Italian Private Sector Joins Ukraine Reconstruction

Politicians, businesses and trade associations from Italy and Ukraine spoke about rebuilding the war-torn country in Rome on Wednesday (April 26).

The idea behind this event is not to wait for the end of hostilities in Ukraine but to act now to rebuild the country through public and private investment.

“ Dear Italy. Thank you for organizing this conference to support and rebuild Ukraine (…) We are all together in the desire for freedom, security, well-being for our parents, for our children, for our cities and our countries,” said said President Volodymyr Zelensky during his video address.

Italy has been pro-Ukraine, pro-US and pro-NATO since the start of the war, with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni of the far-right Brothers of Italy party (Fratelli d’Italia/CRE) having made the position clear of the country since entering government.

“To talk about the reconstruction of Ukraine is to bet on victory and the end of the conflict, and I am sure that the future of Ukraine will be made of peace, prosperity and will be more and more European” , said Ms. Meloni. The latter advocates a diplomatic solution to the conflict, provided that it does not involve the surrender of Ukraine to Russia.

“Italy will continue to support Ukraine at 360 degrees politically, militarily, humanitarianly and also in terms of the reconstruction of certain strategic infrastructures in the liberated areas, especially for tomorrow,” she added. .

The Italian Prime Minister also reiterated her call to the European institutions to speed up the process of Ukraine’s accession to the European Union. The President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, also echoed this request. During a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, he confirmed his full support for joining the European Union “as soon as possible”.

“ Investing in the reconstruction of Ukraine is not reckless, but one of the most prudent and far-sighted investments that can be made at this time ”, underlined Ms. Meloni, recalling that in 2024, Italy will have “an increasingly central role” since it will assume the rotating presidency of the G7.

Confirming her commitment to Ukraine, Ms Meloni also proposed that Italy host the Ukraine Recovery Conference in 2025.

“Italy has played a key role in supporting Ukraine to join the European Union. We will remember it”, declared Mr. Shmylal, while the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dmytro Kouléba, underlined that the contacts between the Italian and Ukrainian governments were “ more dynamic than ever”.

On the Italian side, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani (Forza Italia/EPP) said that Italy wanted to be on the front line, lay the foundations for reconstruction and get involved in international forums to make pay Russia “ for the destruction it has caused ”.

Private Sector Participation

Some 600 Italian companies were present at the event and were invited to share their expertise with their Ukrainian counterparts.

The idea of the Italian government is to involve private entities as much as possible in this preliminary phase in order to get ahead of the reconstruction. However, to protect businesses, Kyiv must continue with reforms to ensure legality and transparency.

According to Gelsomina Vigliotti, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), $14 billion is needed to fund Ukraine’s immediate priorities in 2023.

“We must focus on investments that cannot wait until the end of the war. We must meet these needs now, supporting the economy to avoid further loss and damage,” said Ms. Vigliotti.

So far, the EIB has lent €2 billion for public service and infrastructure projects, such as hospitals and educational institutions, and has declared itself ready to support Italian partners willing to invest in reconstruction.

“ There will be roads and railways to put back in place, actions in the field of drinking water, sewage systems and resources to ensure the growth of the private sector. We must ensure a continuous flow through Ukraine,” added the EIB Vice-President.

Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti (Lega/ID) also announced Italy’s contribution of 100 million euros to the EIB’s “EU for Ukraine” guarantee fund.

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