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The President of the Republic met with local government leaders of Pärnumaa

The President of the Republic familiarized himself with the Port of Pärnu The President of the Republic and Mrs Ingrid Rüütel today continued their visit to the County of Pärnumaa meeting in the morning with mayors of the county's rural municipalities and towns.

President Rüütel at the meeting said that Estonia should strive for a more efficient local government, which would become the deciding factor in the European Union and in using its structural funds for the implementation of Estonia's regional programmes. According to the President of the Republic, Estonia's long-time experience of local government and new goals should be fitted together and, for this purpose, it was inevitable to use also the knowledge of members of the President's Academic Council and Roundtable on Regional Development.

The Chairman of the Pärnu Association of Local Governments, Kuno Erkmann, opined that local governments were able meet their increasing obligations only if they had sufficient resources for that purpose. In Erkmann’s view, local governments so far were financed in the so-called "method of leftovers", and it was necessary to determine a fixed revenue base of local governments. Toomas Kivimägi, County Governor of Pärnumaa, supported that view suggesting that, for a stable development, local governments needed security, and, therefore, fixed appropriations were needed for each year. Kivimägi also expressed the view that the time was ripe for establishing county councils, which would rule out forced mergers of municipalities and expansion of functional governance.

Earlier in the morning, the President of the Republic had familiarized himself with the Port of Pärnu and the Pärnu College of the University of Tartu. Mrs Ingrid Rüütel at the Lydia Koidula Museum had met with cultural figures of the County of Pärnumaa.

Office of the President
Kadriorg, May 27, 2003

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