The first study visit to the Pomeranian Voivodship (Poland), organised with the support of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme and MinRegion of Ukraine on 25-29 June, gave impetus to rethinking of the current challenges, faced by amalgamated hromadas in Ukraine, said Viktor Bondaruk, regional development adviser of the Odesa Local Government Development Centre, who took part in this visit.
According to him, the study trip provided an understanding that Ukrainians, referring to Polish reforms, often use the three main myths that have nothing to do with reality:
Myth 1. All Polish achievements are based on EU funds.
“In fact, our neighbours have reached the present achievements, first of all, due to the establishment of an effective management system and use of public funds, and it contributed to attraction of the EU funds,” said the Odesa LGDC adviser.
Myth 2. Living standard in Poland is much higher than the Ukrainian one.
“In fact, the average salary of a Polish worker is about three times higher than that of the Ukrainian one. Along with this, the cost of living in some sectors is much more expensive. For example, water supply and sewage is 6 times and garbage disposal – 5 times more expensive” notes Viktor Bondaruk.
Myth 3. Ukraine remains more centralised compared to Poland.
“In fact, in the healthcare, educational, road and communal service sectors, our hromadas have more powers,” says the regional development adviser.
In addition, according to the expert, the hromada development strategy should become the main document for all local governments, and in this direction it is desirable to provide consultations more actively, attract more experts. In addition, indicators of goals’ achievement are an integral part of the development planning at the regional and hromada level.
“Development and implementation of local development projects is the main tool of local authorities’ activity. At the same time, each project should contribute to the achievement of the indicators, defined in the hromada development strategy. Other activities are not eligible for funding. And, thirdly, the general European labour market has entered a period of fierce competition for an employee, and therefore labour migration from Ukraine can grow significantly. In connection with this, the main task of regional and local development should be to form conditions for the creation of new highly paid and highly skilled jobs,” he convinced.
It should be noted that the event is the first in a series of visits that will take place during 2018-2019. Topics include local and regional economic development, rural development, human capital development, tourism development, and environmental protection.
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