The New Europe Center, in partnership with the Government Office for the European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Coordination, launched a large-scale and innovative project “Ukraine’s Euromap. The regions’ European integration rating.” As in the previous year, it was based on research conducted by the Centre’s experts. The experts analysed precisely the European integration progress on 50 indicators in 9 different areas. After all, European integration is not only about trade and investment, but also supposes open government, gender equality, educational opportunities, water quality, and the level of health services.
Today, it is not Kyiv that integrates into the European Union, but the whole of Ukraine. So, we can state: gradually, slowly, sometimes reluctantly, and in some places even unconsciously, all European penetrates the Ukrainians’ lives and mundanities. Even, if many Ukrainians do not always realise that the complicated word “European integration” can manifest in the form of quite practical things.
- For the second year in a row, Lviv region became the rating leader. The TOP-3 also includes the Vinnytsia region, which took the third position last year, and the Ternopil region, which rose 12 stages in the ranking (!).
The last place is again occupied by the Luhansk region. Kyiv, Zaporizhia, Ternopil, and Zhytomyr regions have shown the highest progress.
- European integration successes are not limited to areas that directly border EU member states. Donetsk and Luhansk regions are among the leaders in the number of projects financed by the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 2019. Donetsk region is also among the leaders in infrastructure modernisation through the State Fund for Regional Development.
- Three leaders in terms of growth of goods exports to EU countries are the Kirovograd, Lviv, and Cherkasy regions. The Kirovohrad region occupied the first place and became a real sensation with a 75% export increase. This increase was mainly provided by plant products, which accounted for 38% of total exports to the EU last year (the total amount of this product item export was almost 78 million US dollars; the increase reached 153% compared to 2018). At the same time, during the first post-revolutionary years, Kirovohrad region confidently occupied the last places in export to the EU.
- The share of investments from the European Union in 20 regions of Ukraine exceeds 70% of the total volume of foreign direct investments. In the Donetsk region, the share of euro investment reached 96.4%.
- Economic innovation is essential for Ukraine to be competitive in the international market. However, exports of innovative and high-tech products in Ukraine are at a low level. Relevant statistics on high-tech goods in our country are not available at all. The “New Europe” analysts have evaluated only certain product items, recorded in Eurostat. Ukraine lags behind Europe in innovation: in the European Innovation Scoreboard 2020, our country is at the bottom of the list, along with Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, and Romania.
- European integration is aimed at quite practical things, including quality roads built according to EU standards. In 2018, a record number of public roads kilometres (3800 km) was repaired or reconstructed in Ukraine for the last 15 years. By the way, such road repair rates took place only during preparation for the Euro-2012. Among the leading regions in the mileage of reconstructed, state and local roads in 2018-2019 were the Kirovohrad, Kharkiv, and Zaporizhia regions.
- Local authorities’ transparent work is the basis of local democracy, which is one of the European values and influences the EU standards’ implementation at the community level. Four cities (Ternopil, Mariupol, Vinnytsia, and Lviv) show the best performance in the context of authorities’ transparency. According to the Transparency International Ukraine 2019 ranking, Severodonetsk, Kharkiv, Kherson, Poltava occupied the last places.
- 39% is the average difference in wages between men and women in Ukraine. This figure increased slightly compared to the last year (20.7%). However, even if we compare the indicators of Ukraine for 2019 and the EU for 2018 (the latest Eurostat data), we can say that Ukraine lags behind the EU average level, which was 14.8% in 2018. The leaders with the minimum ratio were Chernivtsi (9.41%), Kherson (12.5%), Zakarpattia, and Kyiv (14.45% and 14.95% respectively). It is noteworthy that the leaders have hardly changed compared to last year’s ranking of regions.
- Garbage “records.” In Ukraine, only 6.06% of household waste was recycled in 2019. Among the leaders are the Kyiv (24.22%), Ternopil (24.87%), Mykolaiv (17%), and Vinnytsia (11.98%) regions. The share of waste recycling amounts to 5% and less in the majority of regions. At the same time, in the European Union, 47% of municipal waste was recycled (recycling materials and composting) in 2018. Some countries showed the following results: Germany –3%; Slovenia – 58.9; Austria – 57.7%.
- Ukraine ranks first among the Eastern Partnership countries and actively participates in all EU Erasmus + competitions. However, even with high-quality project applications, due to limited Eastern Partnership funding and many other factors, the success rate of projects sometimes does not reach 10%. At the same time, the opportunities open to Ukraine within the framework of competitions that require innovative potential substantiation are not fully used, e.g. in the areas of Strategic Partnerships and Knowledge Alliances.
For reference: in the last two years, 172 higher education institutions (universities, institutes) of our state have taken part in Erasmus +, according to the Ministry of Education. The largest share, of course, is occupied by the capital’s educational institutions – 40 universities. The TOP-5 also includes Kharkiv (21), Lviv (16), Odesa (15), and Dnipropetrovsk (11).
Alyona Hetmanchuk, Director of the “New Europe” Center tor of the New Europe Center