The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine announced the transition to a new decentralisation phase, that involves enshrining of the achievements and completion of capable hromadas’ formation process, change the territorial structure, clear demarcation of the powers and control functions of various levels of governance, as well as development the forms of local democracy, where residents can express their opinions on different issues on a constant basis, and not from elections to elections, said Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman, presenting the new action plan for the decentralisation reform by 2020.
The Head of Government stressed that most of the changes need to be enshrined in the Constitution, and it should be made promptly – in order to hold the local elections-2020 on a new legislative and territorial basis.
“The decentralisation reform is recognised as one of the most successful. By 2014, most governments favoured centralisation of power. And I know it firsthand, how difficult it was to develop cities, build roads. The system of state power was too centralised. Powers and funds were taken away from people and concentrated in the centre,” said Volodymyr Groysman. “Therefore, it was important to start systemic steps, that would allow to transfer powers and funds to the ground.”
As the Head of Government noted, in the course of 5 years – namely from 2014 to 2019, the Government together with the Parliament and the President succeeded in implementing the first phase of the reform. 876 capable hromadas have been formed in Ukraine, local budgets grew to almost UAH 234 billion. 1.5 million hectares of agricultural land have been transferred to AHs’ ownership.
“Now there is a need to enshrine what we have, and start a new phase, based on new decisions, to ensure the irreversibility of the reform,” noted the Prime Minister.
He explained that the new tasks include approval of the new territorial basis of the country – 100 capable rayons and 1600-1800 capable hromadas, consolidation of the financial self-sufficiency of local self-government, formation of an effective governance system, streamlining of the state control system, and avoidance of functions’ duplication.
“It is necessary to develop forms of direct democracy – to improve the electoral legislation and to build mechanisms for conducting local referendums, so that citizens have the opportunity to express their stance and make decisions not from elections to elections, but during their lifetime. People have to say their final word on various issues,” said the Prime Minister.
The Head of Government noted that the Government's vision for further decentralisation will be formulated in the proposals for amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine. Moreover, they need to be discussed and approved without unnecessary delays, as there is not so much time. “Amendments should be fixed in the Constitution. Otherwise, the system can be destroyed. And the constitutional process will provide guarantees for the development of local self-government,” said Volodymyr Groysman.
He also suggested that government officials engage not only in discussing proposals, but also in the implementation of all the tasks of the new phase of the decentralisation reform.
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