On 6 November, the Chernivtsi Local Government Development Centre hosted a meeting with Annika Weidemann, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine. The topic of the conversation concerned the development of amalgamated hromadas with polyethnic population. Therefore, the leaders of the Mamalyhivska, Novoselytska and Volokivska AHs as well as representatives of the South-Western Hub of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme, took part in the discussion.
Meetings with the Chernivtsi Oblast’s hromadas were preceded by Ms. Weidemann’s visit to the Odesa Oblast, having a rather diverse ethnic composition of the population as well. Therefore, the main goals of communication with individual hromadas in these regions is to identify mechanisms and tools for establishing an atmosphere of mutual understanding and cooperation between different ethnic groups in hromadas. This, in turn, opens opportunities for the socio-economic development of territories. The EU representative noted that decentralisation blurs disagreements between different regions of Ukraine.
“You can usually hear that something is better in the eastern or western part of the country. But, speaking with representatives of amalgamated hromadas, I can say that there is no such division,” said Annika Weidemann.
The heads of AHs of the Chernivtsi Oblast, present at the meeting, were unanimous in their opinion that nationality, ethnicity or language-related issues are not conflict-raising in their hromadas. “I do not understand the issue of problems based on ethnicity, language or religion. We can have questions about infrastructure, services, but not ethnicity. I do not know a single person in the villages of our hromada, who does not speak the state Ukrainian language, as well as those, who do not speak Romanian. The whole official section is conducted in Ukrainian, and among themselves people communicate in the language they prefer and it is mostly Romanian,” commented Valentyn Hlopina, head of the Volokivska AH. There are also no ethnicity-related problems in the Mamalyhivska AH, according to its head Arkadiy Shova.
As for the Novoselytska hromada, here they did not aim to form a hromada on the basis of an ethnic principle from the very beginning of amalgamation: “The basis of our AH formation was not an ethnic principle. We have tried to form the hromada that has prospects for development and creates conditions for each settlement to feel better in AH than aside it,” emphasised Maria Nikorych, head of the Novoselytska AH. Hromadas’ polyethnicity has also assisted them to successfully establish cross-border cooperation and implement international projects, stressed Tetyana Tatarchuk, director of the Chernivtsi LGDC. She noted: “These hromadas are unique in that they have been able to spread the traditions of common life of different ethnicities for partnership development. And this has resulted, at least, in successful implementation of cross-border projects by AHs. For example, Novoselytsia has been practicing it since 2009”.
Громади:Новоселицька міська об’єднана територіальна громада Мамалигівська сільська об’єднана територіальна громада Волоківська сільська об’єднана територіальна громада
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