Ukraine is now taking steps towards decentralisation. Why is it needed and how to implement it the most efficient way possible?
The vast experience of the European countries will help answer these questions.
Over the last 10-20 years, most EU countries have carried out decentralisation. Many issues here are solved not in the centre, but on the ground, since people living in a city or village know better what they need than an official in the capital.
The EU countries are very different in scale of such decentralisation. It is determined by traditions, existing institutional system and peculiarities of national politics. However, we can distinguish certain trends and take into account certain lessons.
Often, local authorities in Europe can deal with issues that directly affect community residents. This is the construction and repair of local roads, utilities, public transport, water supply, drainage, heat supply, garbage disposal, local economy development and territorial planning.
Often, the state transfers responsibility for school education to the local level, but not the one for universities. In Italy, authorities in the regions are in charge of hospitals. And in Sweden, communities take care about the elderly. However, local authorities must adhere to national rules and regulations in education, healthcare, and social protection. This is to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their place of residence, receive the same quality of services.
After all, people on the ground know how to better solve local problems and are aware of their urgency. This, accordingly, helps to spend money more efficiently. Therefore, the goal is to save and use the funds more efficiently, as well as deliver services in a high-quality way.
However decentralisation can lead to an opposite effect. The EU experience shows how to avoid it.
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