EBRD restates commitment to boost Greek recovery

2 Mar 16

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is set to “move full steam ahead” in its work in Greece, the bank’s president Sir Suma Chakrabarti has said.

During a visit to the country yesterday, which saw the opening of an EBRD office in Greece, Chakrabarti affirmed his commitment to support Greece in its recovery from severe crisis, focusing on private sector resilience, access to finance, enhancing regional integration and improving the quality of Greece’s utility services.

He said this would be done by shifting Greece to a more export-orientated growth model and supporting the stabilisation of the financial sector and deepening intermediation, as well as private sector participation and the commercialisation of the energy and infrastructure sectors.

As well as this country specific strategy, currently in draft form only, he said the bank’s work in Greece will also be guided by its overall strategy for the next few years, which focuses on boosting countries’ economic resilience and their regional and global integration and helping them address common challenges.

“Getting the right policies in place, strengthening institutions, making sure the reforms work in the long term” and that they are supported by real leadership across the board is also “going to be vital” in Greece, he said.

He noted that the country’s “banks have taken another hit”, with their value now less than half of that at recapitalisation.

This is due to both the turbulence in global markets and uncertainty about the pace of reforms in Greece, he said.

The EBRD will continue to support the banks it invests in and to be very active shareholders, he said, welcoming moves from the bank to address the problem of non-performing loans as “absolutely crucial” for the restructuring of the sector and the recovery of the Greek economy as a whole.

The EBRD will also do everything it can to encourage would-be investors, he added. It will also continue to develop a strong pipeline in the corporate sector, in particular in agribusiness, tourism, pharmaceuticals, ICT and logistics.

“We will of course support privatisations as they go ahead and seek to work with municipalities across the country to improve the quality of their services,” he stated.

Evidence of strong rule of law, transparency, fairness and predictability will be key to mobilising the investment sorely needed for recovery, he continued.

“These are very much in the power of the authorities to provide, both through introducing the right legislation and ensuring that it is properly enforced,” he said.

The EBRD invested €250m in Greece’s four main banks in November, and Chakrabarti said it had signed transactions worth a total of €320m since it began working in the country last autumn.

The bank’s shareholders approved Greece’s request for temporary access to EBRD funds last February. 

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