“Check against delivery”

Chancellor Scholz,

President Zelensky,

First Lady, dearest Olena,

Presidents,

Prime Ministers,

Ministers,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It has been almost 900 days since Russia’s full-scale invasion began. But the stakes are still as clear as on day one. We know what the two sides in this conflict stand for. Russia is fighting to end Ukraine. Ukraine is fighting to end the war. Russia is fighting for the past. Ukraine is fighting for a better future. Russia destroys. Ukraine defends. Nowhere is this contrast greater than in the controversial city of Kharkov. Two years ago, the people of Kharkov pushed back Russian aggression. And not only have they been rebuilt since then; they have opened new cultural centers; they have drawn up plans for a greener city, one that thrives on both traditional industries and innovative start-ups. But now Russian bombs are raining from the sky again, targeting apartment buildings and shopping centers. Putin wants to crush the city and its love for life and freedom. Kharkiv and Ukraine therefore need all our support. And this is what brings us here to Berlin. Putin must fail. Ukraine must prevail. And we must help Ukraine rise from the ashes and become masters of its own future.

This means, first and foremost, that we must give Ukraine the means to defend itself. At last year’s Recovery Conference, I said that we must transfer the proceeds of immobilized Russian assets to Ukraine. And now we are making sure this happens, in accordance with international law, while safeguarding the stability of financial markets. About 1.5 billion euros from the windfalls will become available in July: 90% of these funds will go to defense, 10% to reconstruction. And later this week, at the G7 summit, we will further discuss how Ukraine can benefit even faster from the proceeds from immobilized Russian assets. We have always said that Russia must be held accountable for its crimes. And now we make Russia pay.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The rationale for this conference has always been to look beyond Ukraine’s immediate needs and chart a credible path towards its economic renaissance. Last year in London I presented the new EUR 50 billion Facility for Ukraine, to provide predictable support until 2027. And the Member States, thanks in part to your tireless personal efforts, supported Olaf. The facility is backed by a solid plan for reforms and investments. It is now in use. 6 billion euros have already ended up in Ukraine. And here in Berlin we are signing the first agreements worth EUR 1.4 billion with our partner banks to attract private sector investments in Ukraine. And as you have already said, Olaf, we will also launch specific support for equity investments in Ukraine. Our partner banks will be able to apply for EU budget support when investing in equity funds operating in Ukraine. In this way we, the EU, help them to remove some of the risks associated with equity investments. Our goal is to improve access to financing for Ukrainian companies, especially for SMEs and start-ups that can help modernize the Ukrainian economy, for example in areas such as IT and digitalization, renewable energy and crucial raw materials. We’ll start with a pilot to address the most urgent needs, which can be scaled up over time. I know that the business community wants to increase its contribution. And together we will mobilize the financial firepower to help Ukraine resist and recover.

This, of course, also includes continued material support, in light of Russia’s systematic attacks on Ukraine’s energy network. To date, we have raised almost €500 million for urgent repairs. We also supply another 1,000 generators for urgent energy generation. And thousands of solar panels are about to arrive in Ukraine. The aim is to help decentralize the power system and thus increase resilience.

Today I can also announce that we will deliver an additional EUR 1.9 billion from our Ukraine Facility to Ukraine by the end of this month. This is due to the comprehensive reforms and investment strategy that Ukraine has adopted. It’s called the Ukraine plan. For example, the Ukraine plan includes reforms in the areas of justice and anti-corruption. This forms the basis for making Ukraine attractive for companies and investors. And it also brings Ukraine closer to our European Union. Ukraine has implemented all the steps we outlined. And this is why we believe that the EU should start accession negotiations with Ukraine at the end of this month.

President Zelensky, dear Volodymyr,

This is the first recovery conference for Ukraine to be held within the European Union. And this is where your country belongs. Kharkov is Europe. Ukraine is Europe. And our Union is your home.

Slava Ukraine. And long live Europe.