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January 24, 2012

Ukrainian President Calls for Decentralization of Power in the Country

Kyiv, January 24, 2012. “I support the strengthening of local government,” stated the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych in his recent interview for almanac Ukraine and World 2012. Global Agenda (joint project of New York Times News Service & Syndicate and Segodnya Multimedia), reported the press service of the President of Ukraine. The president went on to emphasize that the EU and Ukraine had reached the never before acquired level of understanding.

Employing the practices of the EU, Ukraine is going to introduce the devolution of powers to the regions. In his interview, the President of Ukraine said that 2012 would mark the beginning of regional reforms. They remain as work in progress aimed at improving the quality of people’s life. The reforming will come hand in hand with more powers delegated to local authorities, said the President.

The EU traditionally pays special attention to the decentralized nature of its members, considering the arrangement to be an effective tool of democratic governance. The Committee of the Regions of the EU is responsible for regional cooperation between the entities below state level within the Union. The Committee has a voice in EU policy development and EU legislation.

In 1991 Ukraine emerged as a unitary state with powers concentrated in the hands of the ruling elite in the government. Throughout the time of the country’s independence many reforms were launched to help democratize and decentralize the existing state governance system. The law regulating local governance in Ukraine was adopted by the parliament in 1997 and amended more than 50 times since.

According to the Constitution of Ukraine, the local communities have the power to make decisions concerning the territories where they live. The citizens may elect their representatives to their city, town or village councils, which make local level administrative decisions. The central authorities in Ukraine have supreme state administration power, whereas local officials have little capacity to influence the decisions of the central government, including the parliament of Ukraine, and the ways those decisions are to be implemented.

Ukraine has also adopted a number of international documents regulating local administration – the European Charter of Local Self-Government, Worldwide Declaration of Local Self-Government, and European Urban Charter.