AAccording to European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer, repairing the damage caused by Russia’s war against Ukraine and eventually rebuilding the country will require an enormous effort by the world community. According to Hoyer’s assessment, the sums mentioned so far by politicians are far too low.
He rather expects dimensions between 750 billion and one trillion euros. Reconstruction is already needed in areas of Ukraine where Russia’s army left destruction and then retreated to concentrate forces in the south-east of the country.
However, before a reconstruction can be considered at some point, very acute problems must first be solved. For example, the EIB could provide financial support for the rescue of Ukraine’s wheat stocks, which would require investments in infrastructure. “We must not allow this crop to rot,” said Hoyer on Wednesday at a meeting with journalists in Frankfurt.
Hoyer raises a serious accusation against Russia
“Russia is abusing the world’s poorest right now,” said the EIB President, referring to the problem that a large part of Ukraine’s wheat stocks are stuck in storage due to the Russian blockade of Black Sea ports. These stores would now have to be emptied quickly to make room for the new harvest due in the summer.
There is hardly any time left to develop alternative transport routes. For rail transport to Poland, for example, reloading stations would have to be built because the gauge of the Ukrainian rail network is wider than that of the European one. Alternatively, consideration is being given to extending the existing rail routes from Ukraine to Poland. Both loading capacities and route extensions require investments in infrastructure.
Hunger is abused as a weapon
Ukraine is the world’s largest wheat exporter, which is why the failure in deliveries primarily affects poorer countries that do not grow their own grain. The situation in agriculture is exacerbated by the fact that the war has also made natural gas extremely scarce and expensive, because natural gas is the most important raw material for the production of artificial fertilizer. “Now hunger has returned to Africa and it is being used as a weapon,” Hoyer lamented. It is often unclear to the countries concerned who is responsible. The West must therefore fight against the myth spread by Russia that NATO is at war with the Third World.
The FDP politician Hoyer was a member of the Bundestag and Minister of State in the Foreign Office. He has headed the development bank of the European Union since 2012. In 2018 he was voted European Banker of the Year. Despite the corona pandemic and the Ukraine war, Hoyer emphasized the need to say goodbye to fossil fuels on Wednesday. This goal remains important and must not be overshadowed by other challenges. Modern technologies such as green hydrogen, which has to be produced in large quantities, are decisive. “We will not be able to operate climate protection with the cargo bike,” said Hoyer.
The EIB is owned by the Member States of the European Union and has the highest possible credit rating. It can therefore also be easily financed with bonds. The bank can promote projects in politically confusing regions such as the Ukraine, which private credit institutions shy away from. Nevertheless, the EIB President emphasizes how important it is to activate the private capital market. “The money is on the street,” Hoyer said. However, the EIB does not distribute any grants, but grants loans that have to be repaid.