European Union sets up platform for Ukraine war reconstruction

European Union sets up platform for Ukraine war reconstruction | News about the war between Russia and Ukraine

The European Union will set up a reconstruction platform to coordinate Ukraine’s reconstruction after its war with Russia, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The platform will be used to map investment needs, coordinate measures and channel resources, said von der Leyen on Monday at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano, southern Switzerland.

“Since the war began, the European Union has mobilized around 6.2 billion euros ($6.48 billion) in financial assistance,” von der Leyen said. “And…there will be more to come. We will play a key role in medium and long-term reconstruction.”

The two-day conference, which opened on Monday and took place amid tight security in the picturesque city of Lugano, was planned well before Russia’s full-scale invasion of February 24. She was originally set to discuss reforms in Ukraine before returning to the center of reconstruction.

The platform will bring together countries, institutions, the private sector and civil society. This also includes international organizations such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank.

The European Investment Bank, the EU’s lending arm, is proposing a financing structure previously used during the COVID-19 pandemic to help Ukraine’s reconstruction with investments worth up to $104.3 billion, the news agency reported R earlier Monday.

“The European Commission can offer its comprehensive expertise in the implementation of programs that combine reforms and investments via the reconstruction platform,” said von der Leyen.

“In addition, we have been working closely with Ukraine for a long time. And this work will intensify now that Ukraine has officially become a candidate country for our Union.”

Europe has a special responsibility and strategic interest to stand by Ukraine, she added.

“The goal of the Kremlin is the military, political and economic destruction of Ukraine,” she said.

“They want to undermine Ukraine’s existence as a state. We cannot and will not allow that.”

Zelenskyy Addresses Conference

Ukraine’s reconstruction is the “common task of the entire democratic world,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday, stressing that rebuilding his war-torn country would serve world peace.

“The reconstruction of Ukraine is the greatest contribution to support world peace,” Zelenskyy said via video link to the Lugano conference.

Lugano is not a donor conference, but instead seeks to set the principles and priorities for a reconstruction process to begin while the war is still ongoing.

Zelenskyy said the goal of reconstruction was “the most ambitious project of our time”.

His Swiss counterpart and co-moderator of the conference, Ignazio Cassis, stressed the importance of supporting Ukraine “at this time of horror, wanton destruction and mourning”.

It is vital, Cassis said, “to give the people of Ukraine the prospect of a return to a life of self-determination, peace and a bright future.”

While Zelenskyy was unable to leave Ukraine to co-host the event with Cassis, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal attended, on a rare trip outside of Ukraine since the war began.

Five other government ministers were among the approximately 100 Ukrainians who made the trip, although Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reportedly had to cancel at the last moment due to illness.

Ukraine needs $750 billion for a three-stage reconstruction plan after the Russian invasion, Shmyhal said on Monday.

Shmyhal also told the conference that the Russian invasion caused more than $100 billion in direct damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure.

“Today, Ukraine’s direct infrastructure losses amount to over $100 billion,” he said. “Who will pay for the renewal plan, which is already worth $750 billion?”

Shmyhal added that the Ukrainian government believes that a main source of funding for the reconstruction plan should be the assets confiscated from Russian oligarchs.

He said Ukraine’s recovery plan has three phases: a first focused on fixing things vital to people’s daily lives, such as running water supplies; a “rapid recovery component” to be launched once fighting has ended, including temporary shelters, hospital and school projects; and one that aims to transform the country in the longer term.