Deputy Secretariat Chief of Staff Viktor Bondar met with Halvdan Skard, President of the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, on Monday, president's press office reported.

Bondar said President Yushchenko sought to develop Ukraine’s “constructive ties” with the Council of Europe. He added that the Congress played a vital role in the development of the effective system of local self-government in Ukraine.

Speaking about the current political situation, Bondar said Ukraine was going through a “difficult phase” of constitutional reform, adding that President Yushchenko was ready to compromise with the country’s leading political forces to balance powers, both in the center and in the regions, and urged administrative reform.

Bondar said Ukraine had signed the European Charter of Local Self-Government ten years ago, describing this document and its provisions as a “milestone”  for local and regional democracy.

He also said interregional and border cooperation was important to develop Ukraine’s local self-government and thanked the Council of Europe for its efforts to “increase the number of instruments and opportunities to boost border  cooperation.”

He said it was one of the priorities for Ukraine’s government to improve and develop laws regulating local self-government.

“We must have the courage to change the system of government in Ukraine and give more powers to local authorities,” he said, adding that the Congress should help and support our country in its bid to reform local self-government to benefit “both Ukraine and Europe.”


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