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  • 1

    REPORT

    CONTRIBUTION OF LOCAL AND

    REGIONAL AUTHORITIES TO THE

    DEVELOPMENT OF THE EASTERN

    PARTNERSHIP

    FRAMEWORK AND OPPORTUNITIES

    The report was written by Aston Centre for Europe Aston University (Authors: Dr Nathaniel Copsey and Dr Carolyn Rowe)

    It does not represent the official views of the Committee of the Regions.

    Aston Centre for Europe Aston University Birmingham B4 7ET United Kingdom W: www.aston.ac.uk T: +44 121 204 5170

  • 2

  • 3

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    SECTION

    PAGE

    SUMMARY P. 5 INTRODUCTION p. 7

    PART 1

    Local and Regional Involvement in the Eastern Partnership

    p. 9

    The Eastern Partnership (EaP) in detail p. 10 Content of the EaP

    p. 14

    Added-Value of the EaP

    p. 15

    The Bi-lateral Track of the EAP

    p. 16

    The Multi-Lateral Track of the EaP

    p. 18

    Implications for Local and Regional Authorities in the EaP countries

    p. 21

    Future perspectives on the EaP from the local and regional point of view

    p. 23

    The European Commission and EEAS Approach to the EaP

    p. 26

    Conditionality and the Commission EEAS Approach

    p. 27

    National Approaches to the EaP: The view of the partner countries

    p. 29

    ARMENIA

    p. 29

    AZERBAIJAN

    p. 32

    BELARUS

    p. 36

    GEORGIA

    p. 41

    MOLDOVA

    p. 45

    UKRAINE

    p. 49

    National Approaches to the EaP: Overall Summary and Assessment p. 53

  • 4

    PART 2

    Policy Options for the CoR and CORLEAP

    p. 55

    What can CORLEAP do to strengthen local self-government and local democracy?

    p. 56

    A long-term action plan is required

    p. 57

    Establishing a role for CORLEAP in the region a question of actorness

    p. 63

    What can CORLEAP do to increase cooperation between the local authorities and civil society in the EaP countries?

    p. 65

    What can CORLEAP do to increase cross-border cooperation?

    p. 67

    PART 3

    Inventory of Local and Regional Initiatives in the EaP area

    p. 67

    Projects supporting cooperation between local authorities and civil society in the EaP countries

    p. 68

    Projects supporting the strengthening of local self government and democracy in the EaP countries

    p. 73

    Projects facilitating cross-border cooperation and learning

    p. 77

    Analysis of EU financial assistance programmes open to local and regional

    authority partners in the EaP countries

    p. 82

    Baltic Sea CBC Programme

    p. 82

    Lithuania Latvia Belarus CBC Programme

    p. 88

    CUIDAD: Case Study for Ukraine (and Belarus)

    p. 91

    Twinning Assistance - Case Study for Ukraine

    p. 97

    Twinning Assistance: Case Study for Azerbaijan

    p. 104

    CUIDAD: Case Study for Moldova (and Ukraine)

    p. 111

    References

    p.117

  • 5

    SUMMARY

    This report offers an insight into the contribution of local and regional

    authorities to the development of the EUs Eastern Partnership. It sets this

    out firstly by analysing the state of play within the EaP of the local and

    regional dimension, considering the manner in which local and regional

    perspectives are included in the various arenas of debate that support the

    EaP agenda. This section acts as an inventory of needs; that is, the report

    offers a nuanced analysis of the EaP at the EU level and at the level of the

    partner countries, assessing the key areas of concern and setting out clearly

    the primary issues of interest for local and regional governance that CoR

    and CORLEAP engagement with the EaP can seek to address.

    To summarize the needs of CORLEAPs members across the EaP countries:

    Whilst there are clearly a number of country-specific issues which

    hinder the full achievement of the EaPs goals, there are also a set of

    common factors which slow the development of local and regional

    democracy across the Eastern Partner countries. These issues form a

    cluster of lobby points, which the CoR and CORLEAP can address as

    top priority concerns in their own political work. They include:

    Insufficient governmental autonomy and limited financial capacity;

    The slow pace of development of deep local democracy, including

    citizen participation;

    Limited awareness of the financial assistance mechanisms available

    to local and regional authorities in the Eastern Partner countries

    from EU programmes.

    Secondly, the report then considers the engagement of the CoR and more

    specifically, CORLEAP in the EaP process, analysing where this interaction

    is most effective, considering how this relationship can in future be

    reshaped to work even more constructively with the various avenues open

    to local and regional perspectives in the EaP. This section argues that the

    CORLEAP needs to fulfil four roles:

  • 6

    (1) A strategic thinker: drawing up long-term plans about where

    local and regional government should be heading, with a road-map

    for implementation;

    (2) A timely intervener: both at the EU and MS level to ensure that

    development assistance goes towards local and regional democracy

    promotion projects;

    (3) A skilful advocate:

    o Making a convincing case for a role for local and regional

    government in drafting territorial reforms;

    o Developing an inside track both to the European institutions

    (particularly the Commission and EEAS) and the national

    governments of the Eastern Partnership;

    o Making the case for decentralization of competences; both

    policy-making and fiscal competences;

    (4) A high performance cheerleader: showing how to build a high

    performance culture at the local and regional level with a focus on

    improving the training and skills set of local and regional government

    officials.

    Finally, the report offers an overview of areas of local and regional

    cooperation with Eastern Partners, and an assessment of how EU funding

    regimes have been used to underpin actions to improve, enhance and

    develop further local and regional governance in the EaP partner countries.

    This assessment offers scope to understand the real contribution of EU

    assistance at the local and regional level, and showcases instances of best

    practice, which could be replicated across other partner states.

  • 7

    INTRODUCTION

    The Eastern Partnership (EaP) offers new scope for European Union actors

    to engage with a wide set of actors across the wider Europe to connect in a

    process of democratic consolidation that can positively impact on the

    future of the continent.

    The CoR, through its actions, forums, Opinions and, importantly, through

    the new formal vehicle of the Conference of the Regional and Local

    Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP), has a strong

    opportunity to engage with the ongoing efforts of the European Union to

    promote democratic understanding and market transformation in the EaP

    countries.

    The EaP was originally formulated as an intergovernmental partnership,

    launched in 2009. However, it was clear from the outset that a wider set of

    stakeholders needed to be engaged in the EaP framework, if it were to

    achieve its overarching objectives.

    The CoR worked to set up a body which would act as an inter-institutional

    platform for dialogue between stakeholders, local and regional

    communities of the EU and of the EaP countries. CORLEAP (established

    September 2011) has already set out a strong basis for cooperation

    between local and regional authorities, providing a valuable component to

    the framework of the EaP, offering as it does a real means for better

    connecting national authorities and the citizens they serve.

    Now that the start-up phase has been completed, and CORLEAP is

    furnished with a bureau structure and a strong political leadership, it needs

    now to develop its activity profile further, in line with the global EaP

    framework. CORLEAP clearly needs to develop both a political dimension

    to its activities, and to establish a clear set of objectives which can be

    delivered through concerted political actions undertaken by both national

    governments and local and regional governments. This must be based on

    the experience of local and regional partners in the EaP countries. At the

    same time, CORLEAP also has a very clear operational dimension; that is,

  • 8

    through its ongoing activities as a platform for debate, discussion and the

    exchange of perspectives and expertise, it facilitates and fosters stronger

    local and regional cooperation with partnership countries. This is a

    particularly important element of its remit in the run-up to the 2013

    summit.

    This report offers an insight into the contribution of local and regional

    authorities to the development of the EUs Eastern Partnership. It sets this

    out firstly by analysing the state of play within the EaP of the local and

    regional dimension, considering the manner in which local and regional

    perspectives are included in the various arenas of debate that support the

    EaP agenda. This section acts as an inventory of needs; that is, the report