Long-term support for Ukraine’s defence capability and accession to the EU are the best guarantees of sustainable long-term business planning. This was stated by Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, on 29 August as part of an online speech during the discussion on Ukraine’s reconstruction at the European Forum Alpbach, which is taking place in Austria.
The event was also attended by: Karoline Edtstadler, Federal Minister for the EU and Constitution at the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria; Taras Kytsmey, Co-Founder and Board Member of SoftServe; Johann Strobl, CEO of RBI; and Anna Derevyanko, Executive Director of the European Business Association.
The Deputy Prime Minister stressed that despite the fact that the war destroyed buildings and factories and forced millions of people to move abroad, some Ukrainian and foreign companies did not stop working in Ukraine for a single day, contributing to the country’s resilience. “They were confident that the banking sector would operate at full capacity, that the Government would continue to perform its functions despite the scale of the military aggression. This is the new reality, where we have to act and perform our functions during a full-scale war, taking all the risks involved.”
According to Olha Stefanishyna, despite the challenges of the war, the country has launched programmes to relocate businesses to safer areas of Ukraine, and in this context the issue of security guarantees is very important today.
“The issue of security guarantees and long-term support for Ukraine’s defence capability is very important for business in terms of capabilities and long-term planning. And, of course, all these security guarantees should be in place until Ukraine becomes a NATO member. The second very important issue, which is also a kind of business guarantee, is the process of Ukraine’s accession to the European Union,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
Olha Stefanishyna noted that the Government was currently implementing all the necessary political reforms and transformations to ensure transparent and sustainable development of the country and prepare both for EU accession and post-war reconstruction.
“For us, it is crucial that post-war reconstruction is based on the EU accession process with the resources we need. For other countries that have gone through the accession process, it has been the time when they have attracted the most investment. We are aware that it is much more difficult for Ukraine because we are still at war. That is why we need to find a model of how to invest in a country that is open to investment despite the war and needs to attract foreign companies more actively, especially to ensure sustainable recovery,” the Deputy Prime Minister stressed.
She noted that European partners today must go beyond traditional approaches, especially when it comes to being part of a new wave of evolution of the European project as such.
“Those who take this risk and decide to support us economically now by investing in Ukraine will definitely benefit in the future. The Ukrainian Government, which continues to function regardless of the scale and scope of the war thanks to fully functioning institutions, as well as the Ukrainian business community and strong civil society, can provide a very concrete guarantee of this,” Olha Stefanishyna said.
At the same time, the Deputy Prime Minister noted that if foreign companies had any questions about how to operate in Ukraine today, they should turn to the Ukrainian business community, which can provide all kinds of advice and suggestions on how to operate in the country despite the war.