Following previous initiatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the coordination of Greek engagement in the reconstruction of Ukraine, a meeting with representatives of Greek organizations and business entities took place on October 13, 2023 with the aim of informing the Greek business community about recent developments in Ukraine’s reconstruction process.
The participants were briefed by the Director General for Development and Humanitarian Assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Alexandros Diakopoulos, the Special Envoy for Ukraine of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Spyridon Lambridis, Ambassador A.H., and the Head of the Directorate for Development Cooperation Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Eleni Nikolaidou, Expert-Minister Counsellor.
Notable organizations that participated in the coordination meeting included the Federation of Industries of Greece (SBE), the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Enterprise Greece, the Hellenic Development Bank (HDB), Export Credit Greece (ECG), the Hellenic Bank Association, the Union of Greek Shipowners, the Association of Greek Contracting Companies (SATE), the The Association of Technical Companies of the Highest Classes (STEAT), the Hellenic Association of Consulting Firms (HELLASCO – SEGM), the Federation of Hellenic ICT Enterprises (SEPE), Piraeus Bank, Ukraine Branch, the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES), and the Non-Governmental Organization HIGGS Incubator – Accelerator.
In addition, representatives from various directorates within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were present at the meeting.
Role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
During the long process of the reconstruction of Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs aims to serve as a hub between the public sector, the private sector, the European Union and international financial institutions. Its mission is to provide timely and accurate information and to coordinate the entities that can participate in in reconstruction projects.
Financing of Reconstruction
The cost of rebuilding Ukraine is estimated at 411 billion US dollars, according to the study “Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment – RDNA2” conducted by the World Bank, the European Commission, the United Nations and the Ukrainian Government, which reflects conditions up to February 24, 2023. However, recent estimates by the Ukrainian side indicate a revised total of 750 billion US dollars.
The European Commission has introduced a new proposal for a Regulation titled the “Ukraine Facility,” which comprehensively addresses the three pillars of support for Ukraine: fiscal/financial support, long-term infrastructure reconstruction, and the adaptation of Ukraine’s economy and administration to European standards. The financing mechanism established through the Ukraine Facility Regulation is projected to provide a total of EUR 50 billion over the next four years (2024-2027), distributed as EUR 33 billion in loans and EUR 17 billion in grants.
Insurance Coverage of Investments
The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Multilateral Investment Insurance Agency (MIGA) of the World Bank already offer some limited-scope insurance products to insure private investments in infrastructure, networks and know-how transfer in Ukraine. The Ukraine Facility Regulation is expected to formulate more comprehensive solutions for guarantees and insurance, emphasising the role of the European Commission and the private sector.
Conference on the Reconstruction of Ukraine
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in the process of planning an international conference on the Reconstruction of Ukraine scheduled for early next year, which will include the following topics:
(a) Charting the Path to Ukraine’s Reconstruction: planning and financing aspects of the reconstruction projects, will be analysed with the participation of representatives from European agencies and the Ukrainian administration.
(b) Institutional Framework for Business Activity: presentation of the institutional framework for conducting business, with the participation of Ukrainian administration experts and representatives of businesses with regional experience.
(c) Cooperation Opportunities in Specific Industries: presentation of sectors such as construction, transportation, supply chains, energy, technology, IT, and healthcare, with the participation of representatives from Greek and Ukrainian industrial organisations.
Interventions of Business Representatives
Business representatives expressed keen interest in the prospects created by the reconstruction process of Ukraine and participated actively in the discussion that followed the presentations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials. Their interventions focused on the following key points:
Business missions: The President of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Mrs. Sofia Kounenaki Efraimoglou, informed the attendees about a Ukrainian business mission which was organised by ACCI on the sidelines of the recent Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), and included B2B meetings between Greek and Ukrainian companies, as well as a business mission of Greek companies to Ukraine, which the Chamber intends to organise in the near future.
Access to EU funds: Mr. Georgios Zavvos, President and CEO of the Hellenic Development Bank (HDB), emphasised the organization’s commitment to complete its certification process (pillar assessment). This step will enable HDB to serve as a financial arm for the management of EU investment funds in third countries. The Hellenic Development Bank believes that the entry of a Greek financial institution into Ukraine can have far-reaching positive effects on the broader Greek ecosystem.
Technology/IT Sector: Mr. Nikos Rodopoulos, Board Member of the Federation of Hellenic ICT Enterprises (SEPE), underscored the comparative advantage of Greek companies in the IT sector and the interest for collaboration that Ukrainian companies had shown even before the war.
Consulting Services Sector: Mr. Stavros Damianidis, Secretary of the Hellenic Association of Consulting Firms (HELLASCO – SEGM), , emphasised the extroverted dynamics of the sector’s businesses and their capabilities to participate in the provision of consulting services for the integration of EU directives in Ukraine’s economy and public administration, as well as in the studies for the implementation of infrastructure projects, particularly in collaboration with other international partners.