France-Ukraine-Poland “Rencontres” in Tours and Orleans focused around the Eastern Partnership of the EU

30 January 2020

Local governments from France, Poland, Ukraine and the European Union Eastern Partnership countries exchanged on common challenges and partnership opportunities between subnational governments in Tours and Orléans (France) on 22 and 23 January 2020, at a meeting organised by the French Association of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (AFCCRE). Elected representatives and participants also visited the waste treatment plant of the Orleans metropolis.

These “Rencontres” are in the continuity of the exchanges that took place in Saint Brieuc (France) in 2018 and in Kiev (Ukraine) last year, aimed at strengthening relations between French and Ukrainian local governments, in accordance with the agreement signed in 2016 with the Association of Polish Cities (ZMP) and the Association of Ukrainian Cities (AUC). This convention aims to increase meetings and exchanges of good practices between subnational governments in the three countries.

This is also the second event that AFCCRE was responsible for organizing in 2019-2020, in the framework of the strategic partnership of the PLATFORMA network, in order to intensify the exchange of experience between Ukrainian and French communities, but also with the other countries of the EU Eastern Partnership.

These “Rencontres” took place in two parts: one devoted more specifically to round tables on the future of the Eastern Partnership of the EU post-2020 and on the prospects for French-Ukrainian cooperation; the second part was a technical visit to the household waste treatment plant of the Orleans metropolis.

The debates on the first day were held at the invitation of the City of Tours, at the suggestion of Antoine Godbert, City Councilor of Tours and member of the Board of the AFCCRE. Christophe Bouchet, Mayor of Tours, and Jérôme Tebaldi, his Deputy, welcomed the delegations in the presence of Oleg Shamshur, Ambassador of Ukraine to France.

Debates were opened by Thibaut Guignard, First Vice-President of the “Conseil départemental” of Côtes d’Armor and facilitator of the France-Poland AFCCRE working group, and several elected members of the AFCCRE bodies contributed to it, in particular Jocelyne Bougeard, Deputy Mayor of Rennes and Antoine Godbert.

They were able to exchange views with around 30 elected officials and representatives of associations of Ukrainian, Polish, Moldavian, Romanian communities as well as representatives of French diplomacy, this Meeting being supported by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Delegation for Local Body Action Abroad (known by the French acronym DAECT).

At the end of the day, Jacques Chevtchenko, Deputy Mayor of Tours, introduced participants to the “Light Trail” and the foreshadowing space of the Center for Interpretation of Architecture and Heritage (CIAP). This cultural and tourist facility aims to raise awareness, inform and train everyone in architecture and heritage. During lunch, the guests had the opportunity to discover French training methods in the catering trades, while having lunch at the Educational Restaurant of the Apprenticeship Training Center, Alternance Formation, at the invitation of the City.

The morning of Thursday 23 was devoted to a visit to the household waste treatment plant of the Orleans metropolis. Led by Marie Cugny-Seguin, Councilor of Orléans, the Ukrainian representatives were very interested in this equipment and the technologies used to improve the recycling rate and reduce landfill as much as possible, but also in terms of prevention and awareness raising. The leeting concluded with a lunch at the Groslot Hotel at the invitation of the City of Orleans.

These “Rencontres”, which were held thanks to the financial support of the PLATFORMA network, made it possible to continue exchanges between subnational governments and to foresee prospects for cooperation in the future. Next year, they would likely take place in Ukraine.

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