RIGA – Half of Greater Riga municipalities are self-sufficient, while others do not have a distinctive development center, said Latvian Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Puce (For Development/For) in an interview with Latvijas Avize daily, when speaking about the territorial reform.
Riga is the development center for the other hald where people work, go shopping and go for entertainment and recreation, said the minister.
He said that experts are working on the criteria for formation of territories in Greater Riga. The model provides that each municipality should have a secondary school with at least 400-500 pupils. This criteria is met in Adazi, Marupe, Olaine, Kekava, Sigulda, Salaspils, but not in other Greater Riga municipalities.
The ministry is also considering other aspects, for example, some municipalities are joined in the sewage system with Riga, some are using services of Rigas Satiksme municipal public transport company. The ministry needs some three more weeks to come up with a structured proposal.
“The number of population will always be an important criteria in municipalities, but we will alo consider possibilities to ensure social services, education,” said Puce, adding that the distance to the regional center should be sensible – it should be reached within 40 minutes by public or private transport.
Puce underscored that the new territorial structure should reduce the economic difference among regions.