Regional seminar for young local leaders in Ukraine

Truskavets, (Ukraine), 17 July 20014 - On 15-17 July, the Congress organised a Seminar for young local leaders in Truskavets (Lviv Oblast, Ukraine) as part of a series of regional workshops aimed at spreading a culture of democracy by raising awareness on local and regional democracy principles and developing the participants’ capacity to engage in local elections in an active and informed manner. The seminar brought together around 20 young people, leaders of NGOs and youth wings of political parties as well as recently elected mayors, councillors or candidates and media representatives, to share their perception of the role of local authorities and citizens. They discussed in particular local governance issues and ways for further decentralisation and local democracy development in Ukraine and supported the importance of the principle of subsidiarity in building a modern democratic state where problems can be solved by the community when they emerge.

“Ukraine has a unique window of opportunity to carry out an effective decentralisation process. There is a real political will to carry out such a reform today” underlined Nataliya Romanova (Ukraine, ILDG), President of the Chamber of Regions of the Congress. “We need to develop a new political elite”, she added, encouraging the participants to use this opportunity and the support offered by the Council of Europe and most of the European countries.

Bernd Semmelrogen, Member of the Congress Group of Independent Experts on the European Charter of Local Self-Government welcomed the on-going local government reform and the decentralisation priorities of the country since the Congress Monitoring Report on the situation of local and regional democracy in Ukraine was adopted in October 2013.

The situation of Crimea and more generally the issues of separatism in Europe were also at the heart of the discussion.

Members of the Congress including Svitlana Bohatyrchuk - Kryvko, (Ukraine, ECR), Mairi Evans (United Kingdom, NR) and Sabine Van Dooren (Belgium, ILDG) also exchanged their experience.