From 13 to 17 January this year, the General Secretary of the Association of European Border Regions, Mr. Martin Guillemo Ramerez, visited Ukraine (Kiev, Odessa, Izmail) to have discussions with the Cabinet of Ministers, the Verkhovna Rada and the Odessa Regional Council about the issues related to the development of cross-border cooperation between Ukraine and the European Union, as well as the topics of the Assembly of Ukrainian border regions and Euro regions in 2020 in the “Lower Danube” Euro region.

The visit was initiated by the Information Centre of the Association of European Border Regions at Kuznets Kharkiv National Economic University (KKNEU) (the head is Mr. Eduard Syromoloth) and the “Bessarabia Development Centre” Public Organization represented by its co-founder and patron Mr. Victor Kurtiev. The programme of the visit consists of a number of official meetings, both with representatives of the State and local government bodies and with the leaders of public organizations and cross-border associations.

On the first day, Mr. Martin Guillermo Ramírez, as well as the delegation’s expert on spatial development and strategic change, Mrs. Kaitriona Mulan, met with the First Deputy Minister on Development of Ukraine’s Highlands and Territories, Mr. Dmitry Zhivitsky.

In interviews, the General Secretary of the Association of European Border Regions reported that the current sponsorship period for European grant programmes was coming to an end, and the next one would start in a year and would last until 2027. Mr. Ramirez explained that he intended to support Ukraine’s interests in the planning of the programme budget. The meeting with Mr. Dmitry Zhivitsky lasted for almost an hour; during that time, the parties expressed their wishes, shared useful new information and concluded the meeting by expressing their hope for a fruitful cooperation that would be of interest and benefit to all parties.

The next meeting of the European Leader took place in the Cabinet of the Chairman of the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the Organization of State Power, Local Self-government, Regional Development and Urban Development, Mr. Andrey Klochko. The members of the delegation expressed their plans and vision for partnership with the European transborder regions. During the communication, the parties reached an absolute understanding and got support of a representative of the parliamentary committee. It was agreed that the initiators of cooperation represented by the “Bessarabia Development Centre” and the Information Centre of the Association of European Border Regions under the KKNEU shall prepare definite proposals to be considered by the State Organization Committee of the Verkhovna Rada, Local self-government, regional development and urban development. Should the result is positive, the representatives of Parliament promise real support.

Mr. Viktor Kurtev, an initiator and the main organizer of a visit to the Assembly of Ukrainian Border Regions and Euroregions in Dresden (Germany) at the end of October last year, where he met personally with the Secretary-General of the said Assembly and agreed on a follow-up cooperation, explained his involvement in this issue:

“Geographically we belong to “Lower Danube” euroregion which has officially been existed for 20 years. However, unfortunately, it was only the year before when more or less tangible movements became visible to the Ukrainian side. At the end of October, we met with the leadership of the Association of European Cross-Border Regions and made a presentation on the possibilities of Ukraine and Bessarabia. We have the will and resources, and therefore we want to breathe new life into the issue on development of “Lower Danube” euroregion.