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.
Alternative news on the EBRD
Harsh economic realities and the discernible trend of democratic retrenchment in EBRD recipient countries suggest there are serious deficiencies in the bank’s overall ‘market-oriented’ approach.
EBRD PROJECTS WE MONITOR
Boskov Most was one of 18 hydropower greenfield projects planned by the North Macedonian government in the Mavrovo National Park. After five years of campaigning, we convinced the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development about the folly of this project and to cancel its EUR 65 million loan. Without its major source of funding, the project lost steam and was discontinued.
Loopholes in the EBRD’s due diligence, together with a lack of assessment and monitoring by Macedonia’s local and central government, has proven to be a lethal combination for the country’s rivers. A prime example is the Krapska Reka small hydropower project. The authorities’ failure to recognise the location as part of the proposed Jakupica National Park, Emerald area and a future Natura 2000 site, on top of poor mitigation measures and construction practices, have caused irreversible damage to this small river valley.
A harmless-sounding mill conversion project on Croatia’s stunning river Mrežnica is a textbook example of how even small hydropower plants can damage protected areas. It also exemplifies the lack of transparency and oversight of investments that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development channelled through commercial bank intermediaries.
Press release | 10 June, 2019
For immediate release. Prague, Tbilisi – A leaked contract between the Georgian government and the company behind the Nenskra hydropower project includes terms that indicate the project will incur massive losses for the state, according to a report broadcast on 8 June by the national television station Rustavi 2 .
Press release | 29 May, 2019
Beli Bryag, Bulgaria – Around one hundred villagers in the village of Beli Bryag, in Bulgaria’s Stara Zagora region, are anxiously awaiting for a resolution to their claims of proper resettlement by the Maritsa East mines, the company gearing up to expand its lignite mine to where the village currently stands. They have only until the end of the year before they are expropriated. 
Blog entry | 16 May, 2019
As a result of public resistance to small-scale hydropower projects in the Balkans, from the beginning of 2020, the EBRD will ask commercial banks to refer all high-risk projects – including all hydropower plants – for additional checks. The EBRD also requires them to meet higher environmental standards than previously. The bank will ask that such projects are disclosed to the public on the financial intermediary’s website, finally increasing disclosure on these hitherto hidden projects.
Strong safeguard policies to guide bank lending are essential. At the EBRD meetings we are pushing for these types of reforms based on our collected experience with bank projects across the region.
Too often the EBRD safeguard policies fail to deliver protection for people, climate and the environment. What can be done?
Bankwatch produced this video for the 20th anniversary of EBRD operations, at a time when the bank announced intentions to extend its operational activities to 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.