The first political meeting of the Alliance was organized on 29 November 2022, where a joint view on the urgent needs was adopted by European and Ukrainian regions and cities. The last political level meeting has taken place in Brussels on 6 July 2023. In all these meetings AEBR President has taken active part.
The 2nd Political Level meeting of this Alliance took place at the premises of the CoR in Brussels on 6 July 2023 . The main topic for discussion was the result of the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London, the strategic outlook of the Alliance and some examples of reconstruction needs and plans from the fround. This is the CoR press release and here you can find the official photos taken at the event.
The war continues, but the expected Blitzkrieg seems to become a prolonged conflict that could also have very adverse effects on Putin’s regime (and the rest of Europe). Ukraine resists, and the international community is becoming more united in supporting the Ukrainian people and establishing sanctions against Russia and Russian interests.
AEBR TFEB back in Ukraine
On 6 June 2023, AEBR Task Force External Borders met on-site in Ukraine after a long time. The Transcarpathian Region hosted AEBR TFEB in Uzhhorod, led by Satu Sikanen, Regional Mayor of South Karelia (FI) and coordinated by Johannes Moisio.
From left to right: Martín Guillermo Ramírez, AEBR Secretary General; Tetyana Ehorova-Lutsenkо, Head of Kharkiv Regional Council; Satu Sikanen, Regional Mayor of South Karelia; Bohdan Andriyiv, Uzhhorod City Mayor; Volodymyr Chubirko, Head of Zakarpattia Regional Council
And our Info Center in Kharkiv keeps on being very active. Eduard Syromolot works from Kharkiv, and Nataliia Gavkalova from Poland. The current action plan of the Info Center aims to strengthen its institutional sustainability and develop its competencies as a living laboratory of territorial and cross-border cooperation. The main focus will be on sociological research, planning the renewal of regional and local policies in the conditions of war and post-war, preparing thematic educational programs for civil servants in local and regional authorities.
the creation on 5 June of a subcommittee for the development of cooperation between territorial communities and regions at the Ukrainian Parliament;
the Chairman of this subcomittee, MP Oleksandr Aliksiichuk, presented draft amendments to “Some Laws of Ukraine on Improving the Participation of Local Self-Government in Cross-Border Cooperation”, namely the Laws on Local Self-Government, on the Principles of State Regional Policy, on Local State Administrations, and on Cross-Border Cooperation;
On this link you will find an article (in Ukrainian) with attached files with tables including the proposed amendments;
most relevant amendment is the introduction of various types of CBC (territorial cooperation): interregional, inter-territorial, CBC and Euroregions; it also incluses the registration of every agreement at the Ministry, which provoked lively discussions, as there are already legal frameworks like the Madrid Outline Convention and its additional protocols.
The AEBR Info Centre in Kharkiv will be 10 years old next 12 November, and we are planning an activity to celebrate their work during a very complicated decade. We would also launch some initiatives to increase awareness and research about CBC activities in Ukraine, and thus contribute to the Ukrainian
This meeting is addressed to mayors… and it clashes with AEBR Annual Events in Kosice. However, it might be of interest for some mayors and/or their representatives. The ACT NOW Mayors’ Conference 2023: Spirit Unbroken will take place in Brussels on 8-10 November 2023. Click here for more information and the registration link.
This conference aims to bring together distinguished contributors to collaborate, share insights, and develop sustainable strategies for building stronger, more resilient communities.
“Embracing the unbroken spirit of the country, the conference also aims to empower local leaders, inspire fruitful partnerships and enhance cooperation between European and Ukrainian municipalities, contributing to Ukraine’s EU accession journey. Furthermore, it will help to equip local leaders with the essential skills and methods needed to drive the reconstruction process.”
We would also like to draw your attention to the CoR’s Info-Support Hub for Regions and Cities and the Cities4Cities initiative by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities at the Council of Europe. A similar initiative could be initiated by border or cross-border regions in Europe.
On 19 May, MEPs discussed the prosecution of Russian war crimes and genocide in Ukraine, energy security after Russia’s invasion and the recent cuts in the gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria.
Also on 18 May, the commission detailed a relief and reconstruction plan for Ukraine, while Moldovan president Maia Sandu addressed MEPs on the war in Ukraine and its consequences.
And, on 18 May too, the Commission put forward the RePowerEU plan, which aims to help the diversification of fossil fuel imports in the bloc, as the EU aims to get rid of its dependence on Russian energy supplies, starting with the gas. The Parliament’s trade committee also voted to lift all import duties on any product coming from Ukraine in an effort to help the country’s economy.
On Tuesday 17 May, defence ministers also talked about Russia and their coordinated efforts.
Also on 16 May 2022, foreign ministers from the Western Balkan countries were invited for lunch with their EU colleagues to calm certain uncertainties in the region. Namely, that the accession of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia would not mean a setback for the region with aspiring countries.
During the first months after the Russian agression, every 2-3 weeks, major European associations of regions and municipalities met under the coordination of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities to coordinate efforts and get updated information through Ukrainian partners such as the Association of Ukrainian Cities. Besides coordinating support to Ukrainian cities and regions, there was a follow-up of abducted mayors whose whereabouts were unknown.
While paving the way for reconstruction when the war is over, there is a need to unite efforts to support most urgent needs, such as power generators and heating equipment. This is the CoR’s and Commission’s joint appeal to cities and regions, and this is the letter to cities and regions signed by the Commission and the CoR asking for more donations of energy items, and informing about the Commission’s “resEU energy hub” in Poland to receive and channel donations to Ukraine, with available door-to-door transport financed by the Union: ECHO-Donations@ec.europa.eu
The top priority for replenishment is the autotransformers fleet. The amount of other damaged primary equipment (high voltage circuit breakers, disconnectors, surge arresters, measurement transformers, and shunt reactors) is tremendous as well. Another priority is relay protection and automation devices.
Besides the humanitarian crisis, there are complicated components related to the economy, European energy dependence, and geostrategic aspects, among others. Even the traditionally neutral Finland and Sweden have joined NATO.