Decentralization is one of the key and most successful reforms. Last year, the rate of voluntary amalgamation of communities was the highest in Europe. In 2015, 159 communities amalgamated. However, the pace of the reform slowed down due to the major legislative barriers that block further progress. This has resulted in a critically low rate of voluntary amalgamation this year.
Adoption of the draft law “On amendments to certain legislative acts of Ukraine (regarding voluntary amalgamation of territorial communities)” No.4772 of 03.06.2016 could have restarted and boosted the progress of the reform.
Therefore, the experts of the Reanimation Package of Reforms call on the Committee for State Building, Regional Policy and Local Self-Government to urgently consider this draft law at its meeting.
This draft law simplifies the procedure of voluntary amalgamation of territorial communities and allows the communities to join the already established ones. It will help to create really capable amalgamated communities according to the approved long-term plans in conformity to the Methodology of forming such communities.
The draft law will also ensure implementation of the Committee’s decision of March 30, 2016, whereby the status of a city of regional significance shall be granted only to those cities that conduct voluntary amalgamation of territorial communities and on condition that certain criteria are met. These criteria – i.e. the conditions of formation of capable territorial communities – are determined by the draft law No. 4772.
Adoption of this draft law is anticipated by the local self-government bodies willing to conduct voluntary amalgamation of territorial communities within the approved long-term plans, as well as residents of villages, towns and cities that have expressed their support of the amalgamation process.
The draft law is supported by the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, and Housing and Utility Services of Ukraine, representatives of different factions of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (the draft law was signed by 23 MPs), experts, and representatives of NGOs.
The reform of local self-government and decentralization cannot continue unless this draft law is considered by the Committee and adopted by the Verkhovna Rada.
Therefore, the Reanimation Package of Reforms: