Ukraine presents an ambitious 720 billion reconstruction plan in Switzerland | International

The Russian offensive in the Ukraine continues and is entrenched little by little like a tourniquet on the battlefield. Meanwhile, in placid and neutral Switzerland, far from the mud and the fury, the time has come to talk about what will come next: about reconstruction and also how to finance it. Ukraine has unveiled this Monday in the city of Lugano an ambitious plan of 750,000 million dollars (about 720,000 million euros) in which the Government of kyiv has been working on the run in recent weeks. Open to the participation of all kinds of countries and international institutions, its main source of financing should be the assets confiscated from Russia and the oligarchs sanctioned, the Ukrainian authorities have claimed.

“Our goal is not only to restore glass and concrete, but to build a new country”, defended the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Denis Shmihal, when presenting the draft of this program during the Conference on the Recovery of Ukraine, an event that has meeting this Monday, on the shores of Lake Lugano, with top-level leaders from Ukraine, the European Union, the United Kingdom and various international institutions and organizations. The idea is that these aids serve as immediate relief to a country that is already entering its fifth month of war and at the same time as a springboard towards convergence with the community bloc, after Ukraine has been recognized as a candidate for accession.

kyiv has outlined how the main and most logical source of financing for this plan should be the assets confiscated from Russia and the Russian oligarchs, a juicy cake estimated at between 300 and 500 billion dollars (between 287 and 479 billion euros). This measure is complex to adopt, since in most cases it requires the modification of national legislation. But Brussels has already taken the first steps to open the door to making it possible, by equating the violation of EU sanctions against Russia with crimes as serious as terrorism or human trafficking, in which the confiscation.

The other major sources of financing would be grants and loans from international financial organizations and friendly countries, private sector investments, private contributions from individuals and companies, in addition to the Budget of Ukraine, today depleted by a up in arms.

The EU, Ukraine’s major international partner and final destination on its path to accession, plans to play a key role in reconstruction. Brussels’ intention is to coordinate aid through a “reconstruction platform”, as the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, called it during her speech in Lugano.

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“The platform will bring together countries, institutions, the private sector and civil society, our partners from around the world, from Switzerland to the United States,” outlined Von der Leyen, who has also included European and such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

“The reconstruction of Ukraine is not a local project. It is not a project of a nation, but a common task of the entire democratic world”, proclaimed the country’s president, Volodímir Zelenski, in a videoconference speech during the event. Dressed in black, he has searched for big words that have a strong impact in the stalls of a room full of dignitaries: “Restoring Ukraine”, he has continued, “requires great financing and a colossal investment”.

The plan, as Shmihal indicated in his speech, has been completed in six weeks and consists of thousands of pages. “More than 3,000 Ukrainian and international experts, officials and parliamentarians have [plasmado] his vision of what kind of country we are building and, most importantly, how we are going to restore our country”, the prime minister told an audience that applauded enthusiastically every time Ukraine’s EU candidacy was mentioned.

To date, direct infrastructure losses in Ukraine amount to more than 100 billion dollars, according to figures managed by kyiv: more than 1,200 educational institutions, more than 200 hospitals, in addition to thousands of kilometers of gas pipelines have been destroyed or damaged. , roads, railway lines and infrastructures of the water and electricity network.

three phases

The program is structured in three phases, Shmihal pointed out. The first seeks to immediately restore essential elements for people’s lives, from water pipes to bridges and temporary steps, a job already underway charged to the Ukrainian budget. In the second phase – “immediately after the cessation of hostilities and the victory of Ukraine” – the aim is to direct the country towards a rapid recovery, with the renovation of schools and hospitals and the construction of temporary housing so that life can return to the destroyed cities and communities. The third seeks a long-term transformation and covers everything from education and medicine to the ecological transition and the military industry.

In her speech, President von der Leyen highlighted that the EU has already mobilized around 6.2 billion euros in financial aid. Last Friday, in addition, the European Commission proposed a first tranche of 1,000 million euros of the new macro-financial aid to Ukraine, an exceptional package that is expected to rise to 9,000 million euros.

The proposal will complement support already provided by the EU, including a €1.2 billion emergency loan paid out in the first half of the year. Together, the two strands of the program would bring the total macro-financial aid support to Ukraine since the start of the war to €2.2 billion, and could reach up to €10 billion, once the package is operational.

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