EU leaders intend to set up a “trust fund” for Ukraine as it battles Russia’s invasion and to help it rebuild after the war, according to a draft document seen by AFP Tuesday.
Leaders from the 27-nation bloc meet in Brussels on Thursday for a two-day summit focused on dealing with the fallout from the Kremlin’s assault on its pro-Western neighbour.
“Bearing in mind the destruction and enormous losses brought upon Ukraine by Russia’s military aggression, the European Union is committed to provide support to the Ukrainian Government for its immediate needs and, once the Russian onslaught has ceased, for the reconstruction of a democratic Ukraine,” the draft conclusions for the meeting said.
“To that end, the European Council agrees to set up a Ukraine Solidarity Trust Fund and calls for preparations to start without delay.”
The draft, still under negotiation, gave no further details on the planned size or working of the fund.
It called for “an international conference to be organised in due time to raise funding under the Ukraine Solidarity Trust Fund”.
EU chief Charles Michel first mooted the fund in a call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky last Friday.
Michel said it would “help provide basic services and meet citizens’ immediate needs” and would “give liquidity for continued support to authorities and in the longer term serve as backbone for reconstruction”.
US President Joe Biden will also attend the EU summit on Thursday during a visit to Europe intended to underscore transatlantic unity in the face of Russia’s aggression and bolster support for Ukraine.
The EU has already agreed 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in emergency funding to help the Ukrainian authorities.
The bloc has imposed a barrage of sanctions that have battered Russia’s economy and also agreed one billion euros in financing for weapons for Ukraine’s forces.
EU nations are split over a next round of sanctions. Some are pushing to ban Moscow’s key energy exports, while others say they remain too reliant on Russian fossil fuels to cut the cord immediately.
The draft statement said only that the bloc “remains ready to move quickly with further coordinated sanctions” against Moscow and its ally Belarus.