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EU launches European Marshall Plan for Ukraine – Michel

BRUSSELS. May 5 (Interfax-Ukraine) – President of the European Council Charles Michel believes that the donor conference, which will be held in Warsaw, Poland will be the starting point for kind of European Marshall Plan for Ukraine, which needs help because of the war waged against it by Russia.

Michel expressed this point of view in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine on the eve of the conference in which he will take part.

"In my opinion, this conference tomorrow should be, must be, in my opinion, the starting point for kind of European Marshall Plan for Ukraine. This exactly what we must do, we must sent very strong signal that we will support Ukraine as much as possible," the president of the European Council said.

At the same time, he compared current events with the events of "last century when visionary people took a decision to invest in order to rebuild European continent after the World War II, and here for this century we are facing tragedy, this war against Ukraine is a human tragedy and means that visionary leaders today have to stand up and to give a signal that we will be courageous, we will be extremely firm in order to support Ukraine not only with word, not only with speeches – this is not enough – we need decisions, we need money, we need strong coordination, we need political will," Michel said.

At the same time, he recalled that the idea of a trust fund was expressed directly by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and him a few weeks ago. "I understood that it’s extremely important for us, as the EU, to be concrete that we are operational and to identify the priorities but also to mobilize the means that are needed. That is one first element. Second element – I made a proposal to the European Council to support politically the launch of this conference. It means that we are supported by the 27 heads of states and heads of government, and we decided when we have the debate in the European Council and also in the frame work of the contact we had with president Zelensky that we want to involve an international community in this conference to make possible for many donors coming from other part of the world to show our solidarity with Ukraine. This is one first element. And that is why I’m so pleased that Poland together with Sweden took a decision to launch in Warsaw this conference with a full support of the European Commission and full support of myself," he said.

In addition, Michel outlined three priorities in this conference and three goals he sees for the use of the trust fund. "We want to make sure that Ukrainian authorities are supported as much as we can in order to provide humanitarian support that is needed. Because of all that atrocity and all this suffering, difficulties for the people in Ukraine, the internally displaced people for instance and many others concerns that we have. That is the first goal – humanitarian support. Second goal is the liquidity. It is important to support as much as we can Ukraine with budgetary support, with grants and loans in order to support at the economical level as much as possible the country. And that is why we think that this trust fund can be useful in order to give a strong signal of confidence, of trust and to make possible for the government, for the authorities to run the country. In the short term and also in the midterm. And third point. It is extremely important and this is rebuilding of the country," he said.

According to Michel, the trust fund should be activated "as soon as possible." "It’s means that this decision tomorrow must be the starting point. And you know, that we already started to support Ukraine by providing macro financial assistance. Not only the EU, but also partners and friends. But here we try to marge our efforts more coordinated, more massive. It must be the goal. And this important, in my opinion, to make sure that Ukraine’s authorities will be able in the following days and weeks to have the money they need in order to meet the three goals that I mentioned: humanitarian support, liquidity and to start rebuild the country," the president of the European Council said.

Speaking about the restoration of post-war Ukraine, Michel said that "the goal is not to rebuild Ukraine of the past. The goal is to build a modern prosperous, forward looking Ukraine. It means that, for instance, it will be rebuilding of infrastructure and important to build infrastructure that are modern in line with the needs of the future, taking into account climate change, the digital transformation of the world and those challenging we are facing across the EU and everywhere in the world," he said.