The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine in the framework of strengthening local self-government capabilities initiates launch of a new stage of decentralization reform which envisages consolidation of already achieved successes and formation of sustainable communities, changes in the territorial structure, clear delimitation of the powers and functions of control of different state authorities, as well as active development of local democracy, when citizens can always express their opinions on various issues, but not only during the election period. Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman announced this, presenting a new action plan for decentralization reform until 2020.
The Head of Government stressed that a large number of changes need to be enshrined in the Constitution and it should be done shortly in order to hold the local elections in 2020 according to a new legislative and territorial basis.
"The decentralization reform is one of the most successful reforms. Till 2014 the majority of former governments favored the centralization of power. And I know from experience how difficult it was to develop cities and to build roads. The system of state power was too centralized. People were deprived of powers and funds, all resources were concentrated at the central level. It was important to start systemic steps designed to transfer powers and resources to the regions," the Prime Minister said.
As the Head of Government noted, during 5 years - from 2014 to 2019 - the Government in synergy with Parliament and President succeeded in implementing the first stage of the reform. In Ukraine, there have been created 876 sustainable communities, local budgets grew significantly - to almost UAH 234 billion. The area of 1.5 million hectares of agricultural land has been transferred to the communities’ ownership.
"Now there is a need to consolidate the gains and launch a new phase - with new decisions to ensure the irreversibility of the reform", the Prime Minister said.
Volodymyr Groysman explained that among the new objectives are to approve the new territorial basis of the country - 100 sustainable areas and 1600-1800 amalgamated communities, to consolidate the fiscal sustainability of local governance, to shape an effective governance system, to streamline the system of public control, and to avoid overlapping in functions.
"It is vital to develop forms of direct democracy - to improve the electoral legislation and to build up mechanisms for conducting local referendums, thereby providing the citizens with an opportunity to express their stance and make decisions not from the elections to the elections, but during the lifetime. People have to say their final word on various issues."
The Head of Government noted that the Government's vision for further decentralization would be formulated in the proposals for amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine. Moreover, it is crucial to discuss and approve the said proposals avoiding unnecessary delays. "Amendments should be enshrined in the Constitution. Otherwise, the system can be destroyed. And the constitutional process will provide guarantees for the development of local self-government", said Volodymyr Groysman.
Moreover, the PM suggested that Government officials engage not only in discussing proposals but also in the implementation of all the tasks of the new phase of decentralization reform.