Contrary to what the holding of this conference might lead one to believe, the time has not come to rebuild a country that the fighting is disfiguring a little more every day. But between Westerners and Ukraine, there is now a common future to prepare. In a kind of Ukrainian Yalta, 8 heads of government, 15 ministers, 14 international organizations, 350 representatives of the private sector and 210 of civil society will make the trip Monday and Tuesday to Lugano, Switzerland, to participate in the conference on the reconstruction of Ukraine. In all, 38 countries will be present to draft what some are already calling the “Marshall plan for Ukraine”, in reference to the financial aid that the United States provided to Western Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War.
The holding of this conference is not a surprise since it was planned even before the start of the war. But his program was upset by events. Initially, it was to allow Ukraine to present, as every year, its structural reforms, in particular those concerning the fight against corruption. The meeting will finally be devoted to the future recovery of a battered state, in constant search of financial aid. During his video message on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also laid the foundations for the discussion, drawing the current horrific face of his country. “Hundreds of towns and villages have been destroyed by the Russian army and need to be totally rebuilt. Not only is it necessary to rebuild, but also to lay new foundations for our life, for a safe, modern Ukraine,” he said. he said, calling for “colossal investments” to achieve this objective. He will speak again, by videoconference, during the conference.
The international players gathered in Lugano know this: they will have to agree to a major financial effort for the reconstruction to be effective, both from a material and ideological point of view. Because Ukraine is officially a candidate for entry into the European Union, and the Twenty-Seven must support it by participating in its economic and moral integration.
The Lugano conference must constitute a “platform for discussion on the reconstruction of Ukraine leading to concrete steps”, considers the Ukrainian ambassador to Switzerland, Artem Rybchenko. The idea is for the reconstruction to be led by the Ukrainian authorities, in close collaboration with the European Union. Other countries, as well as international organizations and private actors, will accompany the process within the “Platform for the reconstruction of Ukraine”, co-led by the European Commission and the Ukrainian government. The dialogue between the different parties then makes it possible to determine the importance and the orientation of the financing.
As for knowing who will pay for the reconstruction, this is one of the central questions of the conference, which must necessarily lead to a good distribution of efforts. The International Monetary Fund has already committed to the payment of aid of 1.2 billion euros and to the expansion of this envelope when the hour of reconstruction will be effective. The World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the EBRD, will naturally participate in the effort, in a classic role of public donor. Last April, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, also announced the creation of a “European Solidarity Fund”, with the aim of participating in the reconstruction of infrastructure and public services.
As for the European Investment Bank, it promised aid of 1.5 billion euros, while inviting, through the voice of its vice-president, “the richest nations to grant subsidies to Ukraine “, being well aware that bank loans will not be enough. Private investors will not be left out, President Zelensky has already invited them to come and work in kyiv after the war. These will nevertheless be chosen on the basis of strict criteria. Because in the process of reconstruction lies an intransigent component of refoundation on two points: democratic and environmental considerations.