Oleksandr Kornienko, the First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, joined the online forum “Cohesive Communities: Experience and Action Algorithms”.

The main topic of the event was the issue of supporting and restoring the vital activity of territorial communities during the war.

Oleksandr Korniienko congratulated the participants on the important meeting and stressed that such forums are very important in times of war. After all, it is through live discussions that the needs of communities and local self-government, which have received new issues and challenges during the war, can be effectively and efficiently discussed.

“Self-government itself has shown one of the largest and most significant levels of cohesive cooperation over the past year and a half, which has often been ahead of our legislative regulations and ideas. While our legislation on communities, joint projects, and conglomerations is still in the process of being finalised and new things are being adopted, the community has long been working at various levels. I believe this trend should only continue to grow,” the First Vice Speaker emphasised the role of communities in a military society.

He also focused on one of the most important issues of coexistence and cooperation between local governments and central authorities – the redistribution of budgets and taxes.  According to him, today, in times of war, it is important to find a balance for cohesion and unity in the face of the enemy.

“We need to understand each other: local governments need to understand the state, which now has security needs in the first place, and they can only be covered by taxes. And the state must understand the specific problems of communities, which, in the case of redistribution of military personal income tax, will be left without additional opportunities. We are aware of this, we are discussing it and looking for an appropriate balance,” assured Oleksandr Korniienko.

He also noted that active cooperation and dialogue is taking place at the level of parliamentary committees and relevant ministries, for example, on the institute of starostas, administration of local taxes, improvement of legislation on local state administrations, etc.

In addition, the First Vice Speaker reminded that Ukraine expects to start negotiations on joining the European Union this year. According to him, “a third or a quarter of the accession will be the work of hromadas (communities) at their level, the level of regional projects, and it is about cooperation.”

“Communities will play an important role in this process, because they will have many tasks that we believe and know will be fulfilled. Acting together and united is a part of the overall formula for our victory and building a strong state,” the First Vice Speaker emphasised in his speech.

Reference: The forum “Cohesive Communities: Experience and Action Algorithms” was organised by the All-Ukrainian Association of Communities (AUC) with the support of the USAID Agriculture and Rural Development Programme (ARDP).  The event is aimed at disseminating the experience gained within the framework of the “Food Security Support Programme “Cohesive Communities” projects; providing local government representatives with information materials and practical cases to ensure the vital activity of communities in the context of war; engaging more territorial communities and public/donor organisations in cooperation, etc.

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