Berlin hosted an international conference on Ukraine’s reconstruction after the Russian invasion.
The G7 countries and the European Union have begun working on a plan to help Ukraine recover from the war unleashed against it by Russia. The signal to launch such a program, which would be comparable to the “Marshall Plan” adopted after World War II, was given at an international expert conference in Berlin on Tuesday, October 25.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who hosted the conference, echoed the calls they made in an article published last week in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. In opening the event, Scholz said the goal of the conference was “to create a Marshall Plan for the 21st century. Its realization, he said, is “the task for a whole generation”, noting that it was necessary to start rebuilding Ukraine now, despite the fact that the war is still raging.
According to the head of the German government, the history of the FRG has shown that recovery is possible even after a devastating war. “It is important to plan Ukraine’s future as a prosperous and democratic member of the EU, an exporter of green energy and high-tech products,” Scholz said.
The EU will allocate 18bn euros to Ukraine in 2023
In her turn, Von der Leyen said that Ukraine needs from 3 to 5bn euros per month only to cover budget expenditures, including expenditures on salaries and pensions. According to the head of the EC, the EU is ready to fund Ukraine to the amount of 1.5 billion euros per month, with a total for 2023 amounting to about 18 billion euros. Brussels expects that a similar amount will be provided by the United States, with a separate contribution to be made by international financial institutions, in particular the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva gave a similar estimate of Ukraine’s need for financing. According to her, the countries providing financial support to Ukraine in 2023 will need to provide it with about $3 billion per month. However, if additional gas imports are needed, damaged infrastructure is rebuilt and Russian bombing intensifies, the amount could rise to $5 billion, Georgieva said. The IMF is working on a more comprehensive assistance program for Ukraine, the fund's head added.
Kyiv demands immediate financial assistance
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the meeting via video link from Kyiv, calling for funds to rebuild his country, which has been devastated by the Russian invasion, as soon as possible. It is an investment in a future EU member, he said. The Ukrainian leader pointed out that his government needs immediate funding of $17 billion (17 billion euros) to cover Ukraine’s budget deficit. For his part, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal noted that this amount does not include compensation for the recent massive damage caused by the Russian Armed Forces to the country’s energy infrastructure.
Shmyhal also emphasized his gratitude for Germany’s financial aid and arms supplies. “I want to express my country’s great appreciation for Germany’s unwavering, very stable and very strong support,” he said during a speech in Berlin. At the same time, the Ukrainian prime minister asked Berlin for more weapons, including tanks. Despite widespread support around the world, more financial and military aid is needed, Shmyhal said.