"The constitutional changes regarding decentralisation of power that we have developed with the Prime Minister are waiting for their time. It is clear that prefects are needed, because some of the locals are overwhelmed with new financial opportunities and they are beginning to think of themselves as princes, as if there is no authorities over them," President Petro Poroshenko noted at an expanded governmental meeting on decentralisation and regional development during the working trip to Vinnytsia region.
The Head of State stressed that a clearly defined procedure for the dissolution of councils was required. "Because not so long ago some irresponsible local state-mongers tried to launch something like a parade of sovereignties. This is about the initiative of some oblast councils on the agreements on the distribution of powers with the Ukrainian Government. It will never take place. I will not allow that. And the one who tries playing with sovereignty will receive an absolutely clear answer," Petro Poroshenko said.
"Today they are demanding deals, and tomorrow they will sell Ukraine. There is a clear division of powers and clear responsibility: the duties of a village council deputy, village council, rayon council deputy, city council deputy, hromada deputy, Ukrainian Government, Parliament and Ukrainian President," he emphasised.
"I am confident that the division of powers is established not by the so-called "agreements", but by the Laws of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Constitution," Petro Poroshenko emphasised.
He recalled that exactly four years ago, the history of decentralisation in Ukraine began, although everyone spoke about it all 26 years since independence, every government promised that both financial resources and rights would actually be transferred to hromadas, to the citizens of Ukraine.
He also reminded that in April 2014 there was a presidential campaign and the cornerstone of his presidential campaign was decentralisation.
"From the very first days there were relevant drafts of legislative acts, strong support from the Government was felt, effective work of the Parliament was established in the first days and decentralisation became one of my first priority reforms. I am confident that this will be continued in the future," the President noted.
"Why was decentralisation so important then? Very easy. I want to remind you that in April, May, June of 2014, the policy of federalisation was imposed on us from outside. Remember how they wanted to announce a parade of sovereignties? The sovereignty of Kharkiv, sovereignty of Zaporizhzhia, Donbas - Luhansk, Donetsk, Odesa," the President said, adding that today the security services have provided convincing evidence: who was behind it, how it was planned, who funded it. "All this was from abroad and they tried to sell it to the Ukrainian nation and Ukrainian society as a way to the development of our state", the President emphasised.
"We did not have the right to fool people and our principled position was - Ukraine is a unitary state, Ukrainian people stand together, we will not allow to split the state, the projects of "Novorossiya", "Little Russia" will fail. And our alternative will be the idea of delegation of authority and financial resources to the elected local self-government bodies," Petro Poroshenko said.
The President noted that the given concept was then criticised. He thanked Volodymyr Groysman who always firmly defended this idea. "There were discussions between us when we drafted amendments to the Constitution, but we did find the right decision both regarding changes to the legislation and constitutional changes and began to resolutely implement them," he recalled.
"Although they said it was very risky: how is that, central authority is losing powers, what are you doing, how can you delegate powers to hromadas? But this decentralisation policy turned out to be an effective antidote against federalisation, which Russia tried to artificially instigate in Ukraine," Petro Poroshenko stressed.
"The President, Parliament, Government have agreed to voluntarily give some of their powers. It was life that proved this was the right decision," he noted.
Адміністрація Президента України
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21 February 2020
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