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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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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

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

EBRD
EIB
Energy & climate

Georgia plans to build a huge number of dams. Yet with 85 percent of electricity needs satisfied and exports not being taxed, these plans will rather benefit private investors than offering sustainable development for Georgia.

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

Kosovo currently wastes the majority of the electricity it produces in its two filthy lignite plants: 35 percent is lost through technical losses and theft and much more 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, also sometimes known as Kosovo C.

EBRD
Energy & climate

While the European Union is trying to help Ukraine's political transition, Europe's financial support is cementing the country's dependence on an outdated and highly unsafe nuclear sector. To avoid further instability and political and environmental risks, European institutions need to offer better oversight and funding for alternative energy sources.

EBRD
Energy & climate

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

The Nenskra dam is the most advanced of Georgia's massive plans for hydropower installations in the Upper Svaneti region. It will deprive the local community of ethnic Svans of lands and livelihoods, but potential negative impacts have not been properly assessed.

EBRD
Social & economic impacts

Slovenia has built a new 600 MW unit at the Šoštanj lignite power plant (TEŠ6) which will replace the power plant’s existing units 1-4 when it goes into operation (expected in early 2016). TEŠ6 looks set to make millions of losses annually for the next few years at least.

EBRD
EIB
Energy & climate

The Kumtor open pit gold mine is located in a majestic surrounding in the Kyrgyzstan mountains. It receives continued support by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, despite several accidents in the past and ongoing environmental damages from the mining operations.

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

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