U-LEAD with Europe Programme organized online forum “COVID-19 on the local level: reaction and influence on the economic and social sectors. Ukrainian and international experts discussed experiences of different countries regarding the implementation of anti-COVID-19 measures and their influence on economic and social sectors.
Bastian Veigel, GIZ Programme Director of U-LEAD with Europe and Francesco Alfonso, Project Coordinator and Policy Analyst at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Eurasia Division
Francesco Alfonso, representative of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) presented the details of research on the reaction of different countries from the Eastern Partnership to the pandemic. He stressed the importance of local governments in fighting COVID-19 also in Ukraine.
During the panel discussion, participants focused on the question of the efficiency of Ukraine's response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
Andriy Slabinskiy, Director of the SME development office to the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine
Andriy Slabinskiy, Director of the SME development office to the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine, shared details about the government programme of affordable loans “5-7-9” and presented measures devoted to businesses in municipalities. Municipalities should be more active in approaching Government’s support related to COVID-19 measures.
Ilona Solohub, CEO of the VoxUkraine
Ilona Solohub, CEO VoxUkraine, analyzed various aspects of the influence of the corona-crisis on Ukrainians, where fear from losing the job and income is much bigger than fear from being infected by COVID.
Janez Šušteršič, member of the government's expert group on economic and social measures during the COVID-19 crisis, former Minister of Finance, Slovenia
Janez Šušteršič, international expert of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme, is member of the expert group on economic and social measures during the COVID-19 crisis established by the Government of Slovenia. He has focused his discussion on Slovenia's cutting-edge measures that helped "restart the economy" during the pandemic. Among others, these include:
1) Financial support to self-employed people (so-called 'basic income' of 700 EUR) plus waiver of social contributions – interesting because this kind of people are often excluded from typical social safety net arrangements and would also be excluded from COVID-19 measures if the experts’ group would not point it out strongly; they are 10% of all employed people and a good half of them used the measure. This measure had a strong local impact!
2) The Government of Slovenia has presented tourist vouchers (to each Slovene citizen, 200 EUR to spend for accommodation anywhere in Slovenia, transferable within the family) – interesting because it wasn't used elsewhere in this way, and also has a strong local impact (we can't have all Slovenians on the Adriatic coast at the same time, so people explored new places). Half of all vouchers used so far.
The forum was organized in partnership with the OECD and the initiative of the EU4Business.