European Commission: ‘Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction are linked to its reforms to join the EU’

European Commission: ‘Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction are linked to its reforms to join the EU’
European Commission President von der Leyen with the prime ministers of Ukraine and United Kingdom and other leaders at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London, credit: EU 2023

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed strong support for Ukraine’s recovery from Russia’s war of aggression at a conference in London this week.  She has no doubt that Ukraine will become part of the EU.

The Ukraine Recovery Conference, hosted jointly by Ukraine and the United Kingdom, focused on mobilising international support for Ukraine's economic and social stabilisation and recovery from the war, including through assistance for immediate needs and private sector participation in the reconstruction process. A previous conference was held in Lugano, Switzerland, in July 2022.

As previously reported, a workshop was held in Brussels in May on the importance of decentralisation and local self-government in Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction. Ukraine's local and regional authorities need sufficient sources of revenue of their own and the capacity and training to make effective use of national and international funding for reconstruction.

“I saw a country that does everything possible to rise from the ashes of war,” said President von der Leyen in a key note speech on Wednesday, referring to her latest visit to Ukraine.  “Every day, Ukrainians show us what they are fighting and dying for. They show it on the battlefield. They show it on their streets. They show it in the classrooms.”

“They are fighting for their future, for a Ukraine free from Russian invaders, for a Ukraine that decides its own destiny, for a Ukraine rebuilt and revitalized . . . But Ukrainians are not just restoring what used to be. They show us how they are already reshaping their country. Ukrainians are reimagining their future amidst all the loss, the pain and the suffering."

The EU is contributing € 18 billion in 2023 to a Multi-agency Donor Coordination Platform which was created last January. The platform brings together Ukraine, the G7, the EU, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the IMF and the World Bank.

“Together with other donors, we closed Ukraine's budget gap for 2023 so that Ukrainians can continue to pay salaries, pensions and for healthcare,” she said.

Furthermore, the Commission also announced on Tuesday a new Facility for Ukraine within the EU budget which will ensure constant financial support until 2027. The Facility will be financed in three ways: with grants from the EU budget, loans raised on capital markets, and eventually with proceeds from the immobilised Russian assets, the Commission President explained.

She also talked about Ukraine’s political future. “I believe the EU has a special responsibility. The reason is simple: When Ukrainians imagine their future, they see Europe's flag flying over their cities.  And I have no doubt that Ukraine will be part of our Union.”

“This is why today, the European Commission presents a new oral update on the progress Ukraine made on judicial reform, on anti-corruption, on new laws for media and national minorities,” she said. “This reporting shows the goal is in sight and we will work with Ukraine to get over the finish line.”

She was referring to an update in Brussels to Coreper, a committee of permanent representatives of the member states’ missions to the EU. A Commission spokesperson added that enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi will inform about the progress of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia towards meeting the EU’s priorities at a General Affairs Council in Stockholm on Thursday.

M. Apelblat

The Brussels Times

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