What is common between the Veselivska AH and Estonian city of Rakvere, Shyrokivska AH and German city of Barleben, Chemerovetska AH and the city of Zarasai?
These hromadas have been working closely together for a year to implement joint development projects. This became possible due to the Peer-to-Peer Initiative, supported by the EU Committee of the Regions, MinRegion and the U-LEAD with Europe Programme.
The Kharkiv Oblast and Wielkopolska Region (Poland), Khmelnytskyi Oblast and Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg (Hungary) also cooperate as part of the initiative.
The results of the initiative implementation and further plans have been discussed today within the framework of the 6th meeting of the Committee of the Regions – Ukraine Task Force on decentralisation, which is being held in Brussels and chaired by Markku Markkula, Vice-President of the EU Committee of the Regions, and Vyacheslav Nehoda, First Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine.
Ukrainian hromadas, together with the European partners, worked on the development of educational and cultural space, energy efficiency, small and medium-sized business, tourism and rural development. Study trips, internships, expert support in identifying specific projects and their further implementation are the main components of bilateral cooperation. Both parties were satisfied with the results.
“Due to joint projects, we will be able to extend European borders and strengthen the EU position, spread democratic values and best practices in Europe. Working together with the EU Committee of the Regions, we want to focus more on the exchange of best practices in the field of local and regional development and strengthening of territorial cooperation,” said Vyacheslav Nehoda.
According to him, the tools of inter-municipal cooperation are actively developing in Ukraine. Today, 1262 local communities use this tool, having concluded more than three hundreds of cooperation agreements. This suggests that Ukrainian communities are trying to use modern methods and means of cooperation, solve problem issues.
At the same time, as the First Deputy Minister emphasised, Ukraine seeks to expand opportunities for the practical implementation of the best world experience.
“Due to decentralisation 878 hromadas have been formed through voluntary amalgamation. They have powers, resources and active citizens who seek to make the most of their potential and build partnerships with the European partners. Strengthening of local democracy and civil society development will help implement reforms in partner countries. We face many challenges, but it is impossible to build a strong and prosperous state without capable local self-government, and the way of decentralisation of power and implementation of athe relevant reform in Ukrainian experience is one of the most effective. To perform the tasks, it is necessary to use the knowledge and resources of our countries as actively as possible,” added Vyacheslav Nehoda.
The First Deputy Minister expressed gratitude to the European and Ukrainian participants of the Peer-to-Peer Initiative, as well as to the U-LEAD with Europe Programme, that supported the joint initiative of Ukraine and the EU Committee of the Regions and launched new important projects.
He also expressed his wish to introduce this Initiative on a regular basis.
“The ongoing negotiations between Ukraine and the EU have shown that the philosophy and format of the initiative are fully in line with the planned tasks of the second phase of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme. We need to focus on practical projects. Study visits and internships abroad are important, but formation of a powerful know-how base, where some hromadas set goals and others are ready to help in their implementation, can bring much more benefit. That is how we can build a strong and successful democratic society,” said Vyacheslav Nehoda.
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