Conference on the relief and reconstruction of Ukraine and its European perspective
Kraków, Poland, 19 July 2022
Civil society support for people fleeing the war in Ukraine:
Civil society has been crucial in providing help to refugees from Ukraine, often thanks to its flexible and innovative approach, from the very first day of Russia's aggression. Close cooperation between local and regional authorities and civil society is key to providing the necessary assistance to people fleeing the conflict. Despite tremendous efforts, some obstacles continue to hinder the work of civil society organisations (CSOs) such as bureaucratic requirements for resettling refugees from one country to another. Host countries need to ensure access to the labour market, to healthcare and to social services for refugees on an equal footing with their own citizens. The risk of "solidarity fatigue" among volunteers and society at large has grown during the summer period. The EU must stay united in its efforts to help Ukraine and the countries of Europe to mitigate the impact of refugee flows. The lessons learnt from the war in Ukraine should be incorporated into European migration policy.
Helping internally displaced people and supporting the resilience of the Ukrainian economy:
Employers' organisations, trade unions and CSOs are playing a pivotal role in keeping the Ukrainian economy operational in times of war. Their involvement will be vital to making the economy stronger and resilient in the future. Civil and social dialogue needs to be preserved, despite the ongoing conflict. The massive displacement of people towards Ukraine's Western regions has put pressure on local labour markets and social services, in particular on those assisting people in need. Relocated companies have had to deal with additional administrative procedures, while ensuring they can pay their employees' wages. Although aid has been decreasing, needs for adequate housing, food, hygiene products and medicines, assistance with finding employment and retraining, as well as healthcare and psychological support, remain the same. EU and other international donors must continue their financial, technical and humanitarian assistance. The EU should take measures to promote cooperation between EU and Ukrainian SMEs, to facilitate the access of Ukrainian SMEs to the EU market and to prioritise Ukrainian companies in public procurement related to humanitarian assistance.
Relief and reconstruction of Ukraine – the role of EU and Ukrainian civil society:
The post-war reconstruction should be sustainable, transparent and based on the latest green and digital technologies. The process should not create disparities but be a chance to create equal opportunities for all. A Ukrainian Green Deal should be designed on the basis of the European Green Deal and should include the gradual restoration of the environment damaged by military action. The reconstruction must be a common effort by the Ukrainian administration and civil society, which has gained invaluable expertise and know-how over the past three decades. Lessons should be learnt from other post-war recovery experiences in Europe, namely from the Western Balkans. A qualified and trained workforce will be crucial, especially in the building sector and in public administration.