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Riga, 3 July 2020 - Today, Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Pūce (AP!) informed the Ministry of its future work on the implementation of administrative territorial reform. 

Minister Juris Pūce: “The responsibility of local governments in the new administrative territories, together with the vote of the Saeima on the adoption of the Law on Administrative Territories and Residential Areas, is to start joint work. . This reform provides an opportunity s. It is not only an opportunity for the country to strengthen the economy and reduce existing regional inequalities by improving the quality of services for citizens, but also the basis for other important reforms in areas where they have long been needed. . On the other hand, it is an opportunity for local governments to develop and grow responsibly and for the benefit of all citizens. I. In Latvia there will be local governments with strong development centres, they will have a sufficient tax base for the provision of local government services, such as education and social care services. . Similarly, municipalities will be powerful enough to attract investment and create new, well-paid jobs I. The move towards achieving these objectives is a joint work of local governments in the new administrative areas, but also the Ministry has provided for a number of support types so that the reform of municipalities is implemented as successfully as possible and citizens will be aware of the positive contribution of any reform in Latvia in the near future.

The Ministry has commenced work on the development of regulatory enactments related to local government reform. We have gathered that changes are needed in 65 laws and 121 Cabinet (BOM) regulations. In particular, the Ministry is working on the new Law on Local Governments, where mechanisms will be provided for ensuring the participation of the population - including the obligation for local governments to form population boards for the representation of the interests of local communities. . Such boards would be consultative and could examine matters of local interest, submit draft resolutions to the local government council, as well as participate in the adoption of a decision on the use of the local government participation budget.

The Ministry will also continue to work on a regulation that will determine the conditions for the status and functioning of the administrative regions created for the realisation of joint functions of State and local governments. . Discussions are ongoing on the tasks and functions to be carried out jointly by state and local governments in order to form a joint body between state and local authorities within the administrative regions s. In September, Ministry move forward a report on the concept of improving the functioning of the regions, which will address both the issue of regional functions and possible changes to regional border issues (NUTS 2 and NUTS 3).

By next year's municipal elections, municipalities have about a year to prepare for the merger process and develop their activities. . For this purpose, the Ministry has provided both financing for the development of municipality merger projects and planning documents, as well as a one-off grant to cover additional costs, as well as methodological support for local governments in the merger process and the organisation of management. s. The Ministry of Methodist Materials will develop up to this. g. for September, providing good practice guidelines for the organisation of municipal mergers, as well as for the provision of management in larger-sized municipalities.

At the same time, the Ministry shall develop the BOM rules for the development of the draft administrative structure of the local government and for the development of local government spatial planning documents. . The State budget provides funding for the start-up of new municipalities – 9,1 mil J. EUR to be allocated over a period of two years. In order to successfully start the new municipality in 2021, each municipality should develop a project of the new administrative structure. . National target grant for its development (total funding will 525 swell t. EUR, of which 70% of the co-financing is allocated in 2020, the remaining 30% in 2021). Average cost of one project is planned to 18.7 thousand . EUR. Similarly, the new municipalities need to develop projects for the spatial development planning documents – Sustainable Development Strategy and Development Programmes (total funding of 1.05 mil. J. EUR). Average cost of one project is planned to 33.8 thousand . EUR (50% of co-financing is allocated in 2020, 50% remaining in 2021). In 2021, municipalities will have access to a single national target grant to cover administrative costs incurred by municipalities in the merger (total funding of 7,1 mil. J. (EUR).

The reform of municipalities is one of the most important priorities of Minister Owl to establish municipalities with strong development centres that will provide greater opportunities for economic activity and better services for citizens regardless of residence. . THIS ONE. g. On 10 June, the Saeima adopted the Law on Administrative Territories and Residential Areas, which provides for the creation of 42 municipalities instead of the current 119 local governments. In order for the new municipal councils to start their work after the 2021 municipal elections, the next year will be dedicated to the implementation of the reform by taking the necessary measures to launch the new municipalities.

Infografika in the Annex.

Other information:
Agnese Vārpiņa 
Minister's Councillor for Communications and Public Relations
Ministry for Environmental Protection and Regional Development
Tel. 67026478