"What we have achieved yesterday and today is condensed into the Lugano Declaration. With the support of international partners, Switzerland and Ukraine have drawn up a document that forms a framework for the political process of reconstruction," explained President Cassis.
The Lugano Declaration states that the process is to be steered by Ukraine. But it also states that reforms must continue. There is a shared desire to build back better and a conviction that reconstruction on the one hand and reforms, the fight against corruption, transparency and the safeguarding of an independent judiciary on the other are not contradictory, but are indeed mutually dependent. The main segment of URC2022 concluded at midday after President Cassis and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal presented the Lugano Declaration and the Lugano Principles. The Declaration was endorsed by the countries represented in Lugano, as well as by the EU and several international organisations.
On the agenda in the afternoon is an economic forum organised by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) together with Ukraine. It will be opened by President Cassis, Prime Minister Shmyhal and the State Secretary for Economic Affairs, Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch. The aim is to discuss how the private sector can contribute to reconstruction efforts. Discussions on ways of determining the conditions for an inclusive process were held at side events involving civil society and parliamentary representatives on Monday.
Discussions on different aspects of reconstruction
The conference, which launched the political process of reconstruction at international level, was attended by 58 international delegations. In particular, it provided an opportunity to present Ukraine's reconstruction and development plan and the contributions of international partners. The programme included separate working discussions on the requirements of reconstruction in the areas of the economy, social affairs, digitalisation, infrastructure and environmental protection.
A further aim of URC2022 was to demonstrate the broad support of international partners for the reconstruction process in Ukraine and to exchange views on the resources needed. What form that support for Ukraine takes is a matter for the states and organisations. As a long-standing partner of Ukraine in the political, economic and cultural spheres, Switzerland was asked to host the conference. In order to promote stability and prosperity in Europe, Switzerland has long applied the full range of its international cooperation instruments in Ukraine: technical cooperation, peace policy, economic cooperation and humanitarian aid. Since 24 February, most of these activities have however been refocused.
Thanks to the supplementary credit of CHF 80 million approved by Parliament in June, Switzerland has swiftly been able to provide humanitarian aid in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. In addition, the SDC and SECO plan to double their commitment in Ukraine from existing budgets, to around CHF 100 million for 2022-23.
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) signed two agreements in Lugano with the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), each providing for contributions of CHF 10 million to their respective Ukraine programmes. The two initiatives are aimed at maintaining the state's core non-military functions, aligning the economic reform programme with the reconstruction programme and maintaining the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Important step forward on a long path
The president commended the cooperation with Ukraine during the preparations for URC2022 and thanked the international partners as well as all those who contributed to the smooth running of the conference, thereby contributing to its success. While URC2022 has launched the international process of Ukraine's reconstruction, everyone is well aware that there is a long way to go. President Cassis concluded by stating that the willingness to be part of a joint, long-term commitment is in the interests of Europe as a whole.
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