Letter: Loans to Questionable Countries Contradict EBRD Mandate


You write that “many fund managers insist that deciding what to do with bonds issued by dubious regimes is not easy. Their job is to make money ”(“ Putting Rights Before Profit, ”Big Read, July 14).

This should not be expected from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a multilateral organization founded in 1991 to rebuild the former Soviet Union and now actively working with authoritarian authorities in places such as Belarus, Egypt, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

After all, the EBRD is a one-of-a-kind lender with a clear mandate to promote democracy and the rule of law in all of its operations.

But as the bank celebrates its 30th anniversary this month, the gap between rhetoric and reality in its commitment to democracy, pluralism, the rule of law and human rights has never been greater.

While the bank did revise its portfolio in Belarus following the human rights defender’s plane crash, the bank’s main beneficiaries in 2020 were Egypt and Turkey – two places where respect for democracy is rapidly deteriorating.

The bank prides itself on being a pioneer in bringing fund managers to the cold markets.

The same must be true when it comes to promoting environmental, social and governance principles and human rights.

Fidanka McGrath
EBRD Policy Officer, CEE Bankwatch Network, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

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