Reader's Opinion | European municipalities' support for Ukraine is versatile and important

Ukrainian mayors hope that every Ukrainian region, city and village would have a counterpart in the EU.

Russian two years have passed since the large-scale attack on Ukraine, and unfortunately there is no end in sight to the war. The news highlights armed support and the escape front against Russia. On the anniversary of the war, it is worth reflecting on what we are doing as a wider society for a free future for Ukrainians.

In October 2023, the Eurobarometer survey of the Committee of the Regions representing EU cities and regions was published. According to it, 45 percent of EU local and regional politicians believe that cities and regions can participate in the reconstruction of Ukraine.

Support It has been comprehensive for Ukraine also in the more distant regions of Europe. Local residents and decision-makers have taken in those fleeing the war and mobilized money and supplies to support the Ukrainians.

The EU Committee of the Regions visited Ukraine twice last year, in Lviv and Kyiv. The committee got to know the local decision-makers and the plans for the reconstruction of Ukraine. The subject of the visit was also the decentralization reform of the administration, which strengthens local levels.

Above all, we heard Ukrainian mayors and community leaders. The mayors hope that every region, city and village in Ukraine would have a counterpart in the EU. A strategic twin city relationship means partnerships of people, experts, projects and business.

Municipalities' help can be very concrete.

of the EU Ambassador of Ukraine Katarina Mathernová has paid attention to the benefits of deepening cooperation between municipalities. Knowledge, experiences and information are exchanged in twin city relations.

Ukraine's local and regional authorities play a key role in both reconstruction and reforms related to EU membership. Examples of functioning local administration are important capital. Finnish municipalities have a lot to contribute to the capacity development of local authorities.

Municipalities' help can be very concrete. The city of Tampere accepted the proposal of the EU Committee of the Regions and Ukrainian mayors to organize summer camps for children in the city. In the middle of the war, children living in a constant state of stress can recover, play and get a break from stress at summer camps all over Europe. According to the analysis of the Save the Children organization, more than 600,000 Ukrainian children have returned to war-affected and war-front areas.

Prolonged at the edge of international conflicts, you sometimes feel hopeless. However, European cities and regions can significantly help Ukrainian local and regional governments as well as Ukrainian children. Aid can be given for emergency needs, reconstruction and reforms related to EU membership.

Niina Ratilainen

Member of the EU Committee of the Regions and chairman of the Green Group

The reader's opinions are speeches written by HS readers, selected and edited by the HS editorial board. You can leave an opinion piece or familiarize yourself with the principles of writing at the address www.hs.fi/kiryotamielipidekeisuis/.

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