Roughly a week after the European Union awarded Ukraine candidate status, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed that the European political bloc will establish a reconstruction platform to help Ukraine rebuild once the Russian invasion comes to an end.
Speaking at the Ukraine Recovery Conference held in the Swiss city of Lugano on Monday, von der Leyen said that the platform will be used to help Ukraine determine its investment requirements, and coordinate the next steps. The platform will also help Ukraine coordinate action to rebuild its vital infrastructure, cities, and suburban regions
“Since the beginning of the war, the European Union has mobilized around 6.2 billion euros (6.48 billion USD) in financial support,” the European Commission president said, adding that the EU will provide further support.
“We will engage substantially in the mid-and long-term reconstruction,” she said.
What Does “Reconstruction Platform” Mean?
Under the European Union’s plans, Ukraine will benefit from the organized support of private institutions and charitable groups, European governments, and civil society. The platform will help organize the rebuilding of the country and is also expected to receive the support of the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
“Through the reconstruction platform, the European Commission can offer its extensive expertise in running programs that combine reform and investments,” von der Leyen explained in her speech.
“In addition, we have been working closely with Ukraine for a long time. And this work will only intensify now that Ukraine has formally become a candidate to join our Union.”
While Ukraine has many hoops to jump through before it can be officially accepted as a European Union member state – a process that could take decades and isn’t at all certain at this stage – the generous offer from the European Union is a good sign for Ukraine.
Ukraine Says Russia Should Pay
Speaking at the same conference in Lugano, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said that rich Russians should be forced to help cover the cost of Ukraine’s reconstruction.
Shmygal said that it is the opinion of his government that a “key source” of Ukraine’s recovery should be the “confiscated assets of Russia and Russian oligarchs.”
The Ukrainian PM estimated that frozen Russian assets could be worth between $300 and $500 billion – almost enough to cover the estimated $750 billion Ukraine believes will be required to rebuild.
The proposal is likely to ruffle feathers, however, as many Russian oligarchs have explicitly opposed the war in Ukraine.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.