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European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

Established to promote transition to market-oriented economies in the countries of central and eastern Europe and Central Asia, the EBRD's lending often fails to benefit the people in these countries and regularly prioritises carbon-intensive and environmentally damaging development.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development was established in 1991 in London with the aim of promoting transition to market-oriented economies in the countries of central and eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The EBRD has greatly increased its activities as a result of the financial crisis. It also decided to expand its operations to Egypt, following the upheavals in north Africa. But questions persist about the sustainability of the financial system which it is promoting in the transition countries.

Institutional background

Currently the EBRD has 63 members (61 countries, the European Union and the European Investment Bank), with a total of 29 countries of operations in central and eastern Europe, Central Asia an the Caucasus - and soon in north Africa.

Toolkit for civil society


Guidance on how to use the EBRD's grievance mechanism for civil society, local groups and individuals that are adversely affected by a bank project.

Download as pdf

It provides loans, equity investments and guarantees for private and public sector projects in the areas of finance, infrastructure, industry and commerce. The EBRD works in close cooperation with other international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the European Investment Bank.

EBRD financing - disputable benefits

The EBRD has financed a number of environmentally and/or socially harmful projects. Although it has increased its investments into energy efficiency in recent years, it continues to diminish the impacts of these by financing carbon-intensive development such as coal, oil and gas production, transportation and generation, motorways and airports.

We've collected examples from the last 20 years to illustrate just how the EBRD's activities are often not worth celebrating - at least not for the affected people and environment.

Concerns have also been raised about its financing for projects which should have been able to access financing from other sources (e.g. ArcelorMittal Temirtau), or companies which have not shown themselves sufficiently committed to improving their environmental and social governance (e.g. Dundee Precious Metals (DPM) in case of the Chelopech cyanide gold project). Some EBRD-financed concession contracts have also involved undue rewards for the private sector (pdf).


For more information contact our EBRD campaign coordinator Fidanka Bacheva-McGrath

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Ukraine plans to extend the lifetimes of its fifteen, mostly aged nuclear reactors. The EBRD has agreed to finance a Safety Upgrade Programme that is a crucial stepping stone for the plans.

EBRD
Energy & climate

The Southern Gas Corridor, a system of mega-pipelines meant to bring gas from the Caspian region to Europe, is unnecessary in light of gas demand projections in the European Union's 2050 Energy Strategy. Neither will the project make European countries independent from Russian gas. At the same time, the USD 45 billion investments will boost Azerbaijan's dictatorial regime and cause damage to local communities and the environment in transit countries like Turkey and Italy.

Commercial banks
EBRD
EIB
ADB
Energy & climate
Social & economic impacts

Linked to a slew of controversies, the Kolubara lignite mine in Serbia will receive loans from European public banks. Corruption allegations, pollution at local level, irregularities in resettlement of local populations and not to forget a climate damaging approach to energy investments should be reason enough to find alternatives to lignite mining.

EBRD
Energy & climate
Social & economic impacts

Croatian plans to more than double the capacity of the Plomin coal power plant would result in increased carbon-emissions for several decades. The project’s profitability is questionable and the plans are facing local opposition and conflicting regional legislation.

EBRD
EIB
Energy & climate

With huge amounts of unexploited natural resources (gold, copper, coal and more) the Mongolian economy is estimated to grow massively in the years to come. But will it also benefit the people in Mongolia? Our work shows how mining operations lead to pollution and displacement for local herders and exacerbate water scarcity issues.

EBRD
Energy & climate
Social & economic impacts
Other harmful projects

Slovenia plans to build a new 600 MW unit for the Šoštanj lignite power plant (TEŠ6) which would replace the power plant’s existing units 1-4 and possibly 5. Its promoters argue with increased efficiency, but in fact, this one lignite power plant alone will swallow up almost the country's entire carbon budget by 2050.

EBRD
EIB
Energy & climate

Kosovo currently wastes the majority of the electricity it produces in its two filthy lignite plants: 37 percent is lost through technical losses and theft and another 30 percent is wasted through lack of energy efficiency measures. Yet the Kosovo government, heavily backed by the US government and World Bank, plans to build a new 600 MW lignite plant, Kosova e Re or New Kosovo.

EBRD
Energy & climate

In its drive for 'energy security', the EU is looking to its eastern neighbour for cheap energy. But using a series of high-voltage transmission lines to import dirty energy supplies like nuclear and coal power from Ukraine will not make the EU safer, and it will lock both into an unstable and environmentally unsound energy mix.

EBRD
EIB
Energy & climate

While fatal accidents at the ArcelorMittal Temirtau mines continue, the company has so far not provided sufficient information to allow an assessment whether an EBRD funded project to improve health and safety conditions is being implemented successfully.

EBRD
World Bank Group
Social & economic impacts
Other harmful projects
Mining

An underground hydropower plant is planned to be built in a natural habitat of global significance. The project's assessments have been plagued by oddities and cannot be considered complete. In May 2013, following increasing pressure from civil society groups, the EBRD pulled out of the project for which it had approved a EUR 123 million loan.

EBRD
Other harmful projects