Reconstruction "gigantically" expensive: Habeck: Ukraine needs 350 billion euros

Vice-Chancellor Habeck hopes that the meeting of the G7 trade ministers will produce an alternative to protectionism.

Reconstruction "gigantically" expensive: Habeck: Ukraine needs 350 billion euros

Vice-Chancellor Habeck hopes that the meeting of the G7 trade ministers will produce an alternative to protectionism. German companies should invest in Ukraine, for example, in order to support them economically. Habeck calls the sum that the war-torn country needs "gigantic".

According to Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck, Ukraine will probably need around 350 billion euros to rebuild the country. "It's a gigantic sum," said the Vice-Chancellor at Neuhardenberg Castle in Brandenburg. This requires a fund that increases the efficiency of private investments. The Ukrainian Economics Minister Julia Swyrydenko told him the sum, Habeck explained. She is a guest at the meeting of trade ministers from the seven leading industrialized nations (G7), which does not include Ukraine.

Swyrydenko said her country has received $19 billion in international aid over the past six months to stay afloat. German companies could already invest in Ukraine, according to Greens politician Habeck. Should the investments fail or plants be destroyed in the war, there would be safeguards in the form of so-called fallback guarantees. Russia attacked Ukraine in late February, and energy prices have skyrocketed since then. According to experts, Germany will probably slide into a recession in winter.

According to Habeck, a counter-impulse to demarcation and nationalism should be set at the meeting of the G7 trade ministers. Open markets could help. But it is important to him to anchor more sustainability criteria in trade agreements. "Germany has (...) been paralyzed by trade policy in recent years and has completely lost its voice." The traffic light coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP agreed to combine open markets with higher standards. This has been achieved, for example, with the CETA free trade agreement between the EU and Canada.

Habeck added that the G7 deliberations will also deal with the role of the World Trade Organization - "which, if I may say so, is badly battered". They need a renaissance. In June in Geneva, the 164 WTO members agreed on a series of agreements, including a temporary repeal of corona vaccine patents. In addition, a limit on fishing subsidies was agreed to combat global overfishing. A moratorium on tariffs on international data flows was also extended. "After all, there were decisions," said Habeck. There must be rules in trade, as well as an arbitration board.

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