The Centre for European Perspective has hosted its 6th International Study Visit of Ukrainian Local officials in Slovenia. The event begun on Monday, 27th of May at Jable Castle and lasted for 5 days.
The topic of the visit was “Local Economic Development”. Local economic development is one of the key issues for ensuring the success of the decentralization process in Ukraine. However, the number of enterprises and economic activity at the local level remains very low. It concerns both the lack of enterprises in general and the problem of registration outside the place of operation.
14 local officials from Ukraine have taken part in the study visit, coming from different spheres, ranging from Project coordinators, Directors of Regional Councils, Heads of amalgamated hromadas, Heads of financial units in amalgamated hromadas, Starosta in hromadas, Economists of units on humanitarian issues, family, youth and sports in amalgamated hromadas councils, state registrars in land issues, Deputy heads of the Department of economic policy, State Experts on interregional and cross-border cooperation and Leaders of the Expert Group on strategic planning of regional development.
The first day started by an opening delivered by Andrii Borodenkov and Oleksandra Yanushevska from the Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Slovenia, who have been present in all of the study visits so far. They gave an overview of Slovenia and doing business in Slovenia. Meliha Muherina, Project Manager at CEP, followed their introductory remarks with an overview of the agenda for the following days and answered all the questions participants had.
The first lecture of the day was given by Mr. Robert Drobnič, discussing the topic of Regional Development Planning. He focused on planning of regional development, implementation of national programs, implementation of EU programs and Social Entrepreneurship.
The second lecture was given by mag. Peter Medved, who focused on East and West Slovenia Cohesion Region Development Councils, the Functioning of development councils of cohesion regions, Initiating consultations, coordination, cooperation and joint action of ministries, development regions and development partners in the development region (representatives of municipalities, the economy and the non-governmental sector).
The third and last lecture of the day was given by Dr. Boštjan Grabner, on Development Agency of Savinjska Region, where he gave an insight to regional sustainable development in Slovenia; National and international regional development; connecting and developing partnerships for sustainable development; finding financial resources and promotion of the region.
The following days were full of practical experiences Participants started the second days with a lecture on Social Entrepreneurship at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, delivered by Urška Bitenc. Her lecture was followed by visit to two social entrepreneurships, Skuhna in Ljubljana and Pomelaj in Mala Polana. The third day was started by a lecture delivered by representatives of the Slovene Enterprise Fund in Maribor who presented their line of work, the process of finding financial resources for different development, business projects and business cooperation with domestic and international financial institutions. On the fourth day a lecture by Association of Municipalities and towns of Slovenia was delivered by Barbara Horvat who gave the participants an overview on what they do, their national and international activities, presented the sections of city municipalities, the section with the Administrative Unit headquarters and the sectiones of other communities.
One of the most important parts of the Study Visits are also long-term agreements for cooperation. During this study visit two Letters of intent were signed between:
- Mayor Roman Hrynus from Bibrka, Ukraine and Mayor Janez Kramberger from Lenart, Slovenia and
- Municipality of Hajdina and Zabolotsi (Ukrainian: Заболотці) village in Brodivskyi Raion, Lviv Oblast, from western Ukraine.
The visit is taking place in the framework of the multi-donor action U-LEAD established by the European Union and its Member States Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Poland and Sweden. It aims at contributing to the establishment of multilevel governance that is transparent, accountable and responsive to the needs of the population of Ukraine. U-LEAD with Europe is supporting the Ukrainian Government, represented by the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine (MinRegion) as a key political partner in the coordination and implementation of the decentralization and regional policy reforms. The Program carries out demand-driven and targeted trainings for officials at the national, regional and local level.