President of Ukraine

The President of Ukraine took part in the meeting of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities held in Lviv

15 December 2023 - 19:33

The President of Ukraine took part in the meeting of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities held in Lviv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy participated in the meeting of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities held in Lviv.

The event was also attended by Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk, Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal, Head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak, members of the government, and heads of regional administrations. European and U.S. officials also addressed the gathering online.

As reported by Deputy Head of the President's Office Oleksiy Kuleba, 93 members of the Congress were present at the meeting, including 50 leaders of cities, villages, and populated areas. A total 1,619 Congress members joined the meeting online.

Opening the meeting, the President said that Ukraine has a decision to open negotiations on joining the European Union, and this is an institutional proof that Ukraine will become a member of the EU.

"Next year, we need to work together with the European Union on specific details, negotiation frameworks, and initiate the process of full integration of public institutions, legal norms, and the realities of life into EU standards. This is not only legislative work on laws and rules but also work on the realities of our lives, which must be such that it is felt that Ukraine is truly ready for accession. This is a common task for everyone in Ukraine working in the system of state power and local self-government," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

The President also emphasized that the primary task at the moment is the defense of Ukraine. Therefore, at the local level, everything must be done for victory – from the approach to allocating funds to other socially important issues.

"I want to draw the attention of everyone that the life of the country, the life of any community, the life of every individual is the same life as that of Ukraine. It is a life that we must protect from Russian aggression," he added.

The Head of the State emphasized that the defense of Ukraine is the duty of everyone, including those who are not currently on the battle lines.

Andriy Yermak, on his part, stressed that Ukraine has come to another crucial moment in the war: either Ukrainian society succumbs to fatigue, or it continues to fight, defeats the aggressor, and rebuilds the country.

"But this is possible only under two conditions. The first is unity – the ability to forget disputes and transcend personal ambitions for the sake of a common cause. The second is hard work – complete dedication, on the verge of capabilities, and even exceeding what seems possible. A single country, a single goal, collective efforts – this is our formula for success," the head of the President's Office said.

Andriy Yermak informed the members of the Congress about the results of the recent visits of the Head of the State and the outcomes of international negotiations at the highest level.

"The international support continues and will persist until victory. New defense and financial assistance packages keep coming from various countries. Sanctions are escalating step by step. Yesterday, the 12th package of EU sanctions was adopted. And yesterday, we overcame another barrier to EU membership. The decision to open negotiations on Ukraine's accession was made," he said.

Additionally, according to the head of the President's Office, there is a reset of Ukraine's relations with countries in the Global South, involving them in the implementation of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's Peace Formula. Active efforts are underway with partners on joint defense production, yielding good results.

Regarding the situation within Ukraine, as Andriy Yermak pointed out, each region should have its own development plan, an understanding of sectors to stimulate, and real projects.

"Again, I emphasize: people come above all. They are the most valuable resource of the country. We have all received a clear task from the President. The government – both central and local – must engage with the people. We must know their aspirations, their needs, understand their pain, and know what to do with all of this. And take action," the head of the President's Office said.

Andriy Yermak noted that participants in this year's concluding meeting of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities need to focus on issues such as the security of communities in hostilities zones and on de-occupied territories, safeguarding the energy sector and critical infrastructure. Among the priorities are also reconstruction, approval of local budgets, education, healthcare, and veteran policies.

On his part, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Ruslan Stefanchuk emphasized the importance of unity for overcoming the enemy.

"We should not divide communities. We should not discuss having a budget for war at the state level and a budget for prosperity in our communities. We are united, therefore we are strong. We are strong and truthful, so we will prevail," he said.

Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal shared that after the decision to start negotiations for EU accession, Ukraine faces a path that will require an exceptionally large amount of work. According to him, Ukraine will need to implement almost 2,740 EU legal acts into national legislation.

"This is our workload for the coming years that we have to fulfill," the head of the government said.

Participants in the meeting heard a report from Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Olha Stefanishyna about the Interreg Next cross-border cooperation programmes for the period 2021–2027, opportunities for regions, strengthening regional development, and cross-border cooperation in the context of EU integration.

Ukraine's Minister of Defense Rustem Umerov, Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko, and the head of the Security Service Vasyl Maliuk reported on ensuring security in the territorial communities of the country in wartime conditions.

As part of the new format of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities meeting, there was interactive communication with representatives of local authorities. The Congress website previously listed questions raised in previous sessions, and its presidency. Over 900 heads of communities voted to determine the most important and relevant questions. During today's Congress meeting, community leaders personally presented to the relevant ministers the questions with the most votes.

Specifically, issues regarding the procedure for conscripting military personnel through local self-government, the rehabilitation of military personnel, and ensuring Ukrainian television, radio, mobile signal, and internet connectivity were discussed.

Other topics included legislating conditions for the acquisition and transfer of necessary equipment for the Armed Forces at the local level, providing financial support from the state treasury to local budgets for free meals for war-affected children. Discussions also covered local self-government access to cadastral maps, ensuring medication for residents of remote populated areas, and more.

Various individuals addressed the Congress meeting participants via video links, including: President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine's Economic Recovery Penny Pritzker, Director-General of the European Commission's DG Regio Directorate-General Sławomir Tokarski, Minister of Defense of the Republic of Estonia Hanno Pevkur, President of the European Committee of the Regions Vasco Alves Cordeiro, and Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Ivana Živković.




Working trip of the President of Ukraine to Lviv region

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