The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced a new action plan for Central and South Eastern Europe worth some EUR 30 billion. The scheme, which aims to support recovery and economic growth in the region, is a joint initiative with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the World Bank.
The three institutions have committed to providing the EUR 30 billion over 2013 and 2014 and the funds will support both private and public sector projects, with infrastructure, corporate investment and the financial sector mentioned explicitly as possible areas for funding. The EIB will stump up EUR 20 billion minimum for the scheme, the World Bank is expected to provide around a further EUR 6.5 billion, while the EBRD expects to invest about EUR 4 billion.
As well as Romania, the financial support will be provided to Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, FYR Macedonia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. “While the world’s eyes are fixed on the problems on Western Europe, the legitimate requirements of emerging Europe, which has staked so much in the name of economic and financial integration, must not be neglected,” said the EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti on the announcement of the plan today (November 8 ).
A whole host of potential beneficiaries and projects are given by the three financial institutions involved, from EIB support for growth and employment creation, to private sector funding from the World Bank for everything from agribusiness and banking to infrastructure and manufacturing. The EBRD will provide loans, equity and trade financing to facilitate regional integration and export-led growth.
As well as hard cash, the plan also includes providing know-how to the region. The EBRD’s cash will come with conditions – dialogue on economic restructuring, diversification, and enhancing corporate governance are also a part of the deal for the countries, companies and institutions hoping for funding.
The efforts made by countries in the region to implement often painful reforms was acknowledged, along with Central and South Eastern Europe’s place as an innocent victim of ongoing financial problems in Europe. “The EU’s new as well as its aspiring member states – especially in Southern and Eastern Europe – are once again suffering from problems that are largely not of their making. The EBRD will work with its partners to ensure that the sacrifices to achieve that integration have not been made in vain,” said EBRD President Chakrabarti.
Liam Lever, email@example.com