EU should begin accession talks with Ukraine by the end of June, von der Leyen tells Ukraine Recovery conference in Berlin
June 11, 2024

EU should begin accession talks with Ukraine by the end of June, von der Leyen tells Ukraine Recovery conference in Berlin

Opening the Ukraine Recovery conference taking place on 11 and 12 June in Berlin, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU “should begin accession talks with Ukraine already by the end of this month”.

She also announced that €1.5 billion in proceeds from immobilised Russian assets would become available this July: 90% of these funds will go to Ukraine’s defence, 10% to reconstruction. Von der Leyen added that later this week, the G7 Summit would further discuss “how Ukraine can benefit even quicker from the proceeds of the immobilised Russian assets”. She added: “We have always said that Russia must be held accountable for its crimes. And now, we are making Russia pay.”

The European Commission president said the EU would sign in Berlin the first agreements worth €1.4 billion with its partner banks to attract investments in Ukraine from the private sector. The EU will also launch dedicated support for equity investments in Ukraine: the EU’s partner banks will be able to apply for EU budget support when they invest in equity funds active in Ukraine. 

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“Our aim is to improve access to finance for Ukrainian businesses, especially for SMEs and start-ups that can help modernise the Ukrainian economy, for example, in areas like IT and digitalisation, renewable energy, and critical raw materials. We will start with a pilot to address the most urgent needs, which can be scaled up over time,” von der Leyen said.

The EU will continue to provide material support, in view of Russia’s systematic attacks on Ukraine’s energy grid. According to von der Leyen, the EU has raised close to €500 million so far for urgent repairs. In addition, the EU is providing 1,000 more generators, and thousands of solar panels are about to arrive in Ukraine. “The aim is to help decentralise the power system and thus increase resilience,” explained von der Leyen.

She also announced that the EU would deliver to Ukraine an additional €1.9 billion from its Ukraine Facility by the end of this month.

“This is the first Ukraine Recovery Conference that is held inside the European Union. And this is where your country belongs. Kharkiv is Europe. Ukraine is Europe. And our Union is your home,” Ursula von der Leyen concluded her speech.

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