National leaders gather in Berlin for Ukraine ‘Marshall Plan’

National leaders, development experts and CEOs gather in Berlin on Tuesday for a conference on what its hosts describe as a “Marshall Plan” to rebuild Ukraine after Russia’s invasion.

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.

Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February has resulted in thousands of deaths and the destruction of homes and factories. While the war has been condemned as unlawful by most in the West, Moscow still describes it as a “special military operation” to rid its neighbour of neo-Nazi extremists.

“The form of the reconstruction will shape the kind of country Ukraine will be in future,” Scholz and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote in the Monday edition of Germany’s 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, deeming Ukraine’s reconstruction as a “generational task”.

Speaking at a business forum, Scholz expressed Germany’s wishes that Ukraine might one day 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.

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