Victor Yushchenko spoke at a meeting of the Association of Ukrainian Cities and Communities to mark Local Self-Government Day, president's press office reported.

The President suggested holding a nationwide round table on reforms of local self-government. He said the Presidential Council of Ukrainian Mayors should help develop a "pragmatic concept" of this reform. 

“The Council must become a generator of major initiatives to institute municipal reforms,” he said.

Yushchenko believes these changes should accompany improvements within the system of central government.

“The system of local government needs to be reformed. This reform must be rational and consistent, and carried out with reform of central government or, at least, in harmony with it,” he said.

The President said it was necessary to address the following issues: 

  • giving more money to local budgets;
“In the discussion on how to fill local budgets, we must create a self-sufficient source of taxes and fees,” he said, suggesting imposing a real estate tax and including it in the list of local taxes.
  • legalizing the system of municipal property; Yushchenko said Ukraine had no law on municipal property and so urged the local authorities to prepare it.
“We aim to formulate the basics of this law, propose it to the Verkhovna Rada and support it in the version that benefits us,” he said.
  • resolving the problem of so-called internal communities;
“We face the paradox of rural communities having to obey city communities. It results in difficulties in the formation of local budgets and in the distribution of municipal property,” he said.
  • improving relations between local and central government;
The President said there was no mechanism of responsibility of local governments He urged them “to seek civilized ways” to resolve this problem.

Yushchenko criticized the idea of establishing executive committees in district and oblast councils. This can politicize problems facing local governments and trigger disagreements, he explained.

“This idea in its essence contradicts the spirit of local self-government,” he said. “I want local problems to be resolved by local communities.”

Following the speech, he presented awards to those who represent local self-government.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Viktor Bondar, deputies of the Secretariat chief of staff, attended the meeting.


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