National leaders, development experts and CEOs gather in Berlin on Tuesday for a conference on what its hosts say must be a “Marshall Plan” to rebuild Ukraine after Russia’s invasion, now entering its ninth month.
The conference, hosted by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the European Commission, will not involve concrete pledges of cash towards the estimated $750 billion reconstruction cost, a task the hosts compared in scale to the United States’ Marshall Aid programme for rebuilding Europe after World War Two.
Thousands have been killed, and homes and factories destroyed, since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February, an act Western countries condemned as an imperialist land grab but which Moscow styles as a special military operation to rid its neighbour of extremists.
“The form of the reconstruction will shape the kind of country Ukraine will be in future,” the two hosts wrote in the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper.
“A law-governed state with strong institutions? An agile and modern economy? A lively democracy that belongs to Europe? While one should always be cautious with historical comparisons, this is no less than a Marshall Plan for the 21st century,” they wrote.
Speaking at a business forum, Scholz said Germany wanted Ukraine one day to become a member of the European Union, a fact donors should consider when faced with the vast sums reconstruction would cost.
“Putin’s war has welded our countries together,” he told the forum.