European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen today expressed her support for Ukrainian President Zelenskyy’s proposal to involve, through partnerships, EU cities and regions in reconstruction efforts to rebuild Ukraine after the war.
“Soon, the time will come for Ukraine’s reconstruction,” said Ursula von der Leyen. “It is actually starting already in the liberated areas around Kyiv and elsewhere. Ukrainians are coming back to their devastated towns and villages to remove the debris, rebuild houses and infrastructure and restart the economy. This is an enormous effort and we need to mobilise all our available resources to rebuild Ukraine.”
She added that cities and regions in the EU have experience and expertise when it comes to rebuilding and managing the daily lives of citizens, and that Europe will share this expertise with Ukraine.
“Peer-to-peer cooperation at all local and regional levels will allow us to speed up Ukraine’s reconstruction. Think of architects, companies, bankers and experts from the European Union and Ukraine, all working together. We will expand exponentially the number of twin cities and twin regions between our two peoples,” said the President.
Ursula von der Leyen noted that the European Committee of the Regions is already actively linking EU local and regional networks with their Ukraine counterparts.
The idea of helping Ukraine’s recovery through city and regional partnerships was also supported by European Council President Charles Michel. In his video address to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, he said: “President Zelenskyy shared with me his concept for twinning EU cities and regions with Ukrainian cities and regions in need of reconstruction. I believe this is a good idea to help revive cities destroyed and traumatised by war.”
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