Inter-Municipal Cooperation: Possibility for Advancing Local Democracy and Subsidiarity in Estonia

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Sulev Mäeltsemees Mikk Lõhmus Jüri Ratas


The local self-government system in Estonia is characterised by a notable fragmentation and low capability of smaller units to grant public services. Local-government reform has been a subject of discussion for two decades already, yet a meaningful consensus remains to be reached. The OECD report about the governance in Estonia has recommended developing cooperation between the local self-government entities, emphasizing that successful cooperation will serve as a prerequisite for a successful administrative reform later on. The present article analyses the legal bases of local self-government cooperation and administration practices in different countries, outlining also the limits of cooperation models as well as the restrictive factors for cooperation deriving from the Estonian legal area. The authors look into the possibilities for implementing compulsory cooperation in the Estonian legal area and offer some possible solutions for constructing successful cooperation models.

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