Phase two of administrative reform to start

With the arrival of the New Year, phase one – the self-initiative phase – drew to its close, giving way to the government-initiated mergers phase. During phase two, a merger proposal is made to local authorities that are not meeting the relevant criteria as of today.


“My compliments to all those that have already made their decision to merge. I think phase one of the administrative reform can be said to have been successful as nearly 80 per cent of local authorities made the decision to merge on their own initiative,” said Minister of Public Administration Mihhail Korb. “I am also happy to note that a number of local authorities included their plans for the future in the merger documents which means that merging parties largely focused on their own future and development.”

Phase two of the administrative reform prescribes that within the month of January regional committees are to provide the government with an overview of local authorities that do not meet the criterion of 5,000 residents. Thereafter, on February 15, the government proposes a merger to such local authorities. Local authorities can present their own opinion on the governmental proposal through May 15. After that, the government makes the final decision.

160 local authorities out of 213 decided to merge on their own initiative. Based on this interim result, 100 local authorities remain; following phase two, this number is estimated to drop to 75. Four merging parties will continue as cities/towns: Pärnu, Haapsalu, Paide, and Narva-Jõesuu. Of the four, Pärnu boast the highest number of residents – more than 50,000 - and the largest surface area –594 km2. Saaremaa rural municipality will stand as the rural municipality with the highest number of residents – 32,000.

In connection to the administrative reform, during the previous year alone, more than 100 discussions, seminars, and information days were held in various local authorities and in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance. Said events had a total of approximately 4,000 participants. During the relevant time period, 1,535 pages of instructive materials have been produced, incl. recommendations by regional committees and expert assessments, and officials organizing meetings have traveled a total of 15,000 kilometers.

Current status of the administrative reform in figures (for more detailed information see attachment):

Merger decisions by 12 regions and 47 local authorities approved by government

Merger agreement approved by municipal councils in 35 regions and 113 local authorities

Application for a derogation filed by 4 maritime island municipalities (Muhu, Vormsi, Kihnu, Ruhnu)

26 local authorities do not meet the relevant criterion and are not included in negotiations

23 local authorities exceed the 5,000 resident criterion without having to merge


Administrative reform objectives and time schedule (in Estonian):


Ministry of Finance
Press release

January 3, 2017

Karel Hanni 
Avalike suhete osakond
tel 611 3119, 5557 5270
karel dot hanni at fin dot ee | Endla 13, 10122 Tallinn |