RIGA - Latvia's administrative-territorial reform might need further adjustments in the next five to ten years, but this cannot be a pretext for not trying to make improvements already now, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) said in an interview with Latvian Television on Wednesday.
Commenting on the administrative-territorial reform project, which is currently making its way through Saeima and has drawn fierce criticism from several local governments, the prime minister said that the reform plan will never be liked by everyone, but that Latvia needs to move towards consolidation because it cannot afford to equally finance all 119 municipalities. "We just have to face the fact," the premier said.
Karins noted that discontent with the reform in some municipalities might be caused by various reasons - for some the reform might mean the necessity to look for a new job and others might feel an emotional attachment to a different administrative territory.
"It is necessary to keep talking to the people, but the reform will never satisfy everyone. Still, we need to go for the best solution," Karins said.
Asked if Saeima might make any further correction in the draft map of municipalities before its final reading in parliament, the prime minister said that many adjustments have already been made to the map, for instance, by creating a "reduced" region of Saulkrasti.
Karins did not deny that the administrative-territorial reform will be imperfect and that further adjustments might be needed in the next five to ten years, but stressed that "if we are to improve healthcare, education and social services we need to change".
Saeima is due to hold the second reading of the administrative-territorial reform bill this Thursday, and with more than 300 proposals submitted, the bill's adoption is expected to be a time-consuming process.