rogoff239_Alina SmutkoSuspilne UkraineJSC UAPBCGlobal Images Ukraine via Getty Images_ukrainereconstruction Alina Smutko/Suspilne Ukraine/JSC UAPBC/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

Europe Must Lead Ukraine’s Reconstruction

After 17 months of intense fighting, the costs of rebuilding Ukraine will most likely be far higher than previously expected. European countries, which have repeatedly pledged to support Ukraine but have contributed relatively little to its defense thus far, must coordinate and facilitate this effort.

CAMBRIDGE – Who should pay for Ukraine’s postwar reconstruction? Shortly after Russia’s invasion, my co-authors and I estimated that it would cost roughly €200-500 billion ($220-550 billion) to rebuild the country and called for Europe to spearhead the recovery effort. After more than 500 days of death and destruction, the projected costs have probably at least doubled. Consequently, the need for Europe to step up and assume responsibility has become increasingly urgent.

While the United States is also deeply invested in Ukraine’s future, as its massive economic and military support for the country has shown, there are several reasons why Europe must take the lead in coordinating and financing the country’s postwar recovery.

First, Europe’s interests are more closely aligned with Ukraine’s. While the US benefited enormously from the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, European countries reaped far greater rewards. Similarly, Europe has more to lose from a return to the pre-war status quo, not to mention from the looming threat of nuclear escalation.