Ukraine’s Nestlé boost is as important as EU aid

The flag of Ukraine is pictured in front of the headquarters of food giant Nestle in Vevey, Switzerland, March 24, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

LONDON, Dec 13 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Numbers never tell the full story. Consumer group Nestlé (NESN.S) on Monday announced a small war-time investment in Ukraine which may be as important for the country’s future as an 18 billion euro European Union aid package agreed on the same day.

Nestlé will invest 40 million Swiss francs (41 million euros) in a new facility that will help to produce cold sauces, seasonings, soups and instant food. The Swiss consumer group, which already has 5,800 employees in the country, will add 1,500 new jobs in the process. Meanwhile the EU struck a deal with holdout Hungary that will allow it to disburse aid to Ukraine next year. It will go some way to helping the government in Kyiv meet its financial needs; the International Monetary Fund estimates Ukraine’s budget deficit at 5 billion euros a month.

While still at war with Russia, Ukraine needs Western aid to help the government pay its teachers, doctors and soldiers, and start rebuilding railroads and power plants. Private investments will be equally crucial to help the economy take off. Nestlé’s soup spending raises the hope others will follow suit. (By Pierre Briançon)

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(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own.)

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