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Vision of Ukraine – 2030. What should be the regional organization?

In the summer of 2022, the CPLR team, as part of the public coalition «Ukraine after Victory», formulated a vision «Vision of Ukraine – 2030». The document offers key conditions for the reconstruction and development of Ukraine after the Victory. Here we share how we see the territorial system, local self-government and regional policy

How do we imagine Ukraine in 2030?

The territory of Ukraine consists of 12–15 regions based on historical parts of the country, taking into account geographical, economic, security and other factors in determining their borders: 10–13 krais (territories), Crimean Tatar Autonomy, Kyiv Capital District. (Proposal: do not specify the number of regions and their special types.) There is a regional self-government with representative and executive bodies, as well as a state prefecture or administration, which exercises administrative supervision over the legality of acts of self-government bodies and coordinates the implementation of state policy at the regional level.

Regional development aims at harmonious and sustainable development of all territories of the country, reduction of uneven development between regions and between parts of regions. Regional strategies are determined based on the specifics of the regions and relative competitiveness. The main development tool is regional projects, which, in addition to funds from the regional budget, can attract contributions from local communities and funds from the State Fund for Regional Development and European structural funds, received on a competitive basis.

At the subregional level, Ukraine is divided into 120–125 counties, each of which has an official appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, and his/her office. The main tasks of the official are to supervise the legality of LSGB acts and to coordinate state structures at the county level. The Constitution provides for the possibility of electing county councils if their powers are determined by law. (Proposal: The representative body of the county is not elected, but there are coordinating bodies of inter-municipal cooperation formed by the councils of the county communities).

At the basic level in Ukraine, there are 1000–1400 self-governing communities, which have the maximum level of administrative and financial decentralisation based on the subsidiarity principle. Nearby settlements are united into a single community or agglomeration with a single government. Local self-government bodies in communities are councils and elected chairmen who head the executive bodies. (Proposal: local self-government bodies in communities are councils and executive bodies). Wide involvement of citizens in solving local issues through various instruments of local democracy ensures a high level of public trust in LSGB and the community cohesion. This includes the use of local referendums in communities to adopt the most important and complex decisions.

The law distinguishes between own and delegated (transferred) powers of local and regional self-government bodies, establishes clear algorithms for calculating the value of the latter, determines the sources of revenue of local and regional budgets.
Service in local self-government bodies is similar to civil service, with a clear distinction between political and administrative positions.

What key changes need to be made to achieve this goal?

Correction of errors of the administrative-territorial system at the basic and subregional levels, introducing amendments to the Constitution regarding the three-level administrative-territorial system, adoption of the Law “On Administrative and Territorial System” and the Municipal Code. Clear legislative separation of powers between the state and self-government and between the levels of self-government, formation of a balanced system of representative and executive bodies of local self-government, reforming the regional level of the administrative-territorial system and amending the legislation on the decentralisation of powers and finances.

What red lines cannot be crossed in this area?
  • Abandonment of the decentralisation policy and the principle of subsidiarity.
  • Providing the regions with powers carrying separatist threats, including political powers, especially foreign policy powers, the right to regional referendums,
  • Unification in one person of the chairmanship in the regional council and in its executive body or introduction of direct elections of heads of regions (“regional princes”),
  • Excessive restriction of local democracy,
  • Lack of a state mechanism to ensure legality in the activities of local and regional self-government bodies, local executive bodies.