Strasbourg, 22.01.2013 - Mr Hans Peter Lankes, Vice-President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development today underlined the importance of the EBRD’s relationship with the Council of Europe, and in particular with the PACE monitoring committee, as a forum for political scrutiny.
Lankes said that Council of Europe texts, along with those of the OSCE and the UN will become reference points and sources of the highest category that have to be cited, as part of the EBRD’s new political methodology.
The updated political methodology will include an expanded list of 14 criteria to take account of developments and the evolution in understanding of a modern democracy, and, with revised procedures in place, the EBRD hopes to be able to assess and measure progress in democracy in a more comprehensive manner.
Noting the continued challenging and complex environment in which the bank operates, Mr Lankes reported that new projects were signed in 2012, for a total commitment of 8.9bn Euros and mobilising significant co-financing. The bulk of the EBRD’s new business was done in countries where transition is less advanced. 30% of the annual business volume 2012 was in Russia, 17% in South East Europe, and 17% in the western CIS countries and the South Caucasus. Annual business volume in Turkey, a country of operations since 2009 only, reached 1 billion Euros last year.
The wider philosophy of the EBRD is to support democracy through supporting entrepreneurship and the strengthening of the middle class in transition countries. In countries where political conditions are particularly difficult, such as Belarus and Uzbekistan, the EBRD focuses efforts on a few core sectors, such as small business and developing the private sector, trying to provide an incentive to further reforms.
In the last quarter of 2012, the EBRD started operations in a new region – the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, currently including Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. Contacts have also begun with Libya.
The EBRD made an estimated 1bn Euros profit in 2012, which will be used to maintain its lending programme and to secure the bank’s AAA rating.
The bank supported 393 individual projects – the largest number ever, decreasing the average size of projects and reaching more small and medium-sized enterprises.