Ukraine: rebuilding cities, sharing a common European future

Markus Spiske
12 October 2022
Ukraine: rebuilding cities, sharing a common European future

When it comes to the war in Ukraine, the names of so many Ukrainian cities sound familiar now. Cities most Europeans didn't even know existed. 

Bucha. Irpin. Gostomel. Mariupol. Kherson. And many more.

Local communities are the first exposed to Russia's full-scale invasion, and many of them have become resistance hubs to the occupation. Meanwhile, they are the ones faced with massive destruction of buildings, schools, hospitals, cultural and historical landmarks.

It is with them and through them that the revival of Ukraine and its process of integration into the European Union will begin.

Though the war is not over yet, it’s time to start rebuilding the country. It’s time to shape a sustainable reconstruction strategy and implement the first concrete steps before winter comes. This is in our hands to give the Ukrainian people hope for a European future.

Progressive cities and regions have already shown impressive support to their Ukrainian counterparts in the most difficult times. From welcoming millions of Ukrainian refugees, mostly women and children, to sending humanitarian aid and donations, people all over Europe united around Ukraine.

Since the first day of Russia's full-scale invasion, the PES Group, together with its Progressive family, stands firmly in solidarity with all the Ukrainians and continues to push for even more help.

PES Group member Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence, Kyiv's twin city since 1967, is the rapporteur on the role of EU cities and regions in rebuilding Ukraine at the European Committee of the Regions.

In August, he personally visited the Ukrainian capital to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky and Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko.

In his opinion, adopted by the European Committee of the Regions on 11 October, Nardella stressed that Ukraine’s reconstruction is both the EU's human duty and a European necessity. He also called on the European Commission to establish a Reconstruction Platform that would fully involve local and regional authorities both in Ukraine and in the European Union and build on Ukraine's already advanced decentralisation reform.


In the first stage of Ukraine’s recovery, the European Commission committed to providing €150 million to help internally displaced people in Ukraine and €100 million for the reconstruction of schools destroyed by Russian bombings. The Committee’s opinion welcomed the decision but stressed that these amounts are largely insufficient, as this rapid phase is estimated to be €17 billion.

If we want to see the rebirth of Ukrainian cities as soon as possible, we need to commit to more financial support.

The second stage of the rebuilding process should be dedicated to the restoration of critical infrastructure and service, including central heating, electricity, water, and sewage.

The third stage should lay the foundations for long-term sustainable growth.

In this context, the Alliance of Cities and Regions for the Reconstruction of Ukraine launched on 30 June 2022 should be a vehicle to map the local and regional needs in Ukraine and help in coordination efforts with European Union cities and regions. It would in particular allow it to provide expertise through peer-to-peer and twinning projects to strengthen capacity-building, good governance, and technical assistance to cities and regions in Ukraine.

Taking into account Ukraine's new status as an EU candidate country, the reconstruction of Ukraine also paves the way to meet all criteria for Ukraine's accession to the European Union.

Progressive local and regional leaders will help rebuild Ukrainian cities and regions and create new perspectives for the Ukrainian people, and at the same time make Europe a better place.

We can shape the European future together. Our future is common.



© Photo credits: Mike Erskine on Unsplash