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Satellite Event of the European Commission’s Annual Research Conference 2023

Access to finance, economic convergence and EU accession – perspectives for Ukraine, Moldova and the Western Balkans

Event type

Research Conference


November 15, 2023
10.00 – 17.30 CET


Oesterreichische Nationalbank
Otto-Wagner-Platz 3
1090 Vienna
Hybrid event (in person and online)




In cooperation with:
Logo Suomen Panki
Logo: European Commission
Logo: International Finance Corporation
Logo: Oesterreichische Nationalbank

Abstrakt (SVK)

Ukrajinu, Moldavsko a západný Balkán spája spoločná perspektíva vstupu do EÚ, hoci časový harmonogram zostáva neistý. Vstup do EÚ a konvergencia úrovní príjmov v týchto krajinách k úrovniam EÚ si bude vyžadovať značné množstvo kapitálu poskytnutého z verejných a súkromných zdrojov v zahraničí aj v samotných krajinách. Okrem toho sa od kandidátskych krajín EÚ bude vyžadovať, aby vytvorili správne rámcové podmienky, ktoré im umožnia využiť tieto finančné toky. Z pohľadu kandidátov, EÚ a medzinárodných finančných inštitúcií sa táto konferencia zameria na potreby financovania a možné zdroje financovania. Rečníci a panelisti budú diskutovať aj o skúsenostiach získaných z predchádzajúcich pristúpení krajín po prechode do EÚ.


Ukraine, Moldova and the Western Balkans are united by the common perspective of joining the EU, although timelines remain uncertain. EU accession and the convergence of income levels in these countries toward EU levels will require a substantial amount of capital provided by public and private sources both abroad and in the countries themselves. Moreover, the EU candidates will be required to create the right framework conditions, allowing them to leverage these financial flows. Taking the perspective of the candidates, the EU and international financial institutions, this conference will look at financing needs and possible financing sources. Speakers and panelists will also discuss lessons learned from previous EU accessions of post-transition economies.


10:00 AM

Welcome remarks

Robert Holzmann
Governor | Oesterreichische Nationalbank

Reiner Martin
Executive Director | National Bank of Slovakia

10:15 AM

Keynote Speech

Rana Karadsheh
Regional Director for Europe | International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group

10:45 AM

Coffee break

11:00 AM

Panel 1: Financing needs for convergence and EU accession – the candidates’ perspective
This panel looks at current estimates of financing needs for economic convergence and EU accession from the perspective of the EU candidates. Such estimates are subject to considerable uncertainty, especially in the case of Ukraine, which is still at war. At the same time, they provide an important initial yardstick for the debate on regional financing: What are the current views held in the region regarding overall financing needs and the composition of various funding sources?

Birgit Niessner
Director | Oesterreichische Nationalbank

Milena Mihajlovic
Programme Director | European Policy Centre

Veronika Movchan
Academic Director | IER – Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting, Kyiv

Stas Ghilețchi
Deputy Research Director | Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE)

12:00 PM

Presentation of a study commissioned by the Bertelsmann Stiftung: Reconstructing Ukraine and EU integration

Richard Grieveson
Deputy Director | The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies – wiiw

12:30 PM


01:30 PM

Panel 2: Official international and European funding sources

International and European public funding will play a key role in financing the next round of EU accessions and the successful convergence of acceding countries. Funding efforts will include the provision of grants and loans. Since public funding is typically rather limited, these funding sources can be a crucial catalyst for private funding in the region. Against this backdrop, this panel sets out to explore

  • how official international and European lenders can ensure that their funding is fully complementary to private capital and
  • what needs to be done to maximise leveraging of private capital through official funding.

Reiner Martin
Executive Director | National Bank of Slovakia

Teresa Czerwińska (tbc)
Vice-President | European Investment Bank

Christoph Denk
Managing Director for Policy Strategy and Delivery | European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Anna Jarosz-Friis
Acting Director, Ukraine Service, DG NEAR | European Commission

02:30 PM

Panel 3: Private access to finance

The private sector is expected to provide the lion’s share of the funding needed to support EU accession and economic convergence in Ukraine, Moldova and the Western Balkans. This in turn requires a well-functioning financial sector, including banks and nonbanks, and leveraging of new opportunities offered by fintech. Funding will also require private capital inflows in the form of foreign direct investment (FDI), which played a key role in the transition of Central, Eastern and Southeastern European (CESEE) countries. In this context, this panel seeks

  • to identify which type of financial system would be best suited to support accession and convergence processes and
  • to explore lessons learned from the experience of other post-transition countries that are now members of the EU.


Florian Horky
Zeppelin University

XX | Vienna Initiative

Nicholas Vickery
Disruptive Technologies and Funds Department | International Finance Corporation

Julia Wörz
Head of Section | Oesterreichische Nationalbank

03:30 PM

Coffee break

04:00 PM

Concluding panel discussion: Making convergence work – framework conditions for attracting and utilizing capital

Favorable political and economic framework conditions are indispensable for accession to the EU and economic convergence. Only if conditions are right, will it be feasible to generate enough financial flows and use them productively. We know from previous accession rounds that the accession process itself is a very powerful tool to push through reforms and create the right institutional framework. We also know, however, that the desired results have not always been achieved. What can we learn from past experiences, what needs to be improved and what needs to be done differently?

Annika Eriksgård
Director, DG Economic and Financial Affairs | European Commission


Elina Ribakova (tbc)
Director of the International Program | Kyiv School of Economics

Sławomir S. Sikora
Chairman of the Supervisory Board | Citi Handlowy

István P. Székely
Principal Advisor, Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs | European Commission

05:30 PM

End of conference