- Workshop-training on legal challenges to the amalgamation process, 20 June: lawyers, officials of local authorities and mayors from amalgamated communities discussed the current challenges in ensuring the legal representation of local authorities’ interests in court in the context of the ongoing decentralisation and judiciary reforms. During the brainstorming session, participants decided to strengthen cooperation and synchronise their approaches as regards the certification of lawyers specialising on local authorities’ court cases, the compilation of template package documents as well as methodological recommendations for amalgamated communities. Senior officials from the Minregion, the Association of Amalgamated Territorial Communities and the National Association of Lawyers commended the Council of Europe’s support in this field and called for its continuation.
- Presentation and press-briefing related to territorial reform at sub-regional level, 20 June: the findings of the pilot project “Modelling administrative and territorial division in Donetsk, Luhansk, Ternopil and Kharkiv regions” (December 2018-March 2019) were presented and discussed with the local authorities and media. The keynote speakers – First Deputy Minister of Regional Development Mr Viacheslav NEHODA, Vice-President of the Association of Regional and Sub-Regional Councils Mr Viktor OVCHARUK and Head of Democratic Governance Department Mr Daniel POPESCU – spoke about their vision of the territorial reform in view of the ambitious national authorities’ plan to introduce the territorial reform before the next local elections (October 2020). The Council of Europe confirmed its willingness to continue to provide support to the process in general and praised the project of the Association for its comprehensive, bottom-up, participative, inclusive and consultation-based approach.
- “Policy development” group within the Expert task force under the Ministry of regional development to discuss concepts of the new versions of the laws “On local self-government” and “On local state administrations”, 21 June: Head of Democratic Governance Department Mr Daniel POPESCU commented on the draft concepts prepared by a team of local experts and drew attention to the Council of Europe standards and recommendations, including the most recent legal opinions and the conclusions of the “Strasbourg format” meetings. The Council of Europe shall continue providing its legal advice offering international expertise, Rapid Response Service by CDDG and peer exchange with senior officials from other member-states.
In addition, high-level bilateral meetings with senior representatives of the Presidential Administration and Secretariat of the dedicated Parliamentary Committee were led by Mr Daniel POPESCU, Head of the Council of Europe Democratic Governance Department. He also presented the Council of Europe work in the area of legal assistance for the local government and territorial reform to the members of the Decentralisation Donor Board, in which in 2019 is co-chaired by the Council of Europe jointly with the Vice-Prime Minister.
The events mentioned above were organised within and in co-operation with the Council of Europe Programme “Decentralisation and local government reform in Ukraine”.