On 10 June, the Latvian Parliament passed a municipal reform proposed by the Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development and leader of ALDE member Latvijas Attīstībai, Juris Pūce. The reform, entitled ‘Law on Administrative Territories and Populated Areas’ cuts down the number of Latvian municipalities from the current 119 to 42.
The municipal reform is a way to reduce existing inequalities between different municipalities in Latvia and improve their capacity and ability to provide comparable-quality services, an issue also referenced in the European Commission’s report about Latvia.
Minister Pūce commented on the reform: “Implementing this municipal reform, prompted by the need to reduce the growing inequality in the economic development of Latvia’s regions and to provide a set of quality municipal services to their residents, has been one of the key ideas in our electoral programme. Promises made – promises kept! I am happy about what we have achieved.
Reducing inequality is one of the most crucial tasks that both our party and alliance, as well as the government as a whole must handle. The goal of the municipal reform is to prevent the injustice of people being discriminated against because of where they live. No balanced regional development is possible without strong development centres; no quality education and social services are possible without sufficient tax income; no private investments and competitive salaries can be considered if there is no infrastructure. In implementing the municipal reform, our objective has been to provide more equal opportunities to all people living in Latvia, enabling them to receive good municipal services and an ability grow in their own region, regardless of where they live.”
Read more on the reform here (in Latvian)