London, United Kingdom, May 19, 2012
Archived - Statement by the Honourable Ted Menzies, Temporary Alternate Governor for Canada, at the 21st EBRD Annual Meeting
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I would like to thank the UK Government, the City of London and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for graciously hosting the 21st Annual Meeting of the EBRD.
Canada is a proud partner of this institution and believes strongly in the Bank’s core mission to foster the transition towards market-oriented economies and to invest in countries that have demonstrated a commitment to economic and democratic reforms.
For the region and for the EBRD, 2011 proved to be an eventful year. During periods of instability and upheaval such as that which unfolded in parts of the Arab world, nations turn to international financial institutions like the EBRD for support. This is why, for example, a key component of the G-8 Deauville Partnership, launched in May 2011, is the expansion of the EBRD’s geographic mandate to include the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region.
Canada has been fully supportive of this initiative throughout, and we are pleased to be able to confirm our ratification of the amendments to the Agreement Establishing the EBRD. In addition, Canada is very pleased to have recently welcomed the two newest members of the EBRD—the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Tunisian Republic—into our constituency at the EBRD Board of Directors. It is our hope that this will allow our countries to continue to grow and build upon existing relationships. Canada also looks forward to working closely with the EBRD and our fellow members to ensure a successful and timely expansion of Bank operations in the new region.
It is important to recognize the EBRD’s work in all of its countries of operations during 2011. Canada is therefore pleased to see that the Bank’s financing activities continue to have a high transition impact while meeting sound banking principles, even in the face of a challenging economic climate.
The EBRD also continues to foster economic growth that is sustainable in the long run. We are pleased that Phase 2 of the EBRD’s Sustainable Energy Initiative met or surpassed all of its targets, representing a valuable source of leverage for private sector investment in an important sector of the economy. In addition, Canada has been encouraged by the EBRD’s growing leadership role in developing local currency capital markets in the region, through the Local Currency and Local Capital Markets Initiative.
The events of the past year have raised the international profile of the EBRD, and it is clear that the year ahead will bring both challenges and opportunities. Given the EBRD’s finite resources and the growing demand for its expertise, it is more important than ever that the EBRD focus its activities on the countries with tShe largest transition gaps. That should include positioning the Bank’s operations to facilitate the graduation of the EU-7 countries by 2015, in accordance with the commitment made as part of the fourth Capital Resources Review.
It is critical that the EBRD adhere to the core principles of its mandate in order to maintain legitimacy in the eyes of its shareholders and clients. Thus it will be important for the EBRD to focus its resources on the countries that continue to demonstrate a commitment to the principles of pluralism and multiparty democracy. In countries where that commitment is waning, the EBRD should take steps to limit its engagement accordingly—as it has done in a limited number of cases already. Equally important for EBRD legitimacy is the staffing of its leadership positions through open and transparent processes based upon merit. While overall the EBRD has made excellent progress on this front, more needs to be done. Canada therefore calls upon the EBRD Board of Directors to develop recommendations to Governors to establish formal procedures for future EBRD Presidential elections.
In closing, I would like to thank outgoing EBRD President Mirow, all EBRD staff and management, and the Board of Directors for a remarkable term full of achievement. I would also like to congratulate and welcome incoming EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti and I look forward to continuing our collaboration under his leadership.
As economic uncertainty continues to cast a shadow over the region’s economic recovery, it will be important that the EBRD continue to play a central role in its countries of operations. We are confident that the EBRD staff and management are up to the task, and the Bank can continue to count on Canada’s support for its mission in the years to come.
I look forward to meeting you all again in Istanbul in 2013.
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