The Ukraine reconstruction conference is scheduled for April 26 in Rome. Its stated objective is to present the authorities in Kyiv with “a clear and articulate picture” of what Italy, its companies and international institutions can offer to participate in rebuilding the country’s infrastructure and economy.
- The conference will take place at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which stated in an official note that Italy “intends to play a leading role in the country’s reconstruction effort” by “making available the experience and know-how of its enterprises and exploring collaborations of mutual interest, particularly in sectors such as infrastructure and transport, agribusiness, energy, and digital.”
Kyiv’s position. “We want peace to come tomorrow, but we must be ready for any developments in the situation. Despite this, we must already think about our future, which is why we are planning this reconstruction conference in Rome,” said Ukraine’s Ambassador to Italy, Yaroslav Melnyk. “There is a need to rebuild affected infrastructure faster, such as health care and schools for children. And we must already start planning big infrastructure projects to start building as soon as the situation allows it.”
The details. The “highest levels of the Italian and Ukrainian governments, the European Commission and the main International Financial Institutions involved in the country” will participate, presenting their plans for the two reconstruction phases – fast recovery and medium to long-term reconstruction – as well as “the opportunities for participation by the Italian business system.”
- The Italian private sector, remarked the MFA, has shown great interest in participating in reconstruction efforts.
- After official salutations and an initial outline of the reconstruction programme, the conference will feature an institutional session, a second part devoted to participating international financial institutions, and then sectoral discussions and in-depth analyses panels (here’s a tentative schedule).
Italy’s approach. “We are preparing the conditions for supporting Ukraine and achieving the reconstruction of the country, which will become Europe’s biggest growth asset in the coming decades,” said Enterprise Minister Adolfo Urso recently. “We can and must also become an industrial partner. Let’s lay the groundwork for the best collaboration to support the Ukrainian economy and thus the Ukrainian resistance, and at the same time prepare the groundwork for Italy and its companies to be in the front line when reconstruction is needed.”
Logistics and crops. A crucial matter is enabling Ukraine to export its products immediately and receive what it needs, stressed the minister. “We will tackle the infrastructural and port logistics problem by building a large Italo-Ukrainian logistics platform on Ukrainian territory on the border with Hungary and Slovakia, which will be Ukraine’s largest overland logistics platform for channelling its own products to Europe.”
- Meanwhile, Italian industry will respond to Ukraine’s request for help in restoring agricultural machinery as early as next spring. And the conference will also encompass “cooperation on raw materials” as well as “in the space sector, in which we are already trading partners.”
Keeping promises. The conference is an expansion of the political, military, financial and humanitarian support – including refugee reception and equipment to restore the energy infrastructure – that Italy has been providing to Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion.
- Minister Urso had already laid the groundwork for this reconstruction drive when he travelled to Kyiv in January along with industrial leaders, most notably Confindustria’s Carlo Bonomi, and Francesco Talò, diplomatic advisor to Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
- Confindustria, which acts as Italy’s Chamber of Commerce, set up a new office that will coordinate industrial and technological cooperation between Rome and Kyiv.
- Later, when she visited Kyiv in late February, PM Meloni confirmed the conference would happen. “There is know-how that Italian companies can offer; we will make it available because Italy wants to play a leading role” in reconstruction efforts, she had stressed.