The decentralization is one of the most successful reforms being implemented in Ukraine in synergy with the Council of Europe and the European Union. The new Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine 2018-2021 on decentralization issues, approved in February 2018, envisages not only continuation of the road map regarding consolidation and strengthening of communities, but also implementation of sectoral decentralization. This is a step-by-step guide for consolidated communities on ensuring a new quality in education, healthcare, administrative and social services as well as safe and comfortable living of citizens. Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Utilities of Ukraine Hennadii Zubko announced in the course of his speech at a round table on decentralization issues at the headquarters of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
The focal points of the Plan encapsulate finalization of the process of improvement of the legislation on amalgamation and cooperation of territorial communities, sectoral decentralization and improvement of service quality, reform of the administrative-territorial structure and promotion of gender equality.
Claudia Luciani, Director of the Council of Europe’s Democratic Governance and Anti-discrimination Directorate, noted that the Action Plan for Ukraine 2018-2021 is designed at providing assistance to Ukraine in order to implement drastic reforms. She stressed that such a round table meeting is being held for the first time, and such formats of communication and discussion will be continued.
A special emphasis was placed on the discussion and formulation of the position on legislative regulation of the issue of observance of lawfulness in the activities of local self-government bodies in Ukraine.
"Having transferred resources, powers and opportunities to local authorities, the central government should ensure the observance of the rights and freedoms of citizens in accordance with the Constitution. Therefore, we need to find a tool that can be called differently – administrative supervision, control over compliance which, based on the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government and European legislation will be the blueprint for strengthening the cooperation of central and local authorities. And most importantly it will be a framework that will provide opportunities for development of consolidated communities. The core objective of both local and central governments is to improve the living standards of Ukrainians, introduce high-quality services and develop human potential. Thus, we have to find a common and compromise solution," Hennadii Zubko stated.
The Vice Prime Minister informed that in 2016 Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Utilities elaborated a draft law on strengthening the responsibility of officials and local self-government bodies for adopting decisions that violate the Constitution and Laws of Ukraine, which received a positive conclusion from the Council of Europe.
Georg Milbradt, Special Envoy of the Government of Germany on reforming Ukraine in the spheres of governance and decentralization, commended the positive results of the reform in Ukraine, the professionalism and responsibility of experts of the abovesaid Ministry in reform implementation. He noted that the burning task of today's discussion is to hammer out a comprise between all the participants of the roundtable meeting so that to ensure the effectiveness of decentralization and local self-governance reforms.
It is worth noting that the events are organized with the assistance of the Council of Europe Project Decentralization and Territorial Consolidation in Ukraine in synergy with the U-LEAD with Europe program. The debate will be attended by First Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine Vyacheslav Nehoda, representatives of the Council of Europe, Georg Milbradt, Special Envoy of the Government of Germany on reforming Ukraine in the spheres of governance and decentralization, MPs of Ukraine, heads of specialized local governance associations (Association of Ukrainian Cities, Ukrainian Association of District and Regional Councils, All-Ukrainian Association of Village and Settlement Councils, Association of Amalgamated Communities).