EIB to provide €200m to help Czech Republic host war refugees from Ukraine
The European Investment Bank (EIB) — the EU bank — is set to provide €200 million to the Czech Republic to help the country host war refugees from Ukraine. The loan agreement signed with the Ministry of Finance will enable the Czech government to cover urgent, mainly healthcare-related expenses, focusing on ongoing issues connected to health insurance for displaced people from Ukraine, as well as other areas related to the most urgent needs of Ukrainian refugees.
The loan will help the Czech Republic to provide for the basic needs of around 480 000 Ukrainian war refugees who have fled to the country since Russia launched its invasion on 24 February 2022, and to provide vital support for the Czech healthcare system by covering the acute needs of the Ukrainian citizens it insures.
These funds come from the €4 billion EIB Ukraine Solidarity Package announced by the Bank in May 2022 — an urgent support mechanism for cities and regions in EU Member States hosting war refugees from Ukraine to address urgent investment needs.
EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova said: “The European Investment Bank reacted quickly to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, determined to support both Ukraine and EU Member States affected by this aggression. We are very proud of the fact that we are delivering on both goals. The Czech hospitality and welcome of Ukrainian war refugees is a perfect example of European solidarity and kindness, and the EIB is glad to help the country continue to protect the weakest from the war.”
Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic Zbyněk Stanjura commented: „This year, the European Investment Bank will provide new credit funds up to CZK 25 billion to finance railway projects in the Czech Republic. In addition, EIB is ready to provide almost CZK 5 billion more to cover extraordinary expenses related to managing the Ukrainian refugee crisis last year. With regard to the ongoing increased volatility in the financial markets, I expect that the interest conditions of these provided loans may be more favorable compared to the bond market.“
The first Czech contribution to the EPTATF
In addition to this loan agreement, the Czech Republic has for the first time contributed CZK 10 million to the EIB’s Eastern Partnership Technical Assistance Trust Fund (EPTATF), becoming its ninth donor, alongside seven other EU Member States and the United Kingdom. The fund is one of EIB’s oldest trust funds dedicated to technical assistance and feasibility studies in the Eastern Partnership countries including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
The decision to invest into the EIB trust fund was mainly motivated by the Ukrainian cause, as this is currently the only vehicle that can support the Ukrainian recovery using technical assistance. The Czech Republic’s contribution was made via its Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The EIB Group worked closely with the recent Czech EU Presidency to ensure that the EU response programmes for the recovery of Ukraine are both efficient and complement each other well. It also devoted resources to contribute to presidency events and activities related to the EU development agenda, Eastern Partnership Business Forum, Forum on Ukraine, and the Western Balkans summit and business forum for the region.
Jan Lipavsky, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, said: “We have a great experience cooperating with the European investment bank directly in Ukraine and other Eastern Partnership countries. At the end of last year, we placed 10 million CZK into the EIB program, which allowed Czech experts and Czech companies to get involved in the stabilisation and reconstruction of Ukraine. I therefore appreciate that the EIB is now getting involved in helping Ukrainian refugees in Czechia.”
EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova made this further comment on the EPTATF contribution: “We are delighted to welcome the Czech Republic as the newest contributor to EPTATF. This partnership will provide an effective vehicle for the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ efforts to deliver sustained impact in Ukraine, which has been in continuous need of help. The donation enables the Czech Republic to reach out to Ukrainian people and places with additional support for targeted development outcomes.”
The EPTATF addresses a wide range of global challenges related to issues such as clean water, electricity, gender equality and youth employment. The EPTATF and the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs currently share the goal of supporting the recovery in Ukraine via technical assistance for projects, including project preparation and implementation support, upstream studies, capacity building and dissemination activities.
The Czech Republic’s contribution — together with those of other donors Austria, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom — backs the fund’s operations making a direct contribution to several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Collective actions unlock billions of euros in investment to combat climate change, eradicate poverty and fight inequality. The expected result of these operations and assistance are more than 2.4 million people with improved connectivity, energy efficiency and secure energy supply, 118 000 people employed in construction each year and safe drinking water for over 66 700 people.
The EIB’s long-term commitment to Ukraine’s recovery and the EU Member States
The EIB has been working with Ukraine for 15 years. We have invested in the country and supported the recovery of the area affected by the conflict in the Donbas region.
After Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula and occupied two large parts of eastern Ukraine in 2014, EPTATF approved a €3 million grant to support the implementation of a €200 million EIB loan (Early Recovery Programme) to assist people who fled the conflict, and the towns that accepted them. As part of this project, more than 90 hospitals, medical facilities and a large number of educational sites in eastern Ukraine were repaired, insulated or refurbished to modern standards. Many of these sites have been damaged again. EPTATF can be used once more as part of the solution to keep rebuilding the area.
With the military invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops, our commitment remains steadfast, supporting the reconstruction of schools, kindergartens, community centres and infrastructure destroyed by the war. The EIB offered immediate relief to Ukraine right after war broke out, disbursing €1.7 billion in funds last year to help finance emergency repairs to the country’s infrastructure ravaged by Russian bombing. The Bank remains committed to stepping up its activities in Ukraine, in line with the mandate given by EU leaders, and in close cooperation with the European Commission, the European Parliament and international partners.
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