Istanbul, Turkey, May 11, 2013

Archived - Statement by the Honourable Ted Menzies, Temporary Alternate Governor for Canada, at the 22nd EBRD Annual Meeting

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I would like to thank the Government of Turkey for graciously hosting the 22nd Annual Meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. We could not ask for a more appropriate venue for an EBRD annual meeting than Istanbul—a city that straddles continents and cultures. The Bosphorus strait is a powerful reminder of the importance of the markets that connect Asia, Europe and the Middle East, which speaks to the very purpose of the EBRD.

Canada is a proud partner of this institution. We believe 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 multiparty democracy, rule of law and human rights.

We are pleased to have seen good progress on a number of fronts over the past year. Following the ratification of the amendments to Article 18, the EBRD has moved quickly to mobilize financing for projects in the new region of operations in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. Canada has been fully supportive of this initiative throughout, and is pleased to continue to facilitate the dialogue between the Bank and our constituency members in particular. Canada looks forward to the timely ratification of the amendments to Article 1 of the Agreement Establishing the EBRD, so that countries in this region can be considered for full country of operations status.

I would also like to take this opportunity to extend our welcome to the Republic of Kosovo, which joined us as the 66th member of the EBRD this past December.

Across the EBRD’s region broadly, Canada is 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.

In addition, Canada has been encouraged by a number of recent reforms to the management of the EBRD—including the recent staffing of senior management positions through open and competitive processes. In this regard, the EBRD is setting a standard for other international financial institutions to follow.

Looking Ahead

It is clear that the EBRD faces a number of significant challenges in its region of operations. 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 the largest transition gaps and the projects with the highest impact. That impact is not measured by business volume alone, but by the effect of a project on the expansion and improvement of markets, the strengthening of laws and policies that support those markets, and the transfer of knowledge in support of entrepreneurship. 

We recognize that the EBRD continues to operate in a challenging environment, partly due to the economic difficulties of the euro area. Reflecting this reality, EBRD business volume in the advanced European countries has been above the targets agreed to as part of the fourth Capital Resources Review. Notwithstanding these circumstances, Canada believes that the EBRD should define a clear roadmap to graduation through its country strategies so as to facilitate the graduation of the EU-7 countries in accordance with these targets. This will allow the EBRD to apply its scarce resources to regions and projects with relatively higher transition benefits.

Furthermore, the EBRD’s mandate recognizes the importance of multiparty democracy and pluralism, as well as market economics. It will be important for the EBRD to focus its resources on the countries that demonstrate a steady commitment to these principles. In countries where that commitment is waning, we encourage the EBRD to take appropriate action.

In closing, I would like to thank EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti, all EBRD staff and management, and the Board of Directors for a year full of achievement.

I look forward to meeting you all again in Poland next year.

For further information, media may contact:

Bram Sepers
Office of the Minister of State (Finance)

Jack Aubry
Media Relations
Department of Finance

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