German and European leaders call for a Ukrainian “Marshall Plan” – DW – 24/10/2022

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have called for a strategy to rebuild Ukraine after the war as experts gather in Berlin for an economic forum.

“While one must always be careful with historical comparisons, the issue here is nothing less than creating a new Marshall Plan for the 21st century,” Scholz and von der Leyen wrote in an essay published in the journal. German. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Monday edition.

Both men described rebuilding Ukraine as a “generational task that must start now”.

Scholz is due to open the German-Ukrainian business forum in Berlin on Monday with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

The meeting is expected to focus on post-war reconstruction efforts and support from the international community.

Zelenskyy: Repair work already underway

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What is the agenda of the forum?

Trade experts from Ukraine and Germany are ready to discuss a range of topics including industry, agriculture and energy.

Initial efforts should be “directed towards an effective organization of emergency aid” to rebuild Ukraine’s destroyed infrastructure, said Hans-Ulrich Engel, vice-chairman of Europe’s economic relations committee. East, one of the organizers of the forum.

And the focus should then be on “targeted measures and appropriate framework conditions to help rebuild the economy in Ukraine”, he added.

The Marshall Plan was a US initiative that encouraged investment in West Germany after World War II, and now German companies must be enticed to invest in Ukraine, said the committee’s chief executive, Michael Harms.

“Companies need reliable contacts, fast bidding and approval processes, as well as financial and legal certainty,” Harms told German media group RND.

The war has devastated Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, with officials saying the country has lost around 90% of its wind capacity and 40-50% of its solar power.

A September World Bank report puts the cost of rebuilding Ukraine at nearly $350 billion (356 billion euros). The country’s GDP in 2021 was $200 billion.

Ukraine, future member of the EU

At an economic forum in Berlin, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke out in favor of Ukraine’s EU membership.

“As we rebuild Ukraine, let’s do it with Ukraine’s goal as an EU member in mind,” Scholz said. According to the Chancellor, transport infrastructure and logistics in Ukraine should be developed so that the country can be easily connected to the EU.

“Anyone who invests today in the reconstruction of Ukraine is investing in a future EU member state that will be part of our community of law and our internal market,” Scholz added.

However, he called on the Ukrainian government to further improve the framework conditions for investments, mentioning more rule of law, more transparency and an even more decisive fight against corruption.

Scholz also promised Ukraine additional military aid, including to protect against air attacks.

EU chief: solidarity with Ukraine “unshakable”

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fb/es (dpa, Reuters)

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James R. Rhodes