The Financial Times said in an article titled “Rapid reconstruction of Ukraine would be in Europe’s interest” by Martin Sandbu.
Sandbu wrote that the main thing on the minds of Ukrainians and their friends is the need to win the war.
However, delaying preparations for what comes next would risk losing the peace.
Kiev understands this, and economic plans for a post-war Ukraine are being formulated.
Sandbu believes that the conference on the reconstruction of Ukraine in London this month will be an opportunity for the country’s friends to support the plans.
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The most ambitious vision involves turning Ukraine into an enabler of Europe’s green transition.
Carbon-free energy should be a major target for investments in the country’s reconstruction, according to Rostislav Churma, deputy head of the Ukrainian President’s Office responsible for economic policy.
And with the European Union standing on the cusp of a green transition, “Ukraine offers a number of advantages, as (the Ukrainian official) told me in Kiev in April, most notably: geographical proximity and important natural resources for generating renewable energy, and the nuclear sector that can serve green hydrogen production”.
In addition, that country’s strong metallurgical legacy, combined with relatively cheap labor, means it could fill a manufacturing and processing supply gap in the sector as the EU tries to diversify away from China.
Ukraine has undoubted nuclear expertise, and managed to connect its power grid with the European Union in wartime.
Even after Vladimir Putin’s winter campaign to bomb energy infrastructure, Ukraine has returned to being a net energy exporter to Europe.
Seeing Ukraine as the hub of Europe’s green transition would provide the coherence needed for a sincere commitment to the country’s reconstruction.
However, there is still no strong political will to mobilize the larger financial support that reconstruction will require on top of regular budget aid.
Sandbu indicated the need for about $400 billion for reconstruction, according to estimates led by the World Bank, and that without confidence in adequate public funding private investments won’t come in the required quantities.
So, inasmuch as the United States saw the Marshall Plan as a tool for shaping post-war Europe into its current image and creating new markets for its burgeoning production, Europe today must see Ukraine’s rapid recovery as essential to Europe’s interest subjectivity”.
Sandbu concluded, “To secure the backing of voters and businesses for strong long-term support for Ukraine, think not of their altruism but of their interest in having a decarbonized energy resource, an alternative to Chinese supply chains for green industry, and a contributor to the hydrogen economy right at and ultimately within the EU borders.