The  Centre for European Perspective is hosting its 7th International Study Visit in Slovenia. The event began on Monday, 10th of June at Jable Castle and will continue throughout the week.

The topic of the visit is “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.

There are currently 18 local officials from Ukraine taking part in the study visit. Participants are coming from different spheres, ranging from, Heads of hromadas Head of departments, Land managers, Advisor on capacity development, Advisor on regional development, State Experts of the Expert Group on Strategic Planning of Regional Development of Directorate of Regional Development at the Ministry of Regional Development.

The event was open by Katja Gersak, CEP Exeutive Director and Andrej Vrčon, CEP Administrative Director, wHo warmly welcomed the participants at Jable Castle, and gave an overview of its work. Opening remarks were given by Andreja Purkart Martinez, Head of Sector at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Slovenia, who gave an insight of the general work the Ministry does with Ukraine and the region. Finally, a welcome speech was given by Andrii Borodenkov, Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Slovenia, who introduced the participants to Slovenia, doing business there and the topics handled in general. 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 Dr Robert Drobnič, discussing the topic of Regional Development Planning. He focused on the planning of regional development, implementation of national programs, implementation of EU programs and Social Entrepreneurship. Dr Drobnič continued with a lecture 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 the topic of the 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 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.

U-LEAD 7th Study visit