The European Commission has adopted a major set of measures to support decentralisation reform and re-enforcement of local governance in Ukraine. A €97 million programme jointly funded by the EU (€90m), Germany (€6m) and Poland (€1m) will strengthen governance and accountability at local, regional and central levels to better respond to the needs of the population. An additional support of €10 million funded by the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace will be allocated for the restoration of governance, reconciliation and peacebuilding in the eastern part of Ukraine, most affected by war and displacement.
"Ukraine remains on the top of the EU's agenda. These programmes will play an important role in supporting Ukraine in its efforts to improve governance, including in the conflict-affected areas in the East", said the High Representative and Commission Vice-President Federica Mogherini.
"This new, significant funding - adopted on the eve of the EU-Ukraine Association Council - is a concrete example of the EU's continued and determined support for reforms in Ukraine. The implementation of these reforms in the area of decentralisation will bring visible benefits to Ukrainian citizens through access to a better service when dealing with their local or regional administration'', stated Commissioner for the European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn.
Decentralisation is a top priority of the extensive reform programme implemented by the Ukrainian government. Important legislation was adopted in 2014 and 2015, providing a solid basis to carry decentralisation reform forward, including more responsibilities for the sub-national level in fiscal matters, investments and services for citizens. If service delivery is to improve, and local government to become more accountable to its citizens, the capacities of local community (hromada), district (rayon) and regional (oblast) administrations will need to be strengthened and the administrative culture of elected officials and public servants radically improved. Enhancing the capacity of local government in eastern Ukraine to deliver improved services will increase their legitimacy while also underpinning the overall framework of decentralisation reform.
The overall objective of the U-LEAD with Europe: Ukraine Local Empowerment, Accountability and Development Programme is to contribute to the establishment of multilevel governance which is transparent, accountable and responsive to the needs of the population. The programme will include two main components.
- the first is intended to enhance the capacity of key actors at central, regional and local levels in order to implement decentralisation reform;
- the second component will focus on improving delivery of local administrative services.
The IcSP funded action "Restoration of Governance and Reconciliation in Crisis - Affected Communities of Ukraine" will focus on strengthening local governance in the areas of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts that are under control of the government of Ukraine which face particular challenges due to degraded administrative infrastructure and increased pressure on social services. Enhanced community security and re-building trust between communities and local government will receive special attention alongside strong focus on equality and women’s participation
This measure is a further step in the implementation of the European Commission's support package for Ukraine. The Commission has already adopted a first special measure for Ukraine in 2015 on sustainable economic development. The decentralisation programme is the second adopted this year for Ukraine specifically, bringing total grant aid to Ukraine in 2015 alone to €200 million. It is part of the commitments made that the EU and European Financial Institutions would provide over €12 billion in grants and loans to support Ukraine's macro-financial stabilisation and reform process.
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