The activities of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in 2010-12
- Parliamentary Assembly
debate on 22 January 2013 (4th Sitting) (see Doc. 13089, report of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy,
rapporteur: Mr Elzinga). Text adopted
by the Assembly on 22 January 2013 (4th Sitting).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly has
reviewed the activities of the European Bank for Reconstruction
and Development (EBRD) for the period 2010-12 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.
2. The 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.
3. According 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
of its objectives and should be monitored and promoted by the Bank
as part of the process of assisting the transition of its countries
of operations to market economies.
4. In 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.
5. The time period covered by this review of the activities of
the EBRD (2010-12) has witnessed a second wave of the current financial
and economic crisis which has hit especially hard in Europe: a sovereign
debt crisis in a number of European States and a related confidence
crisis in the eurozone single currency. 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; the ensuing economic slowdown in the
eurozone, and western Europe in general, has had a negative impact
on the transition countries of the region. The EBRD has significantly
scaled up its operations to support crisis response and recovery
in its countries of operations.
6. The 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.
7. It 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. A previous
example was 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.
8. The 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 the market economy; 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.
9. The 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 the partner for democracy status),
the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission),
but also with other relevant bodies.
10. The Assembly notes the recent efforts towards 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.
11. It 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.