The legal basis for cooperation between Ukraine and the EU in the field of regional development, regional and cross-border cooperation is defined by provisions of the Association Agreement between Ukraine, on the one hand, and the European Union, the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, on the other hand (2014), in particular Chapter 27 “Cross-Border and regional cooperation” of Title V “Economic and Sector Cooperation” thereof.
Practical cooperation between Ukraine and the EU in the field of regional development, today, focuses on the following areas:
Practical regional cooperation of Ukraine with the EU
Ukraine continues to cooperate with the EU in the framework of the Task Force on Decentralization established by the EU Committee of the Regions in 2015 with aim to intensify bilateral relations as well as political and technical support to Ukraine’s reform of local government and territorial organisation. During its 6th meeting (February 12-14, 2019, Brussels) the participants discussed the progress of the reforms, strengthening of the rule of law and local democracy in Ukraine, prospects for capacity building cooperation at the local and regional levels.
Representatives of Ukraine are members of the Conference of Regional and Local Authorities of the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP). Its 9th meeting took place on September 12, 2019 in Turku (Finland). It focused on how cities and regions can contribute to the EU's Eastern Partnership, on building of the administrative capacity of local and regional authorities in the EaP and promoting of people-to-people contacts across borders.
The Ukrainian side is actively involved in the work of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region and the Danube Transnational Programme. During 2019-2020 representatives of Ukraine took part in a joint meetings of Priority Area Coordinators and National Coordinators of the Danube Strategy, in the annual Forums of the Danube Strategy, as well as in High-level meetings on the implementation of the EU macro-regional strategies.
Ukraine supports the initiative to create a new EU macro-regional strategy for the Carpathian region, which aims to promote the development of the Carpathian macro-region, taking into account its unique natural and cultural heritage and internal development potential. In September 2018, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and Hungary signed a Declaration of Intent to establish a new EU macro-regional strategy for the Carpathian region. In October 2018 the comprehensive proposal on the initiative was submitted to the European Commission. In February 2020, the Carpathian Executive Council was established at the level of representatives of the governments of the Carpathian region to promote the initiative. The initiative was also discussed during International Conference "Carpathian Europe" on February 21-22, 2020 in Krasiczyn (Poland) with participation of the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine V.Krykliy and during the on-line High-level meeting on October 14, 2020 with participation of Deputy Minister for Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine I.Korhovyi.
Ukraine also participates in four Cross-border cooperation programmes of the European Neighborhood Instrument 2014-2020 (ENI CBC programmes) in accordance with the agreements concluded between the Government of Ukraine and the EC in December 2016, in particular: "Poland - Ukraine - Belarus", "Black Sea Basin", "Ukraine - Romania ”and“ Hungary - Slovakia - Romania - Ukraine ”.
On January 28-29, 2020 (Brussels), the Ukrainian delegation took part in the first annual Conference of CBC Programmes within the framework of European Territorial Cooperation for 2021-2027 (Interreg NEXT). In the new programming period, Ukraine intends to continue its participatinon in the four mentioned CBC programmes.
The Joint Document presented by the European Commission on the formation of future CBC programmes notes the strategic importance of closer cooperation between EU member-states and Ukraine within the following priority areas: environment (in particular, access to clean drinking water), sustainable transport, energy education, health and culture, economic and tourism cooperation, and resolving of cross-border problems in various sectors.
In 2021-2027, Interreg NEXT CBC programmes at the EU's external borders with partners from neighbouring countries will receive funding from two sources - the Neighborhood and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The specific budgets of the new programmes are expected to be determined after the EU Multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027 is adopted.