The eco brief. French economic diplomacy goes through Ukraine

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal (right) and Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of Economy and Finance (left) sign agreements for 1.3 billion euros, in Kiev (Ukraine), May 13, 2021 . (SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP)

For the moment, these are framework agreements which must be validated by the Ukrainian and French Parliaments, but it is as if it had been done. Regarding the two largest contracts: the Ukrainian railways undertake to buy 130 electric locomotives manufactured by the French Alstom; the state security services, 370 ladder trucks of firefighters at the Desautel company, whose headquarters are located in the department of Ain.

It is clearly the opening of a new chapter in economic cooperation between France and Ukraine, a former Soviet republic. Kiev expects a lot from political support from Paris in the tense context with Russia. In an interview with the newspaper Eastern Republican, Bruno Le Maire acknowledges that this is the culmination of nearly ten years of negotiations. On the financial level, Ukraine does not have the means to equip itself without the recourse to the loan: nearly 600 million euros of these contracts will be supported by loans from the French Treasury, a little more than 500 other millions by tricolor banks.

The manufacture of the 130 electric locomotives secures the activity of the Alstom site in Belfort, in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, for six to seven years, a great asset for the city and the region. For the French industrial group, after Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, now Ukraine, the former Soviet republics are proving to be a fertile land of conquest on the political and diplomatic level for the State, on the economic level for our industrialists. .

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