"No matter what it takes, no matter how long it takes, you are not alone", President Cordeiro tells Ukraine's President Zelenskyy and the country's local and regional leaders.
Ukraine's president and the country's national, local and regional leaders can count on the enduring support of cities and regions in the European Union, the President of the European Committee of the Regions, Vasco Alves Cordeiro, told Ukraine's Congress of Local and Regional Authorities on 4 March. President Cordeiro stressed the importance of Ukraine's local and regional governments to the reconstruction of Ukraine, suggesting that they could be in the "vanguard of development" in Ukraine.
The meeting was convened and addressed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and brought Ukraine's government – including Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal – together with mayors and governors from across Ukraine and some international partners. Topics ranged from the security situation across the country to re-build infrastructure, particularly Ukraine's energy infrastructure, which Russia has tried to destroy systematically.
In a video message, President Cordeiro (PT/PES) said: "No matter what it takes, no matter how long it takes, you are not alone. Through the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for the Reconstruction of Ukraine, we are working not only to promote peer-to-peer cooperation, but also to stress that in the reconstruction effort you must pay attention to the contribution that local and regional governments can bring to an effective and more efficient reconstruction. This is a time when communities in Ukraine can be put in the vanguard of development, using the latest trends in energy, in digital, for example, to promote progress. And, on accession to the EU, we, the European Committee of the Regions, are committed to help you to do whatever it takes for this to be a successful endeavour."
The European Alliance of Cities and Regions for the Reconstruction of Ukraine was launched in June 2022, bringing together many Ukrainian and European local and regional associations and authorities. It forms part of the broader EU and international effort to mobilise and coordinate emergency and long-term support for Ukraine. The European Committee of the Regions is providing the secretariat for the Alliance.
The CoR's role in the Alliance forms part of a ten-point plan adopted by the CoR. In his message to Ukraine's Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, President Cordeiro drew specific attention to the CoR's plans to grant Ukraine's local and regional authorities observer status at the CoR and "to be in our meetings and in our work", including participation in the CoR's outreach programme to young politicians. Among other actions intended to facilitate Ukraine's accession to the EU, the CoR envisages creating training and secondment opportunities for Ukrainian civil servants and providing office space in Brussels for local and regional authorities from Ukraine.