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European Commission president calls for work on Ukraine's recovery
BRUSSELS. May 4 (Interfax) – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced the EU’s intention to create conditions for the recovery of Ukraine after the end of hostilities.
"The first step is immediate relief. This is about short-term economic support… But this is not enough for the short-term relief. Ukraine’s GDP is expected to fall by 30% to 50% this year alone," von der Leyen said at a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
The IMF estimates that, from May on, Ukraine needs EUR 5 billion each month to keep the country running, paying pensions, salaries and basic services, she said.
The European Union cannot do it alone, von der Leyen said, welcoming the United States’ announcement of massive budgetary support and noting that "Team Europe will also do our share."
"But then, in a second phase, there is the wider reconstruction effort," she said
It’s difficult to come up with a precise estimate but "economists are talking about several hundred billion euros," she said, adding that costs are rising with each day.
"Europe has a very special responsibility towards Ukraine. With our support, Ukrainians can rebuild their country for the next generation. That is why today I am proposing to you that we start working on an ambitious recovery package for our Ukrainian friends. This package should bring massive investment to meet the needs and the necessary reforms," von der Leyen said.
The EU assistance "should address the existing weaknesses of the Ukrainian economy and lay the foundations for sustainable long-term growth," she said, pointing to the need to fight corruption, align the legal environment with European standards and radically upgrade Ukraine’s productive capacity.
"This will bring the stability and certainty needed to make Ukraine an attractive destination for foreign direct investment. And eventually, it will pave the way for Ukraine’s future inside the European Union," von der Leyen said.