Bankwatch Mail 59
Bankwatch Mail | 13 May 2014
Coinciding with the annual meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, this issue examines how some of the EBRD’s transition recipes turned out almost 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In addition, controversies with current projects and recent policy revisions provide a rather grim outlook for what further transition will bring for old and new countries of operation of the EBRD.
- Twenty years of limited – if not downright poor – transitional progress has demonstrated the inability of European and global institutions to effectively impact development processes in Ukraine.
- New analysis from CEE Bankwatch Network into how the EBRD conducts its financing and economic advisory activities finds serious deficiencies in the bank’s overall ‘market-oriented’ approach and catalogues a range of startling EBRD interventions in central and eastern Europe (CEE) and further afield that should prompt deeper examination of the bank’s promotional mantra “We invest in changing lives”
- The EBRD’s board of directors is expected, on the eve of the bank’s annual meeting in Warsaw, to approve new ‘good governance’ policies that will have significant bearing on the institution’s future activities. The EBRD’s Environmental and Social Policy, its Public Information Policy and the Rules of Procedure for the EBRD Project Complaints Mechanism have been the feature of multi-stakeholder consultations across the EBRD’s regions of operation in 2013 and into 2014.
- What began as research into Serinus Energy EBRD loans that were granted to the company in July 2013 for the exploration and expansion of oil and gas fields in the Chouech Essaida, Ech Chouech, Sabria, Sanrhara and Zinnia concessions in Tunisia, has become a story that reflects both the revolving doors culture that permeates elite circles and how the EBRD is able to provide loans that provide absolutely no additionality.
- Local community and NGO pressure has been making things rather difficult of late for the largest planned new coal-fired power plant in Europe.
- Coal power plants are mushrooming all over Turkey, there’s no doubt about that. With the government’s plan to reach 120,000 MW of installed capacity by 2023, double that of today, a 1350 MW power plant in the already heavily industrialised and polluted peninsula of Aliaga in western Turkey could easily have gone unnoticed.
- Last year saw international financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank falling like dominoes one after the other and announcing in rapid succession that they will halt – almost totally – financing for new coal power plants. These banks were also joined by other institutions such as the US Exim Bank and the Nordic Investment Bank, and governments including the US, UK, Netherlands and Scandinavian countries.
- Back in early February this year, workers at several privatised companies started protesting in Tuzla. The workers expressed outrage at how factory owners were not paying social security contributions, thus making their employees no longer eligible for health care, social security or pensions.
- In what is shaping up to be another controversial chapter in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s already troubled entry into Egypt in 2012, questions are being asked of the international financial institution as to whether it intends to support coal power financing, specifically to assist Egypt’s cement industry.
- Tomasz Zdrojewski explains the risks to Polish water from the massively hyped fossil fuel bonanza.
- Environmental writer Roger Manser explains how the warnings of his 1993 book were ignored, and why ambitious green financing action is still a big need in central and eastern Europe.
- Bankwatch Mail convened a discussion about the state of the Polish economy between a financial journalist and a sociologist – both residents of the Polish capital – to hear their views on some of the pressing economic issues of the day, as well as the ongoing Polish ‘transition’ process.