Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Bridges of Trust

Starting from March 2021, CEMR and its members are part of the Bridges of Trust initiative (BoT) to create partnerships between municipalities in Ukraine and the EU member states. Initially, such partnerships aimed at strengthening local self-government through decentralisation reform in Ukraine. The BoT is delivered in cooperation with the Association of Ukrainian Cities (AUC) and supported by the U-LEAD with Europe Programme.

Following the devastating destruction of many Ukrainian municipalities, it became clear that there is a need to increase local and regional cooperation between Ukraine and the EU in order to help Ukraine rebuild.

CEMR and its member associations have long championed twinning and international municipal cooperation and the establishment of partnerships between local and regional governments in the framework of PLATFORMA and beyond. As testified by the role that city-to-city cooperation and twinning played in the post-WWII reconstruction of Europe,  at the core of this action, lies a firm belief that the bonds forged through exchanges and collaboration between municipalities serve as a driving force for the growth and development of communities and Europe as a whole.

Since 2014, Ukraine has been strengthening local self-government through decentralisation reforms, widely regarded as the main success story among different reforms launched after the Revolution of Dignity.

Accomplishments from these decentralisation reforms encompass:
  • An amalgamation of territorial communities
  • Allocation of new sources of income
  • Expanding the range of responsibilities at the local level

General Objective

The general objective of the programme is to help rebuild Ukraine through international municipal partnerships between Ukrainian and EU municipalities.

Participating Associations
  • Association of Ukrainian Cities
  • Association of Polish Cities
  • Association of Municipalities and Towns of Slovenia
  • Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces
  • Association of Basque Municipalities
  • Union of Towns and Municipalities of the Czech Republic
  • French Association of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions
  • German Association of CEMR (RGRE)
  • Hungarian National Association of Local Authorities
  • Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments
  • Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions

Specific Objectives
  1. Increase involvement of associations of local governments and their members in the international municipal cooperation between Ukrainian and EU municipalities for the reconstruction of Ukraine
  2. Contribute to the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for the Reconstruction of Ukraine
  3. Strengthen the capacities of Ukrainian local governments to access EU and International funding for the reconstruction of Ukraine
  4. Share  stories of joint actions between EU and Ukrainian municipalities and their reconstruction 
  5. Together with AUC, support the submission of joint gender-sensitive project proposals, based on the delivered trainings, the expertise provided by the contracted EU experts, and the results of the analysis of the available funding opportunities.

Main Achievements

Since 1 November 2022, 30 Ukrainian municipalities 30 municipalities from 10 regions of Ukraine established partnerships with 30 municipalities from the European Union, including Italy, France, Spain, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Sweden.

As a result of the 30 study visits, the newly established partner municipalities jointly developed 48 project form applications, in particular on the following topics:​
  • 20 water supply and wastewater treatment facilities
  • 8 reconstructions of hospitals and cultural facilities, creation of industrial parks
  • 6 recycling and waste management
  • 5 alternative energy sources, decentralisation of heat supply
  • 3 construction and renovation of bomb shelters
  • 3 integration of internally displaced persons, educational projects
  • 3 provisions of various types of transport for community needs
Over 530 participants from over 30 municipalities were trained on EU project design, EU funding programs, and the impact of EU Accession on Ukrainian local governments.


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