New Framework Agreement Between Ukraine and Austria to Facilitate Economic and Humanitarian Assistance

Lifestyle & TravelHealth ♦ Published: September 8, 2022; 10:02 ♦ (Vindobona)

A new framework agreement between Ukraine and Austria is to promote a strengthening of economic cooperation as well as the expansion of humanitarian aid on the ground. For this purpose, the Austrian Minister of Labour, Martin Kocher, and the Caritas Secretary General, Andreas Knapp, travelled to Ukraine.

Martin Kocher in Ukraine at the signing of the framework agreement. / Picture: © BMAW Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Wirtschaft / Enzo Holey

The end of summer and warm temperatures is drawing ever closer - and this is also the case in Ukraine. Against the backdrop of the impending winter, the Austrian Minister of Labour and Economic Affairs, Martin Kocher, accompanied by Caritas Secretary General for International Programmes, Andreas Knapp, set off for Ukraine.

The aim of the Austrian delegation's visit was to strengthen economic cooperation with the war-torn country and to expand humanitarian aid on the ground through the resources of the Caritas relief campaign "Neighbour in Need".

This is to be used in the areas affected by the war. The economic support is to be based on a framework agreement recently signed by the Ukrainian Minister of Economy and Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko and Austria's Minister of Labour and Economy Martin Kocher.

A Memorandum on Cooperation between Caritas Ukraine and the Ministry of Development of Municipalities and Territories in Ukraine, laid the groundwork for further humanitarian assistance through Austria.

"Ukraine has now been exposed to the Russian war of aggression for over six months. As a neutral country, it is important to provide economic and humanitarian support on the ground. Through the signed framework agreements, Austrian companies can support Ukraine in reconstruction and humanitarian aid," Kocher said.

The signed agreement enables the award of contracts to Austrian companies established in Ukraine. This is to ensure the construction and modernisation of health facilities, which are of high importance and urgently needed due to the consequences of the war.

The implementation of three specific projects worth over 600 million euros, the construction and equipping of the National Children's Hospital Okhmatdyt in Kyiv, the construction and equipping of a modern university hospital in Kyiv and the construction of a National Rehabilitation Centre of Ukraine in Lviv has already been decided. Financing will be provided by German and Austrian banks.

Against the background of the signing of this agreement, Kocher also met the following day with representatives of Austrian companies in Kyiv to discuss the opportunities and risks of the location and local economic support.

Further support through the "Neighbour in Need" programme

Within the framework of the aid programme "Neighbour in Need", 92.86 million euros have been made available. The money comes from donations and from the federal government. Especially as winter approaches, preparations for further measures are in full swing.

At present, it is important to make emergency shelters winter-proof and to carry out repairs to destroyed buildings and important infrastructure - such as schools. About 3,000 houses are to be repaired and prepared for the winter with the aid money.

The basis for the aid was laid during a working meeting at which a Memorandum on Cooperation was signed between Caritas Ukraine and representatives of the Ukrainian government.

"Many thanks to Caritas and the numerous donors of Neighbours in Need. This financial support will help to ensure that thousands of people do not have to freeze in winter," Kocher continued.

"The UN warns of the worst winter since Ukraine's independence, the situation is coming to a head. With winter approaching, the task now is to winterise as many existing shelters as possible. One thing is clear: our help will take a long time. We are still dependent on donations in order to be able to help the people in Ukraine quickly and precisely," said Caritas Secretary General for International Programmes Andreas Knapp.

The official trip concluded with a meeting with the Ukrainian Minister of Health, Viktor Liashko, and a visit to the Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital, which is being modernised and expanded with the funds set out in the framework agreement.

BMAW - Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy