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Five things to know about the Lugano conference in Ukraine

Planned long before Russia decided to invade Ukrainian territory, the Lugano Conference on Ukraine, which was initially intended to discuss reforms in the country, was reorganized into restructuring. Ukraine’s partners, international organizations and the private sector will gather in Switzerland on Monday and Tuesday to develop a draft. “Marshall Plan”. Here are five things to know about the Lugano conference on July 4-5.

  • From reforms to reconstruction

The Lugano conference had been planned long before the war to discuss reform and the fight against corruption, but the Russian invasion, which began on February 24, turned the meeting into a forum to discuss reconstruction from Ukraine.

Funding is urgently needed to give Kyiv an opportunity to share its recovery plan and discuss with all stakeholders how best to meet the challenges ahead.

“Lugano will be one of the primary, if not the first platform for discussing the reconstruction of Ukraine, concrete steps and a plan”, Ambassador of Ukraine to Switzerland Artem Rybchenko explained. The conference should end with a joint declaration “Priorities, Methodology and Principles” This Ukrainian recovery.

Swiss hosts had hoped to welcome Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in person, but because of the conflict, Prime Minister Denis Simihal will lead the largest delegation to leave the country since the start of the war. , which will include six ministers, members of parliament and regional officials.

“President Zelensky was involved in the preparation from the beginning”, the Ambassador underlined. As he is used to it, he will intervene online.

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In total, there were eight heads of government, 15 ministers and representatives from 38 countries and 14 institutions, 350 representatives from the private sector and 210 from civil society.

European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen has confirmed her visit, as have the heads of government of Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic.

The president of the Swiss Confederation, Ignacio Cassis – also responsible for foreign affairs – has big ambitions for the conference.

He wants to draw the outlines of a reconstruction strategy inspired by the Marshall Plan, an American initiative that made it possible to rebuild Europe devastated by World War II.

But Lugano will not be a conference of donors. “This is a conference where we will discuss how we want to start this process” Rescue, the special envoy in charge of the conference, Simon Biddox, underlined. He sees it as a compass.

Rebuilding the country will take years and cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Participants should examine proposals and offers of contributions.

  • Corruption, digital democracy

Ukraine will face demands for far-reaching reforms, particularly in the fight against corruption. The former Soviet state has long been ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world by the NGO Transparency International.

In Europe, only Russia and Azerbaijan rank lower, and given the amount at stake, substance is important. The president of the federation spoke about the commitment to monitor the financial flows.

President Volodymyr Zelensky will present his vision “Intelligent Recovery” The conference included plans to rebuild Ukraine into a fully digital democracy.

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Lugano, a picturesque town with the air of an Italian Mediterranean town with palm trees, arcades and piazzas, sits on the edge of the lake of the same name, nestled at the base of a spectacular mountain range. A stone’s throw from the Italian border, it is one of Switzerland’s three main financial centers, but also a destination for holidays and leisure. It is very popular among rich and famous Russians, including Alina Kabaeva, who has a long relationship with the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.

Swiss and regional officials said tighter security measures would be in place, including airspace restrictions and the presence of hundreds of military personnel to assist regional law enforcement. The head of the regional government of Ticino, Norman Cope, expressed his confidence in the success of the conference. “This is our small contribution to European security, and therefore ours”he said.

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