Austria Supports Ukraine in Reconstruction and Development

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: July 6, 2022; 14:51 ♦ (Vindobona)

Austria's Federal Minister Karoline Edtstadler assured Ukraine and particularly affected states in the course of the high-level Ukraine Reconstruction Conference in Lugano. The conference aims to set a comprehensive plan for the reconstruction of Ukraine and, above all, a further sign of solidarity for Kiev.

On 05 July 2022, Federal Minister Karoline Edtstadler attended the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano. / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Florian Schrötter

At the high-level Ukraine Reconstruction Conference in Lugano, some 40 countries and 15 international organisations came together to present a comprehensive plan for the reconstruction of Ukraine and, above all, to send a further signal of solidarity to Kiev.

Originally, this conference was to be held as an annual 5th Reform Conference, at which Ukraine could present its reform progress and discuss the next reform priorities. However, against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine and Switzerland jointly decided to continue the conference but to shift the priorities to a topic that is more relevant for Ukraine in the current situation.

The Lugano conference has been renamed the Ukraine Recovery Conference and is moving beyond reforms to focus on reconstruction. Lugano will be a unique opportunity for Ukraine to present its recovery plan and work with international partners to find the best possible response to the enormous challenges ahead.

Austria's Minister for Europe Karoline Edtstadler was also present. She expressed solidarity with Ukraine and was dismayed by the current events in Ukraine: "What seemed unbelievable has come true: 4 months of war in Ukraine. Austria stands in solidarity with Ukraine, we help where we can. Austria is supporting Ukraine and particularly affected states with a total of over 80 million euros."

Ukraine's candidate status an important step

Austria had registered more than 78,000 refugees and provided for their accommodation. In addition, in order to secure food supplies, an expansion of ÖBB rail transports was arranged for the export of Ukrainian grain, which cannot be exported by sea as it was before the war due to the blockade of the Ukrainian Black Sea ports, Edstadler discussed.

"So far, over 130,000 tonnes of grain have been transported to Central Europe," Edtstadler said. He added that the Austrian population was also showing great willingness to help and solidarity in this war of aggression.

For example, private funds amounting to 42 million euros had been collected during the last appeal for donations. "The support for Ukraine is not to be questioned. Austria will contribute to the recovery, reconstruction and development of Ukraine," emphasised Minister for Europe Edtstadler.

In this regard, "the deepening of existing and the creation of new partnerships between the regions" was also key to the implementation of concrete projects.

"The candidate status of Ukraine and Moldova is a big step in the right direction, because we have to prevent a spillover to other countries in the region," said Karoline Edtstadler. Therefore, a clear EU perspective for the Western Balkans is also crucial, she added.

The Western Balkan states must not be left behind in EU integration.Continuation of reform efforts in Ukraine indispensableUkraine's rapprochement with the EU must be based on progress. Therefore, it is "indispensable that reforms continue". Ukraine had already made progress in various areas - for example in administration or in the fight against corruption - but this had to be continued and development funds should not be allowed to "seep away" in Ukraine.

Therefore, the Minister for Europe suggested setting up an "agency, special envoys on the ground or partnerships at the district level" to ensure that the money gets to where it belongs. "Only together can we overcome the crisis of this time," the Europe Minister concluded.On the sidelines of the conference, Karoline Edtstadler made numerous bilateral appointments.

Among others, she met the Vice-President of the World Bank, Anna Bjerde, the Ukrainian Minister for Regional Development and Special Envoy of President Volodymyr Zelensky, Oleksiy Chernyshov, as well as the Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Faruk Kaymakci.

Federal Chancellery of Austria