Written by 5:51 am EU Investment

French companies join EU governments in €1 billion Ukraine pledge – EURACTIV.com

Heads of state and more than 700 French companies gathered in Paris on Tuesday to make a €1 billion pledge for the reconstruction of Ukraine and helping Ukrainians “resist through the winter, announced President Emmanuel Macron.

The Paris conference is the third of its kind since the war broke out in February. Since then, the Ukrainian economy has continuously been on the brink of collapse, with a GDP decline of 35-40% for the whole year, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.

Ukraine will need at “at least €800 million” to cope with Russia’s “energy terrorism,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who co-chaired the conference online, pointing to the recent bombings that destroyed civilian infrastructures, including energy plants, hospitals and schools.

Twelve million Ukrainians have lost access to any source of electricity as winter sets in, and temperatures drop.

“Immediate needs are for generators, LED light bulbs and support for infrastructure rebuilding,” Jaco Cilliers, permanent representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine, told EURACTIV.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna announced a €1 billion pledge to Ukraine, almost half of which will go to the energy sector, while the rest is to be split between food, water access, transport and health.

Efficient dispatching of resources will go through the Donor Coordination Platform, as implemented by the G7 members on Monday (12 December).

French companies, which altogether represent the largest foreign employer in Ukraine, will also be stepping in. French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire announced a €100 million contract for train tracks, bridges and agriculture, in partnership with French firms.

At the same time, Le Maire also confirmed the granting of €100 million in financial guarantees from the French state to unlock loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). “The entire French economic power is behind Ukraine”, he said.

Other financial actors, such as the European Investment Bank (EIB), honed in on the necessity to continue investing in “normal projects, to show that we have confidence in Ukraine”. As such, the bank just announced a €5 million investment in tram infrastructure in Lviv.

(Theo Bourgery-Gonse | EURACTIV.fr)

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