How to complete decentralisation in 2020: plan A and plan B
In 2020, there should be fundamental changes in the local self-government system and in the administrative and territorial structure of the country.
Minimum plan for November 2019 - January 2020
It seems that by the end of this year, most of the decentralisation decisions will not be taken by the Government and Parliament, but rather prepared. However, at least two important laws are still to be considered by the Verkhovna Rada by the end of this session (ending in January 2020).
First, at this session, the deputies should consider amendments to the Constitution regarding decentralisation in the first reading.
The second important law to be adopted at this parliamentary session is the Law “On the Principles of the Administrative and Territorial Structure”.
It should be reminded that perspective plans for the formation of territories of hromadas in the oblasts, which are currently being updated and refined by the oblast state administrations, will be the basis of the future administrative and territorial structure.
In addition, MinRegion plans to develop a Methodology for the formation of social infrastructure networks by the end of 2020 and, accordingly, to approve models of social infrastructure networks. This network will be taken into account when creating perspective plans.
2020: plan А
The main plan for the completion of the reform in 2020 is as follows: the Verkhovna Rada adopts the Constitutional amendments in the first reading by the end of this session (by the end of January 2020). In its second reading and finally, the Parliament adopts these changes as early as in February 2020 – that is, at the beginning of the next session. Thereafter, the Government and Parliament make all other necessary decisions that follow from the amendments to the Constitution. This should be done before the next local election to take place on a new, decentralised basis of hromadas and rayons by October 2020 at the latest. That is, the Central Election Commission (CEC) should announce this election by the end of next summer at the latest.
What decisions should be made after the amendments to the Constitution? Here is a list of the main ones:
- Law on Prefects.
- New version of the Law “On Local Self-Government in Ukraine”.
- Law on Administrative and Territorial Structure.
- Amendments to the Budget and Tax Codes.
- New Law “On Service in Local Self-Government Bodies”.
- Amendments to local election legislation.
It takes at least a few more months to implement the changes – so the schedule is almost close to the end of summer, when the CEC is to announce local election on a new territorial basis.
We hope that this plan will be implemented in the next year.
All of the above decisions, except, of course, establishment of prefectures, theoretically, can be made without amendments to the Constitution in the same terms. But then the government system in the country will remain under-reformed. There will be no effective local self-government at the rayon and oblast level, since rayon and oblast councils will still not have executive bodies and will transfer most of their powers to local state administrations. This is illogical and contrary to the European norms. But under such conditions, Ukrainian self-government has been in operation for decades, so a major catastrophe should not happen if this system remains for some time.
However, in the absence of prefects, it will be necessary to somehow address the state supervision over the legality of local self-government decisions.
No matter how imperfect plan B is, the main thing is that it exists. And this makes us hope that in all circumstances in a year the whole country will live in a decentralised system of governance.
The material was prepared within the framework of the project of the Ukrainian Association of Rayon and Oblast Councils “Modeling of the Administrative and Territorial Structure at Subregional Level”, implemented with the support of the Council of Europe Programme “Decentralisation and Local Government Reform in Ukraine”.
The views expressed in the material are those of its authors and cannot under any circumstances be taken to reflect the official position of the Council of Europe.
The full version is available in Ukrainian – please click HERE
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