Estonia Unitary state


The territorial organization in Estonia, based on the 1992 Constitution, has not undergone any change since the beginning of the economic and financial crisis.

The country, which consists of 193 rural municipalities and 33 cities, has not experienced any significant change in its territorial organisation, even if a discussion of the possibility of merging municipalities was held several years ago. Estonia also has 15 administrative counties.

The Ministry for Regional Affairs is currently planning a new reform which should be implemented by 2017, but no draft has been presented yet.

As for finances, Estonian municipalities and cities have experienced limited budgetary restrictions on account of the economic and financial crisis. Intermunicipal cooperation exists on a limited scale.

Local self-government in Estonia:

There have been some changes in recent years affecting the autonomy of the country’s municipalities, the most important are the budgetary restrictions but also mayor interventions on the field of education. Furthermore, a draft legislation was introduced to limit local autonomy in the field of waste collection. However Estonian legislation takes the European Charter of Local Self-Government fairly well into account.


  • Estonia’s system of local government, based on the 1992 constitution, remained unchanged following the economic and financial crisis.
  • However, a number of reforms have been enacted since 2008:
    • Limited budget cuts
    • Restriction of mayors’ powers over education affairs
    • Plans to limit local independence on waste collection
  • 2016: territorial reform intending to merge 11 communes into a single entity by 2018