Joining the panel on the “Reconstruction of Ukraine”
Localisation and decentralised cooperation represent a key turning point and positive approach within the democratic process in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. Yet, considering the ongoing invasion of Ukraine; the pressure that Moldova is facing also in terms of energy supply, or the war that Armenia had to face – just to mention a few – how would it be possible to overcome these challenges?
Starting a process of reconstruction, based on the resilience of Local Authorities, municipalities and citizens not only is a necessary condition but it also the path to follow when facing a crisis. Therefore, envisaging the role of each player involved in the reconstruction process firstly, and in the democratic one secondly, is essential to understand the current situation in the EaP region.
Right the day after the 11th annual meeting of the CORLEAP, the “Union of Towns and Municipalities of the Czech Republic” organised an international conference aimed at building bridges and connecting municipalities from the EU with those in the Eastern Partnership countries. As recalled by Petr Gandalovič, Director of Department of Development Aid, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Czech Republic, and moderator of the II Panel on the “Reconstruction of Ukraine”, “the four levels of the reconstruction have been represented: the international one; the national one; the one of the local municipalities and that of citizens”.
Reconstruction will take place locally, requiring a multistakeholder and multilevel approach
From a general perspective, the tremendous war and inhuman conditions that Ukraine is now facing, has to be understood in a broader context: “this is not only a regional war” – explained Jaroslav Kurfürst, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for European Issues. Hence, what is now happening has a spillover effect, involving different actors, from the Eastern Partnership, to the European Union, and the entire global system.
In addition, as recalled by Georg Ziegler, European Commission DG NEAR, the candidate status, as well as the financial stability have to be taken into account: Ukraine needs support so that to avoid inflation and any threat posed by an unstable financial situation.
If both at international and national levels authorities and governments are making a step forward, the local level has to be equally considered. “Ukraine made its choice” – stated Anatoliy Fedoruk, Bucha City Mayor, who together with Yana Litvinova, mayor of Starobilsk in the Luhansk Region, represented two municipalities of Ukraine. Exactly from the will of people, and the role that they play with municipalities that the reconstruction process has to begin. “I believe in our common, and I stress common, victory” concluded Mr. Fedoruk, emphasising the close involvement and support of the EU in this situation.
Finally, this vision was also shared by Antonella Valmorbida, ALDA Secretary General, who, recalling Maidan, stressed the importance of citizens as “drivers of the story”. Moreover, based on the successful examples of the Local Democracy Agencies, starting from those established right at the end of the war in the Balkans, Ms. Valmorbida advocated that “reconstruction will take place locally, requiring a multistakeholder and multilevel approach; working together for a common effort”.
The Panel took place in Liberec, Czech Republic on 4 November 2022. See the full agenda here