Following a CoR plenary session which included a video message from President Zelensky an important debate took place on Strengthening the Role of Local and Regional Governments in Ukraine's Recovery and Reconstruction Process, and on the Road to EU Membership. First VP Władysław Ortyl represented the ECR group as speaker in this conference.
Given that Podkarpackie is a bordering region with Ukraine, it has been playing a key role in helping war refugees as well as in the handling of aid for the war-torn country. Mr Ortyl, Marshal of the Podkarpackie region, stressed the importance of the local Rzeszow-Jasionka airport which is a hub for cargo deliveries, main landing spot for global leaders and officials heading to Kyiv and the location of the EU Medevac Hub for medical evacuations of Ukrainian patients – wounded soldiers and civilians.
Marshal Ortyl also presented details of the most advanced pilot project between the Podkarpackie region and the Lviv Oblast on capacity building for better skills of Ukrainian local & regional administrations - "the reconstruction of Ukraine should start with dedicated technical assistance, without extensive expert work on adequate documentation, reconstruction will not be possible".
The Polish experience with decentralisation and reform of self-government which preceded Poland's EU accession was also highlighted as relevant for Ukraine's path towards EU membership.