Council of Europe to continue support for decentralisation in Ukraine, - results of meeting between Vyacheslav Nehoda and Daniel Popescu

The Council of Europe highly appreciates the results of decentralisation in Ukraine and will continue to provide support in developing legislation required to continue the reforms.

Vyacheslav Nehoda, First Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine, made this statement after his meeting with Daniel Popescu, head of the II Democratic Governance Directorate General of the Council of Europe, and Special Advisor to the Government of Ukraine on Decentralisation.

According to Vyacheslav Nehoda, representatives of the Council of Europe are ready to participate in the working group set up to develop the draft laws of Ukraine “On Local Self-Governance in Ukraine” and “On Local State Administrations”. Also, if the members of the Verkhovna Rada approve the draft law “On the Principles of the Administrative and Territorial Order of Ukraine” as a bases for the final law, European experts will help prepare it for the second reading.

“We hope that draft law No. 8051 will be on the agenda of the Verkhovna Rada again and that the members of the Verkhovna Rada will vote for it. After that, we expect much work, since this draft law requires a number of by-laws. Also, we have to adjust it to the current legislation as well as finalize it, if amendments are made to the Constitution of Ukraine concerning decentralisation. Thus, in the course of the preparation of this draft law to the second reading we will need professional and legal expertise that we also expect to receive from the experts of the Council of Europe,” said the First Deputy Minister.

The Council of Europe is also ready to participate in trainings for lawyers and judges concerning the legislation on the amalgamation and incorporation of hromadas.

“In the period from 2016 until 2018 we saw 48 attempts to stop the legally flawless decisions of local councils on amalgamation through the court. Unfortunately, in ten cases our opponents succeeded. Thus, we cannot be confident yet that the proper law application is already established in Ukraine and that judges have enough knowledge about the voluntary amalgamation and incorporation of hromadas. Obviously, it is hard to sort out everything straightaway and to understand all innovations. That is why we do need trainings for lawyers and judges at this stage of the reform,” Vyacheslav Nehoda said.

He also reminded that a monopoly would enter into force for the legal representation of state interests and the interests of local self-governments in courts by lawyers starting from 1 January 2020. Due to this, special attention must be paid in trainings to the interaction of the legal experts of local self-government bodies and lawyers.

Daniel Popescu praised decentralisation as one of the most successful reforms in Ukraine that enjoys the support of most citizens. “Our annual surveys show that the Ukrainians understand and positively estimate decentralisation, they see its results and are satisfied with them. We hope that the new leaders of the country will not leave the path of the delegation of powers, resources and responsibility from the central level to hromadas, closer to citizens. The Council of Europe is ready to continue to share the European experience in the elaboration of legislation required to develop and to strengthen local self-government,” he said.

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