The legal basis for cooperation between Ukraine and the EU in the field of regional development, regional and cross-border cooperation was defined by provisions of Article 70 of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and the section “Cross-border and regional cooperation” of the Association Agenda.
The signing on 22 July 2009 of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Establishment of a Dialogue on Regional Policy between the Ministry of Regional Development and Construction of Ukraine and the European Commission contributed to the strengthening of the legal basis of cooperation in the field of regional development, regional and cross-border cooperation between Ukraine and the EU. The document envisaged the development of annual working programmes and a high level dialogue, information seminars on EU regional policy, study visits for representatives of local and regional authorities of Ukraine to EU regions, including within the framework of an annual European Week of Regions and Cities (OPEN DAYS).
After the signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU and the start of implementation of the relevant Title (Chapter 27 – Cross-Border and Regional Cooperation), areas related to the implementation of the State Strategy of Regional Development for the period until 2020, reforms on the decentralization of power, local self-government and administrative and territorial structure of Ukraine have become priority. Ukraine attaches great importance to the strengthening of cooperation with European partners in the framework of Cross-Border Cooperation Programmes, the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, cooperation in the Black Sea region.
The relevant provisions of the Association Agreement also provide for cooperation with EU institutions in the field of sustainable development, which directly influences the development of cooperation in the area of regional and spatial development between Ukraine and the EU. Among the potential forms of such cooperation are:
• establishing cooperation between local and regional authorities of Ukraine and the EU through contacts with the EU Committee of the Regions (CoR);
• facilitating the involvement of Ukrainian regions in activities of European regional associations, including the Assembly of European Regions, Council of European Municipalities and Regions, the Conference of European Regional Legislative Assemblies, Association of European Border Regions, the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions, the Conference of Presidents of Regions with Legislative Powers, the European Association of Elected Representatives from Mountain Areas and European Cities (EUROCITIES).
In order to exchange best practices in the field of decentralization, developing territorial cooperation and capacity building of cooperation at regional level, the EU Committee of the Regions established the Task Force on Ukraine on 12 February 2015.
The purpose of the Task Force is to facilitate the efforts of Ukraine aimed at establishing a fair division of powers, provide expertise on the decisions taken by Ukrainian local and regional authorities related to the implementation of Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, the involvement of local and regional authorities in cross-border and regional cooperation, development of border and coastal regions of Ukraine.
The first meeting of the Task Force resulted in the adoption of the Action Plan on Ukraine for the period 2015-2017. The next third meeting of the Task Force is scheduled for 30 June 2017 in Khyriv (Lviv Oblast).
As far as development of cross-border cooperation with EU Member States is concerned, one should also highlight the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation TISZA established in October 2015 by the Transcarpathian Oblast Council of Ukraine and the Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg Coutry of Hungary which is the first grouping created between the EU and non-EU countries.