of the firm Energy Consulting.

Latvian football loses its head as Gorkšs ousted from federation chair

The turbulent Latvian Football Federation (LFF) has voted in an emergency meeting to remove its president Kaspars Gorkšs from office.

Latvian top companies by value – Latvenergo and Latvijas valsts meži

Energy producer Latvenergo, forestry company Latvijas valsts meži and computer network equipment maker Mikrotīkls had topped the list of the Top 101 Latvian companies, compiled annually by Nasdaq Riga and Prudentia.

Turkey agrees to pause its intervention in Syria for five days

Turkey, Kurdish SDF forces and the U.S. have reached an agreement to introduce a five-day ceasefire to allow Kurdish forces to retreat from the Turkish-Syrian border.

High-ranking Latvian policeman detained over bribery

The Latvian Internal Security Bureau (IDB) has detained on suspicion of bribery three persons: the deputy chief of the Public Order Police Bureau of the Latgale Regional Administration of the State police and two private individuals, including one former policeman.

Saeima greenlights opening of regional gas market

The Latvian Saeima has on Thursday, October 17, adopted amendments aimed at removing obstacles to the creation of a regional gas market and ensuring the functioning of the joint Latvian, Finnish and Estonian tariff system from January 1, 2020.

Lithuanian President Nausėda‘s 100 days in office: nothing messed up, communication improved

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda is marking this week the first hundred days of presidency. Both his supporters and ready-to-bite analysts agree than he has not messed up things, although some frown at his conformity with the Farmers and Greens Union-orchestrated Seimas and the Government.

Fragile, new Brexit deal reached between EU and UK

In the European Union’s negotiations on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, a new agreement has been reached on the day a decisive EU summit commenced in Brussels.

Court proceedings of Lembergs could restart only in 2020

The Riga Regional Court ruled on Thursday, October 17, that the lawyer of criminally-accused Latvian politician Aivars Lembergs has been given until January 2020 to read the materials of the case.

Latvia decides: Non-citizen children to receive citizenship from 2020

The Latvian parliament passed in the final reading on Thursday, October 17, the draft law that sets forth granting citizenship to new-born children of the non-citizens of Latvia.

Drugstores should focus on health care over money-making, Estonian Minister says

As Estonia is working on a pharmacy regulation reform aimed at reducing the influence of drug wholesalers on pharmacies, Estonian Social Affairs Minister Tanel Kiik has said pharmacy services ought to be focused on healthcare instead of business.

Confiscated EUR 29 mln: Latvia waiting for evidence from Ukraine

As Ukraine seeks to recover from Latvia 29 million euros that have been confiscated by a Latvian court, Ukraine has to provide evidence as it has promised to do, according to Latvian President Egils Levits.

E-commerce for prison inmates considered in Estonia

Estonian prisoners could be allowed to buy products using rather than using current prison shops, such is the option considered at the country’s Centre of Registers and Information Systems.

Riga to keep cooperating with ticket servicing firm, allocating EUR 20.6 mln

Rīgas satiksme, the transport company of the Latvian capital, will not terminate cooperation with SIA Rīgas karte, meaning that the population would pay 20.6 million euros for it.

Video: Evacuation in Lithuania amid fire at tyre recycling plant

Alytus in southern Lithuania was hit by a cloud of black smoke from a fire at a large tyre recycling plant. A hospital nearby has been evacuated.

Von der Leyen’s commission postponed after three commissioner candidates rejected

The next European Commission is to begin its term in office later than expected as the November 1 coronation has been postponed so that three member states could offer new candidates to replace a trio rejected by the European Parliament.

Probing infections in Latvia, salmonella found in meat from Poland

As infection outbreaks in Latvia are under investigation, laboratory tests showed salmonella bacteria in Polish-origin poultry samples taken from SIA Gaļsaimnieks.

Germany to allow Huawei equipment on 5G networks

The Chinese tech giant Huawei will not be banned from the 5G mobile networks in Germany as Berlin stated it wants to create «a level playing field» for vendors.

OECD: Bribery prevention results in Latvia disproportionate to cross-border risks

Latvia’s results in fighting bribery are still disproportionate with the risks of cross-border bribery and money laundering the country is subjected to, says the Working Group on Bribery of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

In pictures: Ukrainian President Zelenskiy in Latvia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the Ukrainian first lady made an official visit to Latvia on Wednesday, October 16.

airBaltic not planning to cancel flights with Airbus A220

airBaltic does not plan to reduce its flights with the Airbus A220-300 plane, after Swiss International Air Lines decided to do this being concerned over the aircraft’s engine problems, according to a statement of the Latvian airline on social media.

PM Kariņš recommends spending confiscated EUR 29 mln as single investment

Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš has recommended the 29 million euros confiscated by the Riga Regional Court for being criminally-acquired to be spent on a one-off investment, according to an interview to LNT programme 900 sekundes.