1The Parliamentary Assembly has reviewed the activities
of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in
the period 2010-2012 in the light of the reports by the Bank and
the report prepared by the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy.
Following the reform of the Assembly’s structures and working methods,
which took effect in January 2012, the Assembly has sought to make
the debate more political and to focus more on a political assessment
of the work of the Bank and not so much on its actual activities
as in the past.
2The Assembly recalls that the Agreement Establishing the European
Bank for Reconstruction and Development includes a significant political
element, in that it specifies that the Bank may conduct its operations
in countries of central and eastern Europe which are not only proceeding
in their transition towards market-oriented economies, but are also
committed to and applying principles of multiparty democracy and pluralism.
3According to the preamble to the Agreement, the successful
transition of member countries to market-oriented economies is closely
linked to parallel progress towards democracy and the rule of law.
Thus, the political aspect of the Bank’s mandate extends to all
elements of the Bank’s objectives and should be monitored and encouraged
by the Bank as part of the process of assisting the transition to
market economies of its countries of operations.
4In the co-operation agreement concluded between the Council
of Europe and the EBRD in 1992, the two organisations agreed to
exchange information, particularly regarding the monitoring and
assessment of the development of democracy in central and eastern
Europe. By debating the activities of the EBRD, the Assembly provides
a parliamentary oversight of the Bank's operations.
5The time period covered by the current overview of the activities
of the EBRD (2010-2012) has witnessed a second wave of the current
financial and economic crisis which has hit hard especially in Europe:
a sovereign debt crisis in a number of European States and a related
trust crisis in the single currency of the eurozone. In an attempt
to restore confidence of financial markets in the economic fundamentals
of the countries affected, austerity programmes have been implemented
throughout the review period and the ensuing economic slowdown in
the euro area, and western Europe in general, has had a negative
impact on the countries of the transition region. The EBRD has significantly
scaled up its operations to support crisis response and recovery in
its countries of operations.
6The Assembly welcomes the new methodology developed by the
EBRD to evaluate the transition impact of its projects in the countries
of reference, namely the transition scoreboard presented in the
EBRD 2010 Transition Report. It notes with regret, however, that
the methodology of the scoreboard is still limited, as it does not
include progress towards democracy and the rule of law.
7It notes with interest the new Memorandum of Understanding
signed by the Bank with the European Commission and the European
Investment Bank (EIB) in 2011, designed to achieve closer co-operation between
the signatories. A recent example of such co-operation was the establishment
of the Western Balkan Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility,
which could have a beneficial impact on the entire region. Another
example is the joint Action Plan of 2009-10, where the EBRD and
the EIB worked very closely to support banks and credit to the real
economy in central and eastern Europe; a new joint Action Plan has
been recently announced by the EBRD, the EIB, and the World Bank,
covering 2013-14 and pledging 30 billion euros to support economic
recovery and growth in central and south-eastern Europe.
8The Assembly also welcomes the extension, further to the 2011
Deauville Declaration, of the geographic scope of the EBRD’s mandate,
in order to support the transition in those countries of the south
and east of the Mediterranean (the SEMED countries) which embrace
multiparty democracy, pluralism and market economics; it notes that
operations started in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia in the
second half of 2012, through the use of a special fund. Full country
of operations status requires the ratification of the amendments
to Article 1 of the Bank’s statute. This is expected to be achieved
in the first half of 2013.
9The situation in these countries is, however, quite different
from that of central and eastern Europe twenty years ago, and so
is the global economic context. This should be taken into account.
It is therefore of the utmost importance to interact and co-operate
with civil society organisations and social partners in order to shape
transition policy in a way that is broadly supported, promotes the
creation of wealth and social stability and does not cause social
injustice. Furthermore, it is important to develop synergy in the
wider European efforts to support the emerging democracies in the
Arab world. The EBRD should thus step up co-ordination with the
Assembly (taking into account its partner for democracy status),
the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission),
but also with other relevant bodies.
10The Assembly welcomes the recent revision and updating by
the EBRD of the methodology to assess the compliance of its countries
of operations with the political aspects of the Bank’s mandate,
notably on the basis of four criteria: representative and accountable
government; civil society, media and participation; rule of law
and access to justice; and civil and political rights.
In the draft resolution, paragraph 10, replace the words "welcomes the recent revision" with the following words :
"notes the recent efforts towards revision".
11It looks forward to the effective implementation of this new
methodology and encourages the EBRD to strengthen its co-operation
with the Council of Europe – and in particular with the Assembly
– in making and monitoring its assessments.