EU leaders have gathered to launch a ‘new Marshall Plan’ for rebuilding Ukraine after the war – describing it as a generational task that must begin now.
German leader Olaf Scholz compared the challenge with the US funding of Europe’s reconstruction after World War II.
Hosting the Berlin talks, Mr Scholz said: ‘This is not a regular donor conference. It is something more profound… nothing less than creating a new Marshall Plan for the 21st century.’
It was convened, he stressed, for EU leaders to discuss how to ensure and how to sustain the financing of the recovery, reconstruction and modernisation of Ukraine for years and decades to come.
‘We do not yet know when this war will end but end it will,’ Mr Scholz added.
‘From our own historical experience, we also know that reconstruction is always possible and that it is never too soon to tackle this task.’
He told EU leaders that Ukraine had a $17billion (£15billion) ‘fast recovery’ plan to repair damage to hospitals, schools, transportation and energy infrastructure, and other structures. ‘As of now, we haven’t received a single cent for [its] implementation,’ he said.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said, in addition to long-term help, ‘Ukraine needs fast rehabilitation right now’ ahead of winter.
She added: ‘We have no time to waste. The scale of destruction is staggering. We need all hands on deck – the G7, Europe, US, Canada, Japan, UK, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and many more.’
Kyiv has estimated reconstruction will cost $750billion (£650billion). Addressing the conference via video link, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russian missiles and ‘kamikaze’ drones had destroyed more than a third of the country’s energy infrastructure.
Ukraine will select its entry for the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool in a live event hosted from a bomb shelter. Some 299 acts are bidding to follow the success of this year’s winners Kalush Orchestra with the decider taking place on December 17 in Kyiv.
The UK – whose act Sam Ryder came second – will host next May’s final on behalf of Ukraine after the European Broadcasting Union said Russia’s invasion made an event there unsafe.
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