The Association’s objective is that, in 2017, as many Finnish municipalities as possible will be strong municipalities that can ensure the provision of welfare services and can create prerequisites for increased vitality and implementation of democracy within the municipality. However, the Association considers that the pivotal factor is recognition of regional differences. The capital Helsinki and its neighbouring municipalities, urban regions and other regions need slightly different versions of the strong municipality.
Helsinki and its neighbouring municipalities are an exception among all other municipal structures, and the Association believes that their situation should be examined separately.
In urban regions, the objective is to create strong municipalities based on functional entities. Municipalities should consist of commuter areas or other entities that have the necessary economic and human resources for providing and financing services.
In regions where the establishment of a strong municipality is not feasible, municipalities could join forces to create district municipalities. Resting on a sufficient population base, district municipalities could serve as cooperation bodies between municipalities, which would use the same organisation to carry out more tasks.
Alongside the introduction of new municipal structures, the number of municipalities, as well as the number of various cooperation arrangements, would decrease markedly. At the start of 2011, Finland had 336 municipalities.
The Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities also wants to strengthen the option of setting up municipal administration in various sub-areas, if the municipality so wishes. The aim of municipal administration for sub-areas would be to ensure local channels for influence in municipalities that are growing increasingly large.
In the Association’s opinion, the new Local Government Act, including the models for municipal structures, should be in use during the local election term starting in 2017. The New Municipality 2017 programme supports the development of new municipal structures.