The European Investment Bank (EIB) opened its regional office in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv yesterday (27 November), marking the first steps of the country’s accession to the European Union.

The event took place in the presence of Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Minister of Finance Sergii Marchenko. The EIB was represented by its President Werner Hoyer and Vice President Teresa Czerwińska.

Marchenko said the opening of the EIB office will help Ukraine implement future reconstruction projects as a result of the widespread destruction caused by war with Russia, including “schools, hospitals, bridges and water supply systems.”

“Strengthening cooperation in these areas is of great importance for Ukraine, our economic stability and the creation of proper living conditions for Ukrainians,” he noted in a press statement.

In addition, the newly opened office in Kyiv will coordinate with the regional EIB offices in Moldova and Georgia. In Moldova’s case, the EIB announced a €12m ($13m) grant in October to help the government in Chisinau rehabilitate the country’s north-south railway and connect the rivers of Danube and Prut.

The grant, funded by the EIB’s Global Project, will also provide a €42m loan to support Moldova’s severely underfunded railway infrastructure and bolster regional connectivity.

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Moldova and Georgia are both looking to join the EU at some point in the future. Last year in June, the European Commission granted candidate status to only Ukraine and Moldova, with a decision for Georgia being taken this year on 8 November.

EIB is the EU’s financial lender and the largest multilateral financial institution in the world. Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Bank has disbursed $1.87bn (€1.7bn) in priority expenditures, as well as €4bn in credit line to support the integration of Ukrainian refugees in EU member states.

In addition to Shmyhal and Marchenko, Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Finance Olga Zykova and the EU Ambassador to Ukraine were present at the opening.

“Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Bank’s support has played an important role in overcoming the economic consequences of the war. The opening of the office will enable effective support for further recovery and reconstruction efforts,” said Zykova.