I would like to thank you for inviting me here to Warsaw today for this High-Level conference in support for Ukraine. My presence, and that of my colleagues from other international financial institutions (IFIs), is testament to the importance and urgency of investing in Ukraine’s present and future, even as fighting continues across the territory.
The call for pledges at this conference is primarily for urgent humanitarian assistance, and rightly so. The atrocities carried out by Russia are causing unimaginable suffering and an unprecedented humanitarian crisis right across Ukraine and across its borders, and humanitarian actors including UN agencies and the Red Cross Movement urgently need more financial grant support to continue their admirable and unenviable task of supporting the most vulnerable people in the country.
I’m here because, in addition to immediate humanitarian assistance – in fact crucial to the effective delivery of such assistance – there is an urgent need to rebuild critical infrastructure as quickly as possible to help Ukraine, its economy and its people remain resilient while they defend themselves against Russia’s aggression. Maintaining key transport links, providing temporary housing for internally displaced people, urgently renovating public buildings, including schools and hospitals – these all require urgent investment.
This is where EIB, working in partnership with other IFIs including EBRD, with the development banks of EU Member States, and of course with the European Commission, can provide decades of technical experience and financial expertise, and quickly refocus existing financial resources. Subject to the availability of the EU guarantee, we could accelerate the delivery of up to 1.5 billion euros from existing programmes under its solidarity urgent response package to address some of the most urgent needs.
Beyond this, the planning phase for countrywide reconstruction should start now, even if full-scale rebuilding can only take place once the war is over. The challenge will be immense and we as the EU and global partners and supporters of Ukraine, should be ready. I welcome that the focus of this conference offers an opportunity for us to reflect together on further steps in solidarity with Ukraine.
The EIB stands ready to provide its experience, capacity and know how to help Ukraine develop a comprehensive strategy for the reconstruction of Ukraine ready to be implemented once the war is over. We are already engaging with the Ukrainian authorities, as well as with the European Commission and other multilateral and bilateral financial institutions, to assess the most urgent investment needs, and will continue to do so as Ukraine looks towards rebuilding its future after the war.
The EIB is also well placed to take on an important role in the financial management of the Solidarity Fund proposed by the EU, under the policy steer of the European Commission, if asked to do so.
For our part, we will in particular draw on our recent experience through EIB’s early recovery programme for Eastern Ukraine following the 2014 crisis. Tragically, many of the buildings we have invested in, like innumerable others across Ukraine, have been damaged, destroyed or fallen under Russian control.
But we have rebuilt before, and together with all of you, in solidarity with Ukraine, we will build back again, creating the conditions for a better future.