Olha Stefanyshyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, has opened the first regional office of European Integration in Ukraine in Kherson.
“Today, the ‘decentralization’ of European integration begins from Kherson, which should spread to all regions of Ukraine. The network of regional offices will help create effective platforms for dialogue and cooperation of foreign partners, civil society and local authorities, so that the benefits of European integration are tangible and noticeable in every area, every city and town,” the press service of the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine quoted Stefanyshyna as saying.
The key activities of the regional office of European integration are the following: cultural and educational projects, in particular the dissemination of knowledge about the European course of Ukraine among schoolchildren and students; increasing business contacts between entrepreneurs of Kherson region and EU member states; implementation of the Association Agreement; achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular gender equality.
“The European Integration Office in Kherson is the first of the European integration units, which is close to the Crimean peninsula. It is very important that everyone who comes to Kherson region across the administrative border with Crimea can take advantage of European integration, receive advice and practical information about the course of Ukraine in the EU and its advantages and opportunities,” noted Stefanyshyna.
The Deputy Prime Minister also stressed the importance of forming a wide network of regional offices of European integration in Ukraine.
“Kherson region is the first among the regions where offices for European integration will operate, but we already observe interest from other regions of Ukraine. Khmelnytsky, Dnipropetrovsk and Poltava regions are in touch with us today to learn from the successful experience of opening regional offices and extend this example to their regions,” she said.
The Ukrainian government is planning to open European integration offices in all regions, as is evident from the government action program, whose text is published on the Verkhovna Rada website.
“The government will ensure the establishment of European integration offices in all regions of Ukraine, with the primary focus on the southern and eastern regions, to make European integration advantages closer to the people and businesses at the local level,” the document said.
It intends to attain this primarily through fostering cultural and educational projects, contacts, and also economy and infrastructure involving the EU’s investments and financial assistance, it said.
The government is confident that an emphasis on “regionalization of Euro-integration” would help direct extra resources to provinces so that their residents could feel immediate advantages from Ukraine’s course toward integration with the EU, the document said.
The Ukrainian legislation should adopt at least 80% of the EU acts envisioned by the Association Agreement.
“Among the results of these measures would be consistent growth in support from Ukrainian citizens of our country’s integration with Europe,” it said.
The government said it is determined to make dialogue with the EU instrumental in fostering “growth of direct investment in Ukraine from companies from the European Union and an increase in the EU’s financial assistance for Ukraine.”