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International Financial Institutions Commit Billions to Eastern and Central Europe

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13 October 2013 – London – The European Investment Bank (EIB), the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have announced during the World Bank / International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings that they are well on their way to meeting targets for investment to stimulate economic growth in Central and South Eastern Europe.  According to the three institutions, this is making a difference for entrepreneurs, exporters, and small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs), and serves as a signal to financial markets that international financial institutions (IFIs) are leaning forward to help these countries face the challenges set off by the crisis.

The three IFIs launched their ‘Joint IFI Action Plan for Growth Central and South Eastern Europe’ in November 2012, pledging to invest a total of €30 billion in the region over the two years 2013/14. According to their new First Report on the Joint IFI Action Plan for Growth in Central and South Eastern Europe, by the end of July 2013, the three IFIs had already made €16 billion available in new lending. Results of the joint efforts have been encouraging, a reflection of the determination to share priorities and to cooperate closely on projects and initiatives.

The funding package was delivered in the context of the “Vienna Initiative”, the platform for coordination, which was launched at the height of the global economic crisis in 2008/09, and which successfully retained the engagement of international banks in emerging Europe.

So far under the 2013/14 Action Plan, the EIB has provided €10.5 billion out of a total commitment of €20 billion, the World Bank has provided €3.1 billion from its total of €6 billion and the EBRD has delivered €2.5 billion, against a commitment of €4 billion.

Werner Hoyer, the President of the EIB, commented: “The EIB is strongly committed to support sustainable growth in Central and South Eastern European Countries, by providing them with continued access to finance in the current challenging economic environment and by constantly developing its range of more targeted products. Our goal is to keep momentum to sustain the convergence process, also counteracting the effects of the crisis and the negative spillovers arising from the disintegration of the Euro area financial sector.”

Laura Tuck, Vice President for the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia Region, emphasized: “For the World Bank Group, by teaming up, we aim to support economic recovery and growth in Central and South Eastern Europe.  Economic growth is crucial in the World Bank Group’s two goals: ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity. I am delighted with the cooperation between our three institutions, which has strengthened our combined ability to advise clients in the region.  In fact, it is fair to say that the result of our joint action is greater than the sum of what our separate efforts would have achieved.”

EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said: “The EBRD is fully committed to continuing this important joint initiative – providing credit, especially to small- and medium-sized enterprises, to support the recovery and helping to forge policies that will pave the way for more sustainable growth and jobs in the future.  Reforms are crucial to keep the region attractive to investors in the global marketplace.”

Looking forward, the IFIs will aim to keep up the momentum into 2014 and maintain their strong focus on supporting the still-fragile recovery and helping to pave the way for more sustainable future growth in the region.  In particular, the three IFIs will make sure that small- and medium-sized enterprises will have access to credit. They will also provide financing for infrastructure, energy investments, and structural reforms to make Central and South Eastern Europe more competitive.

For more details, please see the First Report on the Joint IFI Action Plan for Growth in Central and South Eastern Europe.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), established in 1991 to nurture the private sector in Central and Eastern Europe and throughout Central Asia, uses investment to help build market economies and democracies. The EBRD is the largest single investor in the region and mobilizes significant foreign direct investment beyond its own financing. Owned by 61 countries and two intergovernmental institutions, the EBRD provides project financing for banks, industries and businesses.  The EBRD invested €8.7 billion in 388 individual projects in 2012.  For more information about the bank, visit http://www.ebrd.com/index.htm

Source: EBRD