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Jean Lemierre, EBRD President, Belgrade, 23 May 2005
I can be very brief. I have listened very carefully to all your statements, Governors. In a few words, I would like to outline the messages, as I have understood them, from your views and the guidance that management and staff will try to implement.
The first message is certainly a strong one of dialogue and cooperation – dialogue and cooperation among us, among the Board of Directors, with the countries of operation and with donors. There is also a very strong message of willingness to work together to improve the transition process.
You have given messages as to the future direction of the Bank. Of course, we shall have many discussions with the Board of Directors on this in the year ahead in preparation for the next Capital Resources Review. Your guidance is very useful in that. I take away several important views you have expressed in this respect.
The first point you have made is that you strongly endorse the Bank’s enhanced emphasis on moving east and south-east. You have all agreed on this and stated that this is the right direction. The new business model for the Bank that I spoke about in my opening remarks yesterday is designed to implement this strategy and the guidance you have given us.
The Bank will face various challenges. We need to reform our tools and improve them. We need to add new skills to those the staff already have. All this will take effort, from the budget and the policy dialogue points of view. In listening to you, I have heard strong endorsement and understanding by Governors of the challenge of the new path on which the Bank will try to tread. This provides a message of encouragement to us all to deliver this year and to explain to you next year how we may meet these challenges.
As for the future direction of the Bank, you have also welcomed the accession of eight countries of operation to the EU. You have been nice enough to consider that the Bank has been able to help these countries to join the EU successfully. You have stressed the importance of what has been achieved and the fact that the Bank has to move and should not stay engaged at a high level without respecting our mandate, our commitment to additionality and our commitment to transition impact.
At the same time, most of you have said, especially Governors from the countries concerned, that transition challenges remain and the Bank should address them. I have views about speed and the fact that graduation should be driven by the market. Some Governors have said that graduation might be decided in a different way. The main message I have heard is that graduation should be driven by the market. We need to discuss this. I am sure the Board of Directors will consider this in the coming year and we will be able to reach the strongest constructive consensus possible in order to be clear. The main direction has clearly been given by you, the Bank’s Governors, yesterday and today.
As for the Bank’s operations, you have given two additional messages. One is to pay increased attention to the environment everywhere in the region and further to develop carbon credit finance, to try to bring together the public dimension and the private sector dimension. We shall work on this. In looking at my colleagues, I know they are already working on it.
The second point you made is on the social dimension of transition. This is a very important reminder of the fact that we need to keep this in consideration, especially when there is restructuring of some companies. We should pay attention to the development of SMEs and micro-finance. These are important reminders for us.
The third message I have heard concerns Article 1, the democratic mandate of the Bank. You have been very clear about the importance of this mandate. It is about democracy, human rights and transparency. Most of you have expressed concerns about the situation in some parts of the region, especially in Uzbekistan. I can tell you that we will have a discussion with the Board of Directors in June and July about the new Strategy on Uzbekistan. That will be the time for concrete decisions by the Board as to the messages we send. But, what you have said today provides very important guidance.
You have also given us a message about corporate governance. A lot has been achieved, thanks to the very good work of the Board. Of course, we need to consider further steps. That is a permanent process of improving the institution and we shall think about the various points made. We are confident we will be able to make progress. That is a very important message.
I am among those who believes that a resident board is a good thing. That is because we have a difficult mission. We take risks and engage in policy dialogue with countries. It is very important for management and for the President to have, on a permanent basis, clear, well structured discussions with a resident board. That is the strength of the institution. The Directors are your representatives in the institution. They play a crucial role in the strength of the institution. We work as a team, and we need to do so, to deliver the delicate mission you have given us.
I would like to pay a special tribute to Directors representing countries of operation. They have a unique role in bringing the institution and their country’s government together in order to deliver the transition mandate efficiently. Of course, this is an opportunity for me to congratulate the newly-elected Directors today. I would like to pay a special tribute to those leaving the Board in the next weeks. Some of them are here: Igor Kovtun for the Russian Federation/Belarus/Tajikistan; Yuri Poluneev for the vast constituency of Ukraine/Romania/Moldova/Georgia/Armenia, and Konstantin Andreopoulos for the EIB. They have done well for the Bank and for the countries of operation, and I would like to express my very strong personal gratitude to them for the efficiency and friendship with which they have delivered their mission in the Bank.
I would also like to express my gratitude to the authorities of Serbia and Montenegro and the City of Belgrade once again for the very strong support they have given to us for this meeting. Do we need these events? I think we do. Bringing people together, whatever the difficulties, even if sometimes some people do not come, trying to engage people in this type of gathering, not only in this room but outside in the Business Forum with NGOs, journalists and business people is key. Yesterday and today have formed a major event for this region. This is important and you should not underestimate what you bring to the region.
I would also like to thank on your behalf the staff of the Bank and all those in Serbia who have been working with the Bank staff to deliver these facilities. I hope I will see you next year in London. You have laid out the road map for the London meeting: the Capital Resources Review, the strategy for the five years ahead. This is a challenge for us. You have provided guidance and vision and I thank you for that. We have to deliver and we shall do so.
Last updated 26 April 2010