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President Ilves: now is the time for all of us to be accountable


“Many local governments are already, or will soon be, facing an inevitable reduction in their revenues, and this will mean that they have an obligation to govern even more wisely,” President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said at the Local Government and Regional Development Roundtable that convened last week.

“This will require greater cooperation between local governments, more deliberation in making investment decisions, and placing the needs of the region ahead of the needs of a single local government,” the Head of State said.

In this connection, he also called on local governments to make carefully weighed decisions, the consequences of which beyond the boundaries of a single rural municipality or city must be considered. “This is related, for instance, to the merger of local governments and the organization of the school network,” he said.

“When the budgets of local governments decrease and state support also declines, the pace of investments must be slowed and great prudence exercised in taking additional loans,” President Ilves stressed.

According to the Head of State, when unemployment increases it is important that local governments help those who have lost their jobs to find new opportunities, which means a need for training assistance as well as both moral and financial support.

“Hopefully we have all now become seers,” President Ilves said speaking about the global financial crisis and its effects on the Estonian economy. “There is no point in discussing who realized the severity of the crisis first and when they did so. Our challenge today is to demonstrate wisdom in making the decisions required for us to reach a surer footing as soon as possible.”

President Ilves confirmed that the parliament and the government, as well as local governments, are responsible for making the correct decisions.

“We cannot push responsibility on anyone else, because now is the time for all of us to be accountable,” the Head of State to the local government leaders.

Minister of the Environment Jaanus Tamkivi also addressed the Local Government and Regional Development Roundtable, speaking about the reorganizations in the field of nature and environmental protection, and providing an overview of the progress of land reform and the financing of Euro-projects.

The President’s Roundtable on Local Government and Regional Development consists of representatives of the county local-government associations and their umbrella organisations. The function of the roundtable is to formulate recommendations for the President of the Republic in questions related to regional development.


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