Planned decentralization in Ukraine has nothing to do with federalization - Poroshenko
The planned decentralization of the Ukrainian governance system will have nothing in common with Ukraine's federalization, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said.
"The decentralization that we are devising will have nothing in common with federalization. Ukraine has been and will remain to be a unitary state. This fully meets the Ukrainian people's attitudes, and I've said that over 90% [of Ukrainians] firmly stand on the positions of a unitary state," Poroshenko said at an expanded government meeting in Kyiv on Wednesday.
Decentralization is among the most important aspects of the reforms, he said.
"I want to warn right away that there are a number of issues to which decentralization won't apply in any way and where the center's role would even be increased rather than reduced. This concerns defense. We won't have any delegation of the right to defend the country to anyone, and we won't have any local battalions, divisions, local militia, and other nonsense. This also concerns national security, foreign policy, and the fight against corruption," he said.
"As concerns decentralization, there is an absolute consensus that we need to delegate significant powers to territorial communities. The decentralization has already been started through amendments to the Budget Code, as we transfer money, its sources, and responsibility to territorial communities," he said.
Poroshenko stressed that decentralization will be conducted using relevant international experience. "International experts and advisers are working here. Poland's model has been taken as a basis," he added.
The president said he had submitted a bill amending the constitution to the Verkhovna Rada, which should be elaborated on and presented for passage in the second reading.
Poroshenko said he hoped that new people with new powers, "both budget, and those resulting from the relevant constitutional amendments," will be elected in next local elections. He said the amendments will concern not only budget but also tax regulations.