We have provided the Ukrainian government with more than €7 billion euro of financing, making the EIB one of the largest multilateral lenders in the country.
We stepped up activities in Ukraine after Russia occupied parts of eastern Ukraine and annexed Crimea in 2014. In concrete terms, it means resources to finance over 200 projects to help renovate and repair critical infrastructure facilities in cities across the country to assist people who had fled the conflict and the towns that accepted large numbers of refugees.
Our work has continued throughout the current war. After the first Russian tanks rolled across the border and the full-fledged invasion started last year, we took all possible steps to support the economy of Ukraine during the last 14 months, focusing on clearly identified investment projects with high social returns and that provide immediate economic impact.
We moved fast, we will not slow down.
It is much more than a moral imperative to stand side by side with Ukraine – not just with weapons and ammunition, but also through material support to a very resilient economy and population, that keeps on working, producing, making Ukraine’s resistance possible.
This is what we do best, and it will be our form of solidarity with the Ukrainian people, and our commitment to supporting an independent Ukraine and to improving the lives of its people.
Whatever we do today to support the economy, will ease the reconstruction efforts later.
In full coordination with the Ukrainian Government and fellow IFIs, we are financing projects in fundamental areas of the economy: energy, roads and railways. Areas that are also crucial for a swift integration with the European Union.
Many schools, hospitals and social housing units we financed have already been completed in the last 12 months. Many more will be opened this year. All this was possible due to close cooperation with the Ukrainian Government, the European Commission, and with our shareholders, including Italy.
Now it is time for us to scale up further support.
The most recent Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment carried out by the Ukrainian government in coordination with the EU, UN and the World Bank estimated that 14 billion dollars are needed to meet the most urgent implementation priorities that shall be addressed in 2023.
I would like to draw your attention to this. It concerns investments that are most urgent and cannot wait until the war is over or until a comprehensive solution for the reconstruction of Ukraine is put in place.
We all must address these needs now!
And to those that criticise investing in the reconstruction now, while hostilities are still shaking the country, we reply that it is critical to support the economy and the population to avoid greater losses and damage.
We are therefore working with Ukrainian authorities on a strong pipeline, supporting public services and the recovery of the real economy for a total of €2 billion.
The EIB has unparalleled experience in implementing infrastructure projects and we will work soon to turn these projects into improved living conditions for the Ukrainian people.
Projects like the extension and modernisation of the hospitals of Kyiv and Odessa; the new nation-wide emergency call system; schools, education facilities and other public buildings in Dnipro, Sumy and Zaporizhia; the restoration of tens of bridges and hundreds of kilometres of roads and railroads to expand the capacity of the public transport systems within cities and across the country, through the main logistical corridors; drinking water and sewage reconstruction across the country; and, finally, important resources to ensure that the private sector of Ukraine continues to thrive.
This will be possible thanks to risk-sharing instruments to local banks in Ukraine, to support small and medium-sized businesses and equity funds, making sure foreign direct investments – like the one the Italian Government is promoting in this conference – continue to flow in Ukraine.
It works providing partial guarantees for EIB loans, as well as concessional lending and impact finance. It will thus provide a bridge solution, enabling the EIB to continue to finance urgent and critical projects under the EU banner until a more permanent solution can be found.
We are now working with the European Commission and all potential donors to make this operational. To speed up project implementation, and increase impact, our shareholders also approved €100 million of EIB technical assistance.
This last point in particular is a visible testament of the EIB commitment to the long-lasting reconstruction of Ukraine. Such a big technical assistance envelope will help local authorities to map needs, plan expenses and design the best projects to be rolled out according to the country’s needs.
All the projects I mentioned will not just support Ukraine’s resilience today in the face of Russian aggression, but they will literally pave the way for the country’s EU Membership, as we know from previous experiences with new countries joining the EU.
With our experience of the integration of Eastern economies into the EU’s Single Market, we know at the EIB very well how we can quickly ensure the conditions for the economy to thrive.
That’s why we will work with the European Commission to deploy even more resources in the medium-term, with the support of the EU budget.
EIB’s activities in Ukraine in the coming months will be complementary and additional to the EU’s Macro-financial Assistance, of which Italy has been a strong supporter. We are also ready to work with our Italian partners on supporting sectors and projects of mutual importance, from energy infrastructure resilience and energy efficiency; to municipal infrastructure, agriculture, transport, construction and many others.
I thank you for your attention and reiterate our commitment to support Ukraine.