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Regional reform has not achieved the desired effect - Sprudzs

Gleb Vasiljev, BC, Riga,, 18.07.2012.Print version
The regional reform in Latvia has not achieved the desired effect, Regional Development and Local Government Affairs Minister Edmunds Sprudzs (Reform Party) admits in an interview with newspaper "Diena".

Edmunds Sprudzs.

"We still do not have regions that would have similar economic capacities, there is a real mess," says the minister.

Sprudzs says his vision of administrative and territorial division of Latvia includes Riga plus the provinces of Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Latgale and Zemgale, and districts within their previous borders. "Without forcing local governments to merge, we will nevertheless set certain goals that we should move toward," says the minister.

On the other hand, Maris Pukis, senior advisor to the chairman of the Association of Latvian Local Governments, says in an interview with Latvian State Television that no hasty conclusions should be made yet regarding the regional reform.

According to Pukis, the results of the reform have not been analyzed yet. The Local Governments Association believes that nothing should be changed for some time now. "Each area should be given a chance to try," says Pukis, comparing Latvia's regions to the countries in Europe. "There are small countries and there are large countries, and quite often the smaller countries are more successful. There is a good chance that the small regions may become very successful. They should be given an opportunity to work."

 The Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry previously said that it planned to carry out an analysis of the administrative and territorial reform in Latvia and, based on the results of the analysis, offer suggestions regarding the necessary changes. Data of the 2011 population census will also be taken into account during the analysis.

The reform was implemented in 2009, when 522 districts in Latvia were reformed into 109 regions plus nine cities. Later the number changed as Roja Region seceded from Mersrags Region, reported LETA.

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