European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Mrs Danuta Hübner, is visiting Ukraine from 4 to 6 October to discuss co-operation with Ukraine on regional development and to participate in the VI International Economic Forum in Lviv.

The Commissioner was supposed to  meet Prime Minister Yanukovych, as well as a number of Cabinet members, including Minister for Foreign Affairs, Boris Tarasyuk, Minister of Economy, Volodymir Makukha and Deputy Prime Minister for Regional Policy Volodymyr Rybak.  The Commissioner will call upon the new Ukrainian government to continue the political and economic reform process, including administrative and territorial reform.  She will reconfirm the EC's  support in improving local development capacities and furthering regional sustainable development in Ukraine. 

"The next generation of regional policy programmes 2007 - 2013 should allow for enhanced cooperation between the EU and Ukrainian regions", said Commissioner Hübner. "Ukrainian regions could benefit from the experience built by neighbouring European regions. Countries such as Poland or Hungary will have for the first time programmes designed and implemented at regional level. Ukrainian regions could monitor this experience. They should also benefit from renewed regional dynamism at their borders", said Danuta Hübner yesterday at the VI International Economic Forum in Lviv, organised jointly by Lviv Region and Association of European Regions.

The Forum is dedicated to the role of cross-border co-operation among European regions in economic development and will bring together high-level representatives from various European regions from Central and Eastern Europe. Commissioner Hübner's intervention focused on the role of the EU in furthering links between regions in the EU and counterparts in its wider neighbourhood. The Commissioner, furthermore, had discussions with regional and local authorities of the Lviv Region.

During the second day of her visit Commissioner Hübner had talks with the Ukrainian Prime Minister Yanukovych and with several Cabinet members. The Commissioner sought further reassurances on the continuation of the regional reform process in Ukraine and progress in the implementation of the provisions concerning regional development in the EU-Ukraine Action Plan was discussed. 

The Commission and the Ukrainian authorities are currently launching a major programme in regional development using TACIS funds. Therefore the Commissioner discussed with the Ukrainian authorities new venues to promote mutual understanding and bilateral cooperation in the field of regional policy with the objective to establish channels of communication enhancing exchange of information. The reduction of regional imbalances and the improvement of local development - therefore improving local governance - are among the main objectives of the EU-Ukraine Action Plan of 2005.


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