Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba, on November 11, took part in the debates and presentation of the results of the "Euromap of Ukraine. Rating of European Integration of Regions" research, conducted by analysts of the New Europe Centre think tank in cooperation with the Government Office for Coordination of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.
“For the first time, an attempt has been made to measure how deeply European integration has penetrated into the Ukrainian regions. We are interested in making such a rating on an annual basis. We are ready for a strategic partnership with the New Europe Center so that it acts as an independent tool for monitoring of the Government’s efforts,” Dmytro Kuleba stressed.
The evaluation was carried out in eight areas within 34 indicators that reflect the dynamics of the regions’ rapprochement with the EU. The results of the study were presented by the Director of the New Europe Center Aliona Getmanchuk and the first deputy director of the Center Serhii Solodkyy.
The three leading regions included Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Vinnytsia. However, their progress is still far from the desired level: they scored slightly more than a half of the possible scores on each of the indicators. The southern and eastern regions demonstrate leading positions in a number of sectors. Mykolaiv region took first place in increasing exports to the EU market. Donetsk and Luhansk regions lead by the number of projects under the credit support from the EBRD and the EIB, while Kherson and Kharkiv regions - by the volume of financing of such projects. Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv are among the areas with the largest number of companies with capital from EU countries.
Moreover, the Deputy Prime Minister noted that the results of the research show the lack of understanding by local officials of the importance of Ukraine's European integration, which they perceive as somewhat distant. Instead, it provides specific benefits for the Ukrainian regions. That is, first of all, attraction of the projects of transport and border infrastructure, foreign investments and EU assistance in the regions of Ukraine; development of Euroregions and implementation of twinning initiatives; maximum involvement of regions in EU educational, scientific, cultural projects/programs; support for small and medium-sized businesses in the regions.
The Deputy Prime Minister reminded that the Government had embarked on setting up regional European integration offices. “Our goal is to ensure a balanced development of the regions. So that each region could have a base, a kind of incubator for European integration,” he said. “We have already agreed with the head of Kherson region that we will open the first office there. And, on the one hand, I am dissatisfied with low performance of Kherson region, and on the other hand, I have made sure once again of the fact we have made the right choice of location for the first regional office. We go where there are systemic problems,” Dmytro Kuleba explained.
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sweden to Ukraine Tobias Thyberg, Executive Director of the International Renaissance Foundation Olexandr Sushko spoke at the event. Ukrainian experts, analysts and politicians took part in the debate. The event is organized within the Think Tanks Development Initiative for Ukraine, implemented by the International Renaissance Foundation in partnership with the Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE) and with financial support from the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine.