Press Release, 13 November 2023, Brussels
ACT NOW Mayors’ Conference picks up on the EU Commission’s Enlargement Package for Ukraine
The ACT NOW Mayors’ Conference, hosted at the European Committee of the Regions, provided a unique platform for 150 mayors, local representatives, and experts for Ukraine and the EU to engage in a focused dialogue on the critical role of local governance in Ukraine’s ongoing reconstruction. This stands in alignment with conclusions of the recently published report on Ukraine’s EU accession process.
The Commission’s Communication emphasizes the achievements of the decentralization reform, with municipalities serving as a pillar of Ukrainian resilience. While acknowledging the successful finalization of the territorial part of decentralization, the report underscores the need to complete other reform elements. Particularly, the gradual restoration of local self-government in liberated territories and areas near the frontlines, contingent upon the security situation, is highlighted.
In this context, the ACT NOW Mayors’ Conference aligns with the recommendations of the European Commission, serving as a forum for mayors and representatives to share insights, discuss challenges, and explore effective strategies for rebuilding communities. This year’s conference focused on empowering local communities, driving economic development through local autonomy, and building bridges of trust. It also provided a platform for 70 Ukrainian mayors who were present, to stress the significance of enduring collaboration, underscoring the pivotal role played by the EU in supporting the country’s reconstruction efforts.
The conference featured distinguished speakers like Oleksandr Kubrakov, Deputy Prime Minister for Restoration of Ukraine, Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Germany), MEP Michael Gahler, Georg Milbradt, Special Envoy of the German Federal Government for the Decentralization Reform, Oleksandra Azarkhina, Deputy Minister of Development of Communities, Territories, Marlene Rosemarie Madsen, Deputy Director Ukraine Service, DG NEAR, European Commission Infrastructure of Ukraine, and Bastian Veigel, Programme Director of U-LEAD with Europe.
As a primary partner of the ACT NOW Mayors’ Conference, U-LEAD with Europe played a key role in shaping the dialogue and contributing to the conference’s success. U-LEAD’s long-lasting commitment to fostering Ukraine’s hromadas was evident throughout the event, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts in driving positive change. Helge Arends, Head of Communications of U-LEAD with Europe, expressed the organization’s dedication, stating, “Our partnership with the ACT NOW Mayors’ Conference underscores the shared commitment to empowering local leaders and building resilient communities and reflects the strong commitment of our main donors the European Union, Germany and Denmark to strong municipalities during war and reconstruction.”
“Harnessing the power of local self-government is paramount for Ukraine’s reconstruction. The ACT NOW Mayors’ Conference provides a platform for mayors to collaborate, exchange best practices, and drive positive change,” says Helfried Carl, Co-Founder of the Innovation in Politics Institute and Founder of the European Capital of Democracy (ECoD) initiative. “In our commitment to contributing to Ukraine’s renewal, this conference is just one step. Moreover, our special partnership with Kyiv, signed in September, ensures ongoing best practice exchange with other cities, solidifying a collective effort for sustainable development,” he adds.
About the ACT NOW Mayors’ Conference:
The ACT NOW Mayors’ Conference is an annual gathering to empower local leaders for positive change. By fostering collaboration and sharing best practices, the conference contributes to the reconstruction and renewal of cities, with a special focus on Ukraine.
The ACT NOW Mayors’ Conference 2023 is proud to collaborate with partners sharing our vision for empowering local democracy and driving positive change.
Lead conference partner U-LEAD:
The U-LEAD with Europe: Local Empowerment, Accountability and Development Programme is a multi-donor action of the EU and its member states Germany, Poland, Denmark and Slovenia to support Ukraine on its path to strengthening local self-government.
Featured conference partner: