Supporting projects away from conflict areas
“We can’t launch big, national projects right now, so our help is focused on small projects and helping people live during these hard times,” says Hervé Guenassia, another senior European Investment Bank loan officer working on Ukrainian projects. “If we did a big project, such as repairing an airport, we are sure Russia would destroy it.”
The European Investment Bank has been working in Ukraine for 15 years, financing more than €8 billion in projects. In 2014, after Russia occupied eastern Ukraine and annexed Crimea, we approved a €200 million early recovery “framework loan” to assist people who fled the conflict and the towns that accepted large numbers of refugees. This type of loan can be used to help almost any public project essential for daily life—heating systems, schools, hospitals, sports centres. Some of these projects have now been destroyed by the war, including one of the highlights of our recovery programme, a state-of-the art library and technology centre in Mariupol
“It is very sad to see so many of these projects destroyed, because this work brought so much hope to the local people,” says Roy Draycott, a civil engineer at the European Investment Bank who worked in the Kyiv office for six years. Draycott plans to return to live and work in the country as soon as the war is over.
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Daily conversations with mayors during war
Even during the worst parts of the current war, in areas experiencing the most conflict, Guenassia and Silvestro von Kameke continued to get calls from mayors asking for technical advice and financial assistance. In August and September 2022, the European Investment Bank held a “call for proposals” to finance projects in Ukraine and received about 1 000 applications from cities and private companies. The EU bank plans to approve more than 300 of these requests and hold more calls for project proposals at the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023.
Financing projects approved in 2022 to help Ukraine include:
- New tram cars in Kyiv and Lviv
- New buses for Lutsk
- Repairs to healthcare facilities in Odessa
- Renovation of damaged educational buildings in Myrgorod and Shyshaky
- Major rebuilding of a foreign-language school in Kamyanske
- Reconstruction of a youth arts centre in Zaporizhzhia
- Repairs to a sport and rehabilitation complex in Reshetylivka
- Rebuilding a nursery school in Brovary
We are also helping Ukraine rebuild or repair logistics centres, deliver blankets, thermal mugs and rucksacks to people hiding in bomb shelters, build housing for people who had to move because of the war, improve firefighting and ambulance services, fix broken electricity and gas lines.
Keeping Ukraine’s electricity and gas supplies running involves more than just repairing damage. The country’s utility companies are in trouble during the war as their expenses rise and their revenue plummets, because millions of people can’t pay their energy bills. “There is an energy crisis in the country,” Guenassia says. “We are spending a lot of time talking to energy companies to find ways to help them stay liquid and keep supplying energy.”