The concept of local self-governance reform is approved by the Government

At today’s session the Government approved the Concept of reformation of local self-governance and territorial organization of authority in Ukraine. The information was delivered by Vice Prime Minister – Minister of regional development, construction, and housing and communal services, Volodymyr Groysman.

It took only a month to develop the concept and present it for consideration at the Government session. The basis was provided by initiatives dating from as far back in time as 2009, but until now there was not enough political willpower to start the reformation process.

The key idea of the Concept is authority decentralization in the country, as well as considerable extension of authority of territorial communities. It is at community level that many important aspects can be facilitated, including provision of affordable high-quality administrative, social, and other services, formation of democratic institutions, satisfaction of public interests in all spheres of life and activity on a respective territory, harmonization of interests of the state with interests of territorial communities.

Changes in oblast’- and raion-level governance systems are also envisioned by the concept. According to Volodymyr Groysman, “today oblast’ state administrations perform all executive functions themselves. In fact, this is a monopolistic authority of the state on territories. Administration heads are being appointed from above, while a community cannot influence their decisions. We are saying that appointees from Kiev do not provide the efficient model we are striving for. We want executive authority on specific territories, in oblasts and raions to be formed as a result of electoral process”. Groysman noted that oblast’- and raion-level executive authorities will now consist of elected deputies, while administrations (or prefectures) will retain only controlling functions.

The Concept is to be implemented in two stages. On stage one (during 2014) formation of the necessary legislative base for activity of local self-government bodies and executive authorities (including the issues of resource allocation) is to be completed. On stage two it is intended to hold institutional reorganization of local self-government and local executive bodies, as well as hold local elections, taking the reformed system of local self-government bodies into consideration.

The concept, which has been adopted today, is a consensus solution. It was previously coordinated with all oblast’ councils of Ukraine, city councils, associations of local self-government bodies, external and internal experts; it was also approved by the Council of Europe as the first step on the way toward local self-governance reform in Ukraine. Besides, the concept complies with the provisions of the European Charter of Local Self-government.

“Now we have a basis for further actions, and in the nearest time we will present the first draft laws, developed in compliance with the concept we have adopted today, to be considered by the Government”, Volodymyr Groysman promised.

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