EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwińska delivered the keynote at the Good Governance for a Nature-Positive and Climate-Neutral Recovery of Ukraine workshop in Berlin on 26 May 2023, where she underlined the Bank’s longstanding commitment to supporting “inclusive, green and resilient growth” in Ukraine.
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I would like to thank everybody for coming here today.
For European Investment Bank, The EU Bank, recovery of Ukraine is of paramount importance. Today, as Russia’s war in Ukraine enters its second year, we are witnessing not only the extraordinary courage of the Ukrainian people, but also the resilience for living in that new, difficult environment.
Despite the constant attacks, the economy of Ukraine is struggling, but enduring it. Services are being delivered and people are going to work. The determination of the Ukrainians remains unshakable and so is our support!
Specifically, since the full-scale invasion in February 2022, my bank, with the support of the European Commission, was the first to disburse significant payments to Ukraine, which today reached €1.7 billion. It was used to finance needs of critical infrastructure, to keep the country going. We also approved €4 billion of solidarity loans to Member States supporting Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia and others.
Our co-operation with Ukraine is a strong one. We started in 2007 and built up a portfolio of over €7 billion of loans in transport, small and medium sized enterprises, urban development, and energy sectors, mirroring the EU policy goals.
Reconstruction and recovery have been our priority in Ukraine since 2014, when we stepped in to finance repairs of damaged civilian infrastructure and interrupted public services. They were damaged during military activities culminating with the illegal annexation of the Crimea and occupation of parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Since 2014, we managed to deploy funding even in extremely challenging security environment.
That’s because for us one thing is clear: even as the war grinds on, reconstruction funds must flow. Because recovery can’t wait. Because the people can’t wait.
Last summer, Ukraine presented its first Recovery Plan in Lugano. Transparency and sustainability were key guiding principles. I am confident that the decisions taken in Lugano will be followed up in London soon. The urge to build back better in line with green targets is strong.
Inclusive, green and resilient growth of Ukraine is a top priority for the EIB. As the EU climate bank, we focus on projects that provide for a greener future for Ukraine. We minimise the carbon footprint in the reconstruction process. For example, since 2014 we have rebuilt over 100 buildings: schools, hospitals, and so on. These reconstructions are green and allow to save up to 50% of energy.
As the recovery efforts by Ukraine and the international community are being scaled up, the question of good governance for sustainable recovery is becoming even more urgent.
The reconstruction process must be inclusive, transparent and involve Ukrainian decision-makers, businesses, authorities and civil society organisations.
On our end, we collaborate with other entities led by the G7, under Multi-Agency Donor Coordination Platform.
To make its reconstruction efficient and effective, Ukraine must ensure transparency in spending and assure that financial resources are being used wisely. This is something the EIB will support directly with dedicated technical assistance for capacity building.
The estimate of infrastructure losses is over €400 billion, for now. As we can see, the EU and US budgetary support is devoted mainly towards operating expenditures of the Ukraine’s budget. To help restore the most needed infrastructure, to help those who remained in Ukraine and keep it going, we have created The EU for Ukraine Fund. Every EU Member State and every organisation can contribute to it. Each contribution increases the scale of our support, as together we are stronger.
The EIB will support preparation and implementation of these projects, with €100 million of technical assistance to ensure good quality and smooth implementation, all in line with the “build back better” principle.
We see good progress with countries expressing support and declaring initial contributions to the Fund. We are also building a portfolio of projects, and they are currently in various stages of internal approvals.
Green recovery is crucial to the country’s path to European Union membership. Ukraine was granted candidate status in June last year and it needs to adopt the EU sustainability principles, climate targets and legislation.
We can do it, together. We will do it, either through our platform, the EU for Ukraine Fund, or otherwise. Ukraine will prevail.