EU chief proposes up to 9 billion euros in more aid to Ukraine

The EU money for reconstruction should come with conditions that Ukraine commit to reforms needed for it to reach its goal of one day joining the bloc, said von der Leyen.
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen ((Twitter) )
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen ((Twitter) )
Updated on May 18, 2022 09:37 PM IST
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EU chief Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday proposed extra aid to Ukraine of up to nine billion euros ($9.5 billion) this year to help Kyiv cope with the ravages of war.

The money would be raised by the EU on the markets and offered to Ukraine in the form of loans, an official in von der Leyen's European Commission told AFP.

In a broadcast statement, von der Leyen also said it was time to think about rebuilding Ukraine whenever the war ends, adding the EU has "a strategic interest in leading this reconstruction effort".

Other countries and international institutions should also be part of the reconstruction project, she said.

Also read: Ukraine War: Mariupol fighters surrender, Kyiv says ‘talks paused’ | Top points

The EU money for reconstruction should come with conditions that Ukraine commit to reforms needed for it to reach its goal of one day joining the bloc, said von der Leyen.

Funding will be focused on fighting corruption, building governance capability and rule of law, ensuring judges' independence and adhering to the EU's ambition to make green and digital transitions, she said.

"These investments will help Ukraine to emerge stronger and more resilient from the devastation caused by (Russian President Vladimir) Putin´s soldiers," she said.

In her address, von der Leyen also said the war in Ukraine had shone light on "years of defence underspending" in the bloc that now must be reversed.

She said the bloc would set up a task force to better coordinate armament production and joint procurement, with financial and tax incentives to push European companies along that path.

"This will strengthen our independence and resilience. At the same time it will strengthen NATO," she said.

Von der Leyen also stressed that the EU was stepping up to address its energy vulnerability as it shifts away from Russian fossil fuel supplies.

The "quickest and cheapest way" to reduce dependency was to cut demand, she said, with her commission already urging Europeans to lower thermostats, turn off lights and use more public transport among a list of suggestions.

Those could shave five percent off short-term EU oil and gas consumption, the commission estimates, urging national campaigns to raise public awareness.

The EU is looking to accelerate its transition to a greener future with the faster adoption of renewable energy supplies under a plan labelled REPowerEU, which was set out on Wednesday.

Also read: Ukraine war highlights: Turkey President Erdogan says ‘won’t say yes' to Finland, Sweden's NATO entry

The plan calls for 210 billion euros in investment between now and 2027. Initiatives include more wind farms, and a requirement for rooftop solar panels on commercial and public buildings by 2025 and on homes by 2029.

The European Commission's aim is to boost the share of renewables in the EU's energy mix to 45 percent by 2030.

 

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