New local councils: an ambitious agenda for cooperation with the EU
On November 27, an online discussion was held with the participation of representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament, the Government and Parliament of Ukraine, as well as the chairmen of the newly elected local councils. The event was organized by the National Interests Advocacy Network ANTS in cooperation with the European Parliament "EU Neighbourhood East Forum" and the Center "New Europe" within the project "Community Advocates" with the financial support of European Endowment for Democracy.
Opening the discussion, Andrius Kubilius, MEP, former Prime Minister of Lithuania, stressed that the next decade is important for Ukraine in the context of EU membership and success depends not only on Kyiv, but also on the regions of Ukraine. Hanna Hopko, Chairwoman of the National Interests Advocacy Network ANTS, noted that the mayors and deputies of local councils are drivers of European integration in Ukraine.
MEPs and representatives of the European Commission noted that decentralization reform is the most successful in Ukraine and that EU will continue to provide expert and financial support to local self-government, in particular, ULEAD with Europe program, Twinning programs and others. It can also be concluded that decentralization and the development of local self-government have equally strong support among representatives of various political groups in the European Parliament.
The representatives of the Government and Parliament of Ukraine highlighted the initiative of building a network of regional offices of European integration including the purpose of attracting investments on the ground. Such offices have already established in Kherson and Dnipro, the next ones will be opened in Poltava and Khmelnytskyi.
The newly elected local councils’ representatives drew attention to the main points, where the support of European Union is crucial. In particular, attracting investments for communities’ development, lending for infrastructure projects, development of the institutional capacity of the communities, establishing the projects under the European Green Deal, threats of Russian Federation influence on the border areas. It is extremely important to have a qualified team of English-speaking professionals in communities, who understand how to interact with various stakeholders including colleagues from the European Union.
Participants of the discussion:
Andrius Kubilius, Member of the European Parliament, former Prime Minister of Lithuania
Hanna Hopko, Chairwoman of the National Interests Advocacy Network ANTS, former Member of the Parliament of Ukraine, Head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada
Katarina Mathernova, Deputy Director-General for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Council
Michael GAHLER, Member of the European Parliament, Standing Rapporteur on Ukraine at the European Parliament
Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, Member of the European Parliament
Wlodzimierz Tsimoszewicz, Member of the European Parliament, Former Prime Minister of Poland
Petras Austrevicius, Member of the European Parliament, former Member of the Lithuanian Parliament
Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine
Vadym Halaychuk, Deputy Chairperson of Verkhovna Rada Committee on European Integration
Oleksiy Chernyshov, Minister for Development of Communities and Territories of Ukraine
Leonid Litra, Senior Research Fellow at the New Europe Center
Yuri Bova, mayor of Trostyanets, Sumy region
Oleksandr Sienkevych, mayor of Mykolaiv
Oleksandr Tretiak, mayor of Rivne
Volodymyr Shmatko, mayor of Chortkiv, Ternopil region
Yuliia Horodchanina, deputy of the city council of Poltava
Uliana Pak, deputy of the city council of Lviv
Oleksandr Lazuka, deputy of the city council of Lutsk
Vadym Haiev, mayor of Novopskov gromada, Luhansk region