The city-to-city partnership between Kharkiv and Nuremberg has traditionally been driven by the local authorities and engaged citizens of both cities. There is a lively exchange between the two cities particularly in the fields of culture, education, research, youth and sports. Social engagement also remains an integral component of the relationship between the two cities. Since 2016 the integrated expert Martin Messner has been supporting the partnership in its local governance activities. Working together with his Ukrainian colleagues, he has helped open up new thematic areas of cooperation where the two cities had requested fresh input.
Supported by Martin Messner, the two sides have successfully embarked on close cooperation in the field of municipal energy management. They intend to institutionalise this exchange between the municipal energy experts and make it sustainable, and in so doing use the lessons learned by Nuremberg to improve energy efficiency in Kharkiv's municipal infrastructure. In this partnership the expert acts as a link between the municipalities, raises funds, organises round tables and training measures, and accompanies delegations in both cities. Only recently a proposal was submitted for a multi-year project for the energy-efficient modernisation of street lighting in Kharkiv, which the two municipalities plan to continue self-reliantly once the expert assignment has come to an end.
Another aim of the two municipalities was to deepen bilateral business links. Here the partners are relying on the expertise Martin Messner offers them thanks to his years of experience in business development in Ukraine. His primary task is to establish a support centre for foreign investors, and at the same time to help his colleagues develop their expertise in attracting and supporting investors. The integrated expert's agenda also encompasses raising Kharkiv's profile as a business hub, both in Ukraine and abroad. This includes organising and conducting an annual business forum in Kharkiv, while at the same time initiating links with actors from the private sector, the banking sector and international donor organisations. Regarding the stepping-up of business contacts with Nuremberg, in 2018 a business delegation involving 15 Ukrainian companies was formed for the first time in over a decade. A return visit by a business delegation from the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region is currently being prepared.