International donors should immediately start rebuilding Ukraine, including at the expense of frozen Russian assets, without waiting for a ceasefire or peace agreement. Also, negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU should begin this year.
According to an Ukrinform correspondent, this was stated by Hugues Mingarelli, former head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine (2016-2019), now a fellow at the Stockholm Center for East European Studies (SCEEUS), during a public hearing at the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on "Recovery, Rebuilding and Resilience of Ukraine: Assessing the Possibility of Establishing a Marshall Fund and Strengthening Coordination in Defense Assistance."
"Reconstruction must begin immediately and certainly not wait for a ceasefire or peace agreement. I insist on this," he said.
Mingarelli noted that it is also important to create a coordination platform for the reconstruction of Ukraine with the participation of representatives of the Ukrainian government and major donors. On the Ukrainian side, in addition to government representatives, it should include the business community, civil society and local authorities.
"Before we develop a recovery plan, we need to make sure that all major donors agree on the assessment of damage and needs. Today, we have the World Bank's damage assessment, the European Commission's assessment, and others, but we need to hold a conference where these damage and needs assessments are accepted by all donors and the Ukrainian side as a basis for preparing a recovery plan," said the former EU Ambassador to Ukraine.-
According to him, the preparation of Ukraine's recovery plan should be based on the need to rebuild the destroyed infrastructure, schools, hospitals and production facilities, resume the reform process to modernize Ukraine, but also on Ukraine's projected accession to the EU and alignment with the EU's regulatory environment. At the same time, Mingarelli emphasized that negotiations on Ukraine's membership in the EU "should start this year, not later".
He also emphasized that priority should be given to demining the territories in Ukraine and overcoming the environmental disaster caused by the Russian war.
Mingarelli also emphasized the importance of "division of labor among donors" in order to achieve the greatest efficiency in rebuilding Ukraine. As for financing, "everything possible should be done to use the frozen Russian assets - 300 billion of central bank reserves and 30-40 billion of businessmen". At the same time, it will be necessary to introduce a monitoring mechanism to ensure accountability, transparency and proper financial management.
Separately, the former head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine noted that since some people in Western Europe still believe that Ukraine is a burden for the EU, a communication strategy should be quickly implemented to explain to these people that "Ukraine is an asset, not a burden."
Author - Serhii Kolomiets, 27/04/2023