Ukraine: “all” EU regions and cities urged to help
The European Committee of the Regions has urged “all local and regional governments in the European Union to support Ukraine in these times of need” and supported Ukrainian cities’ call for “the hardest possible sanctions to be imposed on the government of the Russian Federation”.
The declaration was adopted on the eve of a European Summit of Regions and Cities that will, on 3-4 March, bring together more than 2,000 representatives of regional and local authorities, ranging from regional governors to local councillors and including the 329 members of the European Committee of the Regions.
The declaration, which also expresses support for a stronger “European perspective” for Ukraine, calls for local and regional authorities in the EU “to help the Ukrainian people forced to flee their homes across European cities and regions”. The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) itself pledged “to mobilise cities and regions' capacities for humanitarian aid to be delivered to Ukraine at its mayors' request”.
The European Commission’s president, Ursula Von Der Leyen, said on 1 March that the EU will provide at least €500 million in humanitarian aid. The CoR welcomed the support [note: this presumes an amendment in the declaration], emphasising at the same time the importance of delivering support to EU regions bordering Ukraine “in order to help the authorities to welcome and assist refugees”.
Kyiv, Kharkhiv and Mariupol are among the Ukrainian cities with which the CoR has worked over the years. The president of the European Committee of the Regions, Apostolos Tzitzkikostas, spoke with the mayor of Kyiv, Vitaly Klitschko, on 24 February, the day after Russian launched its invasion.
The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) began cooperation with Ukrainian regions and cities in 2010, following the EU’s creation of the Eastern Partnership, and in 2015 the CoR established a task-force to support Ukraine’s process of decentralisation. Prior to the invasion, the CoR was also supporting the European Union’s anti-corruption initiative in Ukraine, by developing city partnerships focused on governance.