Administrative and territorial reform is one of the most important and successful transformations and should be completed before the local elections scheduled for October this year.
This was announced by Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal on Friday, June 12, opening an extraordinary meeting of the Government.
According to him, at the meeting, the Government shall consider the formation of districts, which would mean the completion of the main stage of the administrative-territorial reform. "This is one of the most essential and most successful reforms. This reform is also one of the most understandable and supported by the people, so we should complete that this year. We have to hold local elections in October, as was planned, according to the new administrative division, so that the country can advance in terms of improving the provision of public services to the citizens. We mustn’t slow down or delay the process. The reform is primarily implemented for the benefits of the people, for their comfort," the Prime Minister stressed.
Moreover, the Head of Government reminded that the Cabinet of Ministers had worked fruitfully on the decentralization reform, and due to the joint efforts the perspective plans for all regions were approved, which now cover 100% of the territory, except for the occupied Crimea. "This is a reform of the so-called basic level, when the territory must be covered by sustainable communities. The communities need to be modern and responsive to people's needs. That implies comfortable services. After the election process in the fall, the communities will work at full capacity," said Denys Shmyhal.
In order for the communities to function successfully, the Prime Minister believes, it is necessary to move to the next stage of reform - the subregional level, the formation of optimized areas. "That is why our goal is to approve a new regional zoning project so that the governments operate with the largest efficiency and do not duplicate any functions. Now there are mapped 490 districts, it is proposed to enlarge those and form a threefold amount of districts. By the way, the existing regions of Ukraine were formed during the Soviet era in the first half of the last century and do not meet modern standards on a number of criteria. In addition, we have areas inhabited by a little more than 5,000 residents and areas with over 180,000 people. Because of this, there occur considerable imbalances entailing difficulties in administration. The responsibility of such districts is the same, but the workload varies greatly, so that definitely requires correction," Denys Shmyhal stressed.
Moreover, according to the PM, it is rather critical to continue discussing changes to the Constitution in terms of decentralization. "Such a public discussion should reconcile all controversial issues and take into account the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government," summed up Denys Shmyhal.