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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)
News article27 April 2022Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations1 min read

Statement by President von der Leyen on local and regional cooperation between Ukraine and the EU for Ukraine's reconstruction

President von der Leyen

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear President Zelenskyy,

Dear Volodymyr,

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to your very important discussions. We see every day with admiration how the brave citizens of Ukraine have rallied together to support and defend their homes and those of their neighbours in the face of Russia's brutal invasion.

You are an inspiration for so many around the world. And we are with you in spirit and with concrete support!

Soon, the time will come for Ukraine's reconstruction. It is actually starting already in the liberated areas around Kyiv and elsewhere. Ukrainians are coming back to their devastated towns and villages to remove the debris, rebuild houses and infrastructure and restart the economy. This is an enormous effort and we need to mobilise all our available resources to rebuild Ukraine.

Therefore, I whole-heartedly support President Zelenskyy's proposal to involve, through partnerships, the cities and regions of the European Union in these reconstruction efforts.

Europe's strength is based on our citizens working tirelessly on improving daily lives and the future of our children in cities, towns, villages and neighbourhoods. Our cities and regions have experience and expertise when it comes to rebuilding and managing the daily lives of citizens. And we want to share this expertise with you.

Peer-to-peer cooperation at all local and regional levels will allow us to speed up Ukraine's reconstruction. Think of architects, companies, bankers and experts from the European Union and Ukraine, all working together. We will expand exponentially the number of twin cities and twin regions between our two peoples.

You can count on the huge solidarity of European citizens in support of Ukraine. And I know that we can also count on the 'European Committee of the Regions' that is actively linking our local and regional networks in the European Union with their Ukraine counterparts.

The entire EU stands behind Ukraine, now and after you have prevailed and overcome this horrible war. We will help you to reconstruct your country and we will walk together with you on your European path.

Thank you.