In a draft resolution unanimously adopted in Nicosia on 12 May, the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development called on the Development Bank (CEB) to strengthen its ties with the Council of Europe, by inviting it to work closely with not only the Secretary General but also the President of PACE, the rapporteur on the CEB and the Commissioner for Human Rights, and to invite them to the annual meetings of the Governing Board and the joint meetings of the collegial bodies.
The committee also underlined the importance of direct contacts between the Bank and the parliamentary representatives of European States for enhancing the visibility of the CEB’s work and potential: “National parliaments can play a most valuable role in promoting domestically project initiatives for the CEB’s potential financing.”
The committee members believe that there are many ways of strengthening the CEB’s ties with the Council of Europe, for example through contributions to support various ongoing campaigns, and co-operation with the EU towards strengthening solidarity mechanisms on the ground, in particular with more co-financing in favour of youth employment, Roma integration and housing for vulnerable population groups through projects developed within the Bank’s mandate.
The committee also believes that the CEB should further maximise the social added-value of its projects by further expanding niche activities with a high social value, particularly those supporting sectoral priorities (such as investment in administrative and judicial public services, small-scale health-care projects, social housing and asylum centres) and with a geographical focus on non-EU countries in South-Eastern Europe. Finally, the CEB should enhance recourse to the combination of loans and grants for the support of projects with the highest potential for social impact.
“The CEB’s business model has been challenged by a difficult economic and financial environment. The Bank therefore needs to persevere in fine-tuning its activities, structures, working methods and strategic orientations. It has to do so in order to respond more effectively and more rapidly to radical changes in its environment and demands from member States”, concluded the rapporteur Tuur Elzinga (Netherlands, UEL).
The debate on the report on ”Challenges for the Council of Europe Development Bank”, in which its Governor, Rolf Wenzel, will also take part, will be held at the next plenary session of the PACE in Strasbourg (23-27 June).