teisipäev, aprill 29, 2008

a simpler estonia?

A recent trend in the Nordic countries is municipal reform. Denmark took the lead in 2007 by reducing Denmark's 13 counties to 5 regions.

Not to be outdone, Sweden also plans on reducing their counties system in favor of larger regions by 2015. As typical in the Nordic countries, Iceland has ignored the developments in Denmark while Finland hasn't even heard of them yet.

I find it a bit amusing that when the Estonians restored their state, they didn't restore their old county system. The current Estonian state has 15 counties, whereas the state in the 1920s and 1930s had 11 counties, one of which, Petserimaa, has since been stolen/annexed/ceded to Russia.

Does it really make sense to have a Lääne and Ida Virumaa county? How about just one "Virumaa", as it is still called by Estonians. Does Jõgevamaa serve any purpose? Shouldn't we just add some of the smaller bits to the larger ones and give the regions more power in implementing governmental reforms?

I'd like to think that Estonia was capable of pulling off such a reform if it so desired. But don't count on it. Estonian politicians would prefer to argue over the ostentatious võidusamba instead.

15 kommentaari:

Hansken ütles ...

This discussion is in fact very much ongoing. See: http://www.postimees.ee/220408/esileht/arvamus/325448.php

I personally don't see much point in Jõgevamaa, despite the fact that I know it rather well (my mother is originally from there). Or maybe because of it.

The point in Põlvamaa could be questioned too.

Locals could also comment the perspectives of merging Valga- and Võrumaa.

Ain Kendra ütles ...

On other hand - can you imagine that Estonia could be of 16 municipalities (or smth like that)? And the smaller units are actually as villages?
Small example - Rapla county, but Rapla city merged long ago with neighboring Rapla municipality. This way actually Tallinn eats up all small neighbours around up to Keila what will be alike to Maardu, part of Tallinn city.
Jõgeva and surrounding is logical choice. In Tartu I do not see a trouble, but in Ida-Viru with all these russian-populated 'cities' - merging them into single Virumaa municipality may be difficult.

A little more fantasy and at least something will come true - if you don't dream nothing happens

*uri ütles ...

In my opinion the county in Estonia is quite non-existing body anyway. There isnt really much it does and luckily it doesnt employ many people either.
So in my opinion, it is much more important to do away with the 227 municipalities - many of which only serve as places of employment.

antyx ütles ...

Iceland has ignored the developments

Iceland has 300 thousand people, and 200 thousand of them live in Greater Reykjavik. There isn't really much scope for consolidation there.

Giustino ütles ...

Iceland has 300 thousand people, and 200 thousand of them live in Greater Reykjavik. There isn't really much scope for consolidation there.

I see your point. You could have two municipalities: Reykjavik and non-Reykjavik.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, actually Finland abolished most of the provinces already in the 90's and now there is a far reaching municipal reform going on. I'm not a whole hearted supporter of this process (being a kind of Burkean after all) - I don't think that any human activity should be completely rationalized, so it is quite nice to see how stubbornly Estonia seems to be holding on to old boundaries. (Though only for a time, I'm afraid - why should you be different...)

Unknown ütles ...

Merging Lääne- and Ida-Virumaa? I don't know, I'm from Lääne-Virumaa, a lot of the government stuff already moved to Jõhvi for no reason. I wouldn't like to see the mostly Estonian Lääne-Virumaa merged with the primarily Russian Ida-Virumaa and then the centre moved to Jõhvi or Kohtla-Järve or smth. That wouldn't work out either. Why should people from Rakvere go to Jõhvi? It would be more logical to go to Tallinn.

Ain Kendra ütles ...

Even if distance to Tallinn is around 100 km while Jõhvi sits at 50

Giustino ütles ...

I think Rakvere was the capital of Virumaa. Not sure.

Kristopher ütles ...

I thought counties were largely symbolic. I know municipalities (vallad and linnad) do stuff like draw up detailed plans, and the job of the state level is, among other things, to meddle in the business of the municipalities, but what are counties for? I should know, but I don't. I think each county has a circuit court?

Jõgevamaa (Vooremaa) has too much of a geographical identity to be sacrificed.

Ida-Virumaa is "Alutaguse", which is a separate historical region. I don't think getting rid of it would go over well.

I say can Raplamaa, to me it always seems a little wishful, like Keilamaa. Läänemaa is poor and unpopulated, maybe it could annex Raplamaa. (Sorry, people from Raplamaa.)

Kristopher ütles ...

says that Vironia at the beginning of the 13th century had five parishes, none of which covered Rakvere.

Rakvere parish was one of a couple medieval-era additions, in 1400- something.

So Jõhvi's seems to be the older connection to Virumaa. Rakvere may have been a more important peripheral fort like Narva that wasn't originally in it.

Ain Kendra ütles ...

Yesh, Rapla is already made from bits and pieces from all neighbours - Harju, Lääne, Järva and also Pärnu!
One is clear, our over 200 municipalities is way too much.
Municipality can be of at least 10,000 population. But only 13 cities and 2 municipalities are over that ceiling at all !!! 804.000 pop.
From the rest, 29 account for 5 to 10 thousand but 192,000 pop from there.
146,000 pop is from 1000 to 5000 size group of 146 municipalities
And 36 municipalities of 26,000 pop altogether are under 1000 population.

Well, my understanding is that while the first group survives, second group joins with some smallers - we get of 44 units. But here the sustainability ends. No hope for such where size is under 5000 - only within bigger one..
And those of under 1000 are really lost.
So something from 44 to let's say 60 can be expected maximum.

Giustino ütles ...

It seems a bit dumb to me that the vanausulised villages are divided between Jõgevamaa and Tartumaa. It is also kind of odd that the Setu villages are spread between Võrumaa and Põlvamaa. If you are trying to build regional identity and tourism, that is kind of counterproductive.

Ain Kendra ütles ...

Yeah speaking of Setu we will directly go to next step, border issues on Petserimaa...

Unknown ütles ...

Even if distance to Tallinn is around 100 km while Jõhvi sits at 50

Jõhvi is more like 70km.