Effective regional policy can boost growth, experts say

EU Regional development programmes have proved to be efficient tool to boost growth and prosperity

Andrew Rasbash, head of co-operation of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, and Ronald Hall, principal adviser at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy, at the international forum on Regional Development and State Regional Policy in Ukraine
Andrew Rasbash, head of co-operation of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, and Ronald Hall, principal adviser at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy, at the international forum on Regional Development and State Regional Policy in Ukraine

This was one of the main messages delivered by Ronald Hall, Principal Adviser at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy, on 26-27 November at the International Forum on Regional Development and State Regional Policy in Ukraine.

Hall says that the EU model of delivering growth through integrated regional development programmes, focused on the strengths and weaknesses of the territories, could also be applied in Ukraine.

At times of global challenges and economic hardships this approach could bring citizens’ life to a new level. However, in order to achieve this goal high-skilled assistance and support is needed, the expert says.

The EU has been supporting Ukraine in development of its regional policies and strategies for more than 10 years, Anatoliy Maksiuta, Ukraine’s First Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister, reminds. “Thanks to EU support, 82 projects of technical assistance for regional development in the fields of environment protection, border management, energy efficiency, health care, education, etc. are being implemented in Ukraine,” Maksiuta stressed.

Andrew Rasbash, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, presented EU Cooperation programmes on Regional Development.

The Support to Ukraine’s Regional Development programme (overall budget 31 million) provides assistance to policy makers on national/regional level and provides also significant funds for the implementation of very concrete projects in Ukrainian regions and municipalities.

Further, the EU has recently decided to make additionally €55 million available for a Budget Support to Regional Policy. These funds will be provided to the UkrainianState budget and could also be used for the implementation of concrete regional development projects and programmes during a 4-5 years period, he said.

The EU’s support to Ukraine is bearing fruit, according to Rasbash. He welcomed the adoption by Ukraine of State Regional Development Strategy for 2020. On the other hand, he noted a strong need in proceeding with the Law on Fundamentals of State Regional Policy, which is currently being considered by Verkhovna Rada. Further, the Strategy needs to be followed by an Action Plan/Operational Programme, covering a period of at least four years. This Action Plan has to define clear annual targets, measured by objectively verifiable indicators. The EU Financial Assistance, provided within the Budget support, will be linked to the achievements of these indicators.

“There was great progress in last years, but the coming year will be very challenging,” he concluded.

 

Background

A two-day International Forum “Regional Development and State Regional Policy in Ukraine: Status and perspectives of changes in the context of global challenges and European best practice” was held on 26-27 November 2013 in Kyiv.

The forum provided an opportunity to discuss issues related to the main challenges and prospects of state regional policy and strategy in Ukraine, for over 200 participants from Ukraine and abroad. During the event, two extensive research studies on the status and prospects for change of Ukrainian regional development policy were presented and discussed with the audience: The OECD Territorial Review and the Analytical Review of the Support to Ukraine’s Regional Development project.

The EU-funded “Support to Ukraine’s Regional Development Policy” project was launched in January 2013 and will operate until July 2016. The programme’s overall objective is to contribute to the social, economic and territorial cohesion of Ukraine.

Implementation of the project will assist Ukraine’s authorities and other stakeholders in developing and implementing effective regional development policies. The programme’s overall budget is €31 million.

For further information please visit: www.surdp.eu