Statement by Pierre Gramegna, Chair of the EBRD Board of Governors:
'As the current chairman of the Board of Governors of the EBRD, it was my pleasure to chair the meeting and I’m glad to report that the Governors really acknowledged the Bank’s excellent performance for 2016.
‘As a matter of fact, the level of projects supported by the EBRD was to a level of €9.4 billion. The profit of the year is higher than in the past and reaches the number of 1 billion euros.
‘And I would also like to underline that the shareholders were united in acknowledging that there was a strong delivery and a good impact on countries of operation.
‘Let me also underline that all three rating agencies have confirmed the 3A status of the EBRD. Being from Luxembourg and from a 3A country, I feel very comfortable in the EBRD.
‘During the Board of Governors session this morning, we took several decisions. First, we decided to approve the engagement of the EBRD in the West Bank and Gaza for an initial period of five years. This will be done through a trust fund and the aim is to focus on the private sector’s competitiveness, on innovation and also on access to finance for SMEs.
‘At the end of our session we discussed the request of the Russian Federation whether the Bank had complied with its own internal rules with respect to the fact that the Board of Directors has not approved any new financing operations in Russia since 2014.
‘The Board of Governors supported by an overwhelming majority of shareholders that the Bank had complied with its rules and behaved appropriately.
‘In concluding, I would like to say that the Governors were united in their confidence that the Bank will continue to achieve even greater impact in the years ahead and there was a strong support and commitment from the shareholders as it pursues its valuable mission.
‘And I would like, on a personal note, to say that it was a privilege to be chairing this meeting and I would like to congratulate the Bank on the fact that it is adjusting to a very changing world and that is not an easy task for an international financial institution.
‘And I would also like to add what I said in my opening speech, that the EBRD, as all international financial institutions, has a very important role to play in today’s world where we see more nationalism and more extremism.
‘International financial institutions are one of the best tools to bring economies and countries closer together. We need that today more than ever.’
Statement by EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti:
'Let me begin by saying Pierre has been an outstanding Chair of Governors. He is not quite finished yet; he’s got the afternoon session to go on Inclusion. I want to endorse the fact that he is a strong European, very strong internationalist. It is very important in these times to have a Chair who believes in the international system strongly and has been a great support to the management team as well.
'As President, I am always delighted to hear the shareholders offer their unwavering support to the Bank - both in the oral statements but also in written statements too. They very much believe in a message that the EBRD is a strong and successful bank.
'Our operational and financial results show that they’ve commented very approvingly on these results and also on the effectiveness and efficiency programme.
'I am also delighted that we’re going to be launching the Economic Inclusion Strategy here. I think it’s a Strategy of its time, highly necessary.
'Also the shareholders have agreed this morning that the West Bank and Gaza Trust Fund can go ahead with the allocation from net income. By the way, this allocation from net income wouldn’t have been possible without that strong and successful financial performance as well.
'As you’ve heard from Pierre, the Board of Governors overwhelmingly agreed that the Bank has complied with its own internal rules in respect of its engagement with the Russian Federation. That is a final and binding resolution.
'Russia, of course, for me, for all of us, is a special and a deep relationship. As a measure of that, the EBRD has been engaging with Russia since July 2014. Indeed, even though we haven’t been able to begin any new projects, we’ve maintained a large number of staff in Russia and have continued working on our existing portfolio, very good quality portfolio € 3.7 billion worth of portfolio.
'As well as, of course, also continuing with our Small Business Advisory services there, helping SMEs grow, supported by funding from the Russian Federation as well.
'And of course, we ‘re also talking to the Russian private sector, private Russian companies interested in investing- with our help, in partnership with us- in our other countries of operation. And I, for one, look forward to continuing to try and engage with the authorities.
'As you know, we’ve got a track record of 25 years of that and I think it should continue going forward. This is very, very important relationship for us and for the region as well.
'During the Governors Meeting, I was also happy to hear our shareholders reiterate a number of times - starting with the President Anastasiades, who seems to become an expert in the financial performance of the Bank- reiterate the performance of the Bank and its financial results. I think that’s testimony that this message is very much out there as well.
'As Pierre said, there was a 25 per cent increase in profits last year to around a billion euros and that trend of sharply increasing profitability has also been evident in the first quarter of this year.
'So I think in summary, only a truly strong and successful bank could have had the impact we’ve been having in our countries of operation. The challenge for us is to continue and we are up to that challenge.'