EU leaders plan to set up “trust fund” to support Ukraine and help rebuild after Russia’s war, according to a project consulted by AFP on Tuesday.
The heads of state and government from the European Union member states are meeting in Brussels on Thursday for a two-day summit on the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Given the enormous damage and losses suffered by Ukraine as a result of Russia’s military aggression, the European Union is determined to support the Ukrainian government in responding to its immediate needs and, once the Russian aggression has ceased, to rebuild a democratic Ukraine,” says a draft conclusion of the European summit.
“In this regard, the European Council agrees to set up a trust fund in solidarity with Ukraine and calls for preparations to begin without delay,” the document said, without elaborating on how the fund would be set up and operate.
According to the same project, the organization of an “international fundraising conference under the Solidarity Trust Fund with Ukraine” is also requested.
The initiative was initially announced on Friday by European Council President Charles Michel after talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
This fund “would contribute to the provision of basic services and meet the immediate needs of Ukrainian citizens” and would also “provide liquidity for the continued support of the authorities and, in the longer term, serve as the backbone of the reconstruction” of Ukraine, the President of the European Council argued.
The EU has already allocated 1.2 billion euros to help the Ukrainian authorities in the face of the assault on Russian troops, plus another 1 billion euros for the purchase of weapons for Ukraine.
While attending a videoconference coordinating meeting on Monday, organized by European Council President Charles Michel, in preparation for the European Council summit in Brussels on March 24-25, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis informed the EU leaders about the efforts that our country continues to make for managing the flow of refugees from Ukraine, as well as about the direct support given to Ukraine through the humanitarian hub in Suceava, which benefits with the support of the European Commission and the member states.
President Iohannis underlined that this support must continue to be given, highlighting the difficulties faced by the remaining population in Ukraine and emphasizing the urgent need to reach a ceasefire and to protect the civilians in Ukraine, while asking for additional sanctions to be applied against Russia.
“The President of Romania has called for the adoption by the European Union of additional sanctions against Russia, which will have a relevant impact on it,” the Presidential Administration states.
Draft agreement on joint purchase of gas as of next winter
The EU heads of state and government are also expected to reach an agreement to jointly buy natural gas, liquefied gas and hydrogen before next winter, according to a working version of the press release to be approved at the end of the EU leaders’ summit on 24 March 25.
“Next winter, Member States and the Commission will work together urgently on joint acquisitions of natural gas, liquefied gas and hydrogen.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Europe’s largest gas supplier, has raised gas prices to record highs and led the EU to reduce its dependence on Russian gas since this year, but that means increased imports from other suppliers such as Qatar and the USA.