Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB)
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Mission and history
The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) is a multilateral development bank with an exclusively social mandate.
Through the provision of financing and technical expertise for projects with a high social impact in its member states, it actively promotes social cohesion and strengthens social integration in Europe.
The CEB represents a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe. It participates in financing social projects, responds to emergency situations and contributes to improving the living conditions of the most disadvantaged population groups.
The CEB contributes to the implementation of socially oriented investment projects through three sectoral lines of action, namely:
- Inclusive growth: working to guarantee access to economic opportunities to ensure a prosperous future for all.
- Support for vulnerable groups: helping to integrate the most vulnerable citizens to nurture a more diverse society.
- Environmental sustainability: supporting a liveable society that promotes environmental sustainability, mitigates and adapts to climate change.
The CEB carries out its mission within the strategic framework of a formal "Development Plan" that describes the logic underpinning its action and sets forth guidelines for the activity in the medium term in relation to the operational context within which the Bank operates. The current Development Plan covers the period 2020-2022.
The CEB has its origins in the political upheavals that Europe experienced following the Second World War, leading to a flood of refugees and displaced persons into Western Europe.
The oldest European multilateral development bank, the CEB was established in 1956 by eight Member States of the Council of Europe on the basis of a partial agreement in order to bring solutions to the problems of refugees. Signed on 16 April 1956 by eight countries, the Bank is the first of the Partial Agreements to have been concluded.
Since 2008, the protracted crisis in Europe and its impact on the lives of populations have made the CEB’s mandate and action as a social development bank more relevant than ever.
Relations with the Council of Europe
Eugène Claudius Petit adressing the Council of EuropeWorking to strengthen social cohesion in accordance with its mandate, through its lending activity the Bank promotes the values and principles of the Council of Europe. It is nevertheless a separate legal entity and financially independent.
As evidence of these institutional links, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe issues an opinion on admissibility in terms of compliance with the Council of Europe’s political and social objectives for all the projects that the Bank submits to its Administrative Council for approval.
Over the years, the CEB has forged partnerships with other international organisations and donors to bring additional financing and greater expertise to the projects it supports. In addition to its natural links with the Council of Europe, the CEB has become a partner of choice to the European Union and regularly cooperates with other international financial institutions (IFIs), as well as with several United Nations specialised agencies.
The CEB and the European Union (EU)
Among the CEB’s 41 members, 26 are EU members and 8 are official or potential candidates for accession to the EU, creating a common field of action.
Through its cooperation with the EU, the CEB pursues three major objectives
- To promote social development and to further the social agenda in Europe
- To ensure better technical and financial viability for social projects financed by the Bank in favour of its member states
- To help CEB member states absorb EU funds in the social sectors
The Regional Housing Programme (RHP) is the cornerstone of a regional initiative named the Sarajevo Process, which aims at ending the protracted displacement of refugees and internally displaced persons in the Western Balkans stemming from the conflicts in the region in the 90s.
With an estimated cost of € 584 million, the RHP seeks to provide housing solutions to 74 000 individuals in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia (Partner Countries). A number of donors, including the European Union and the U.S., have pledged € 268 million.
The CEB plays a critical role in the RHP. It manages the RHP Fund, the multilateral fund which holds Donor contributions. The Bank also helps the Partner Countries in the implementation of the programme. Finally, it facilitates coordination between the various RHP stakeholders.
Apart from the RHP, the main cooperation initiatives with the EU aim at blending of the Bank’s loans with EU grants, either for technical assistance or in the form of investment grants.
The WBIF (Western Balkans Investment Framework)
This coordination framework is aimed at facilitating access to European financings for the countries in the Western Balkans. It combines loans from financial institutions such as the EIB, the EBRD, KfW and the CEB with grants from the EU, Member States and the three above-mentioned institutions. The CEB’s participation in the WBIF comes within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Enlargement Policy. Signed by the CEB on 11 April 2006, the purpose of this MoU is to facilitate coordinated support for countries that are candidates or potential candidates to EU accession.
Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF)
The aim of the NIF is to combine grants from the EU and donor states (through the "NIF Trust Fund") with loans from financial institutions such as the EIB, the EBRD and the CEB in favour of countries eligible under the European Neighbourhood Policy instrument. This cooperation comes under the MoU on European Neighbourhood Policy, signed by the CEB on 13 July 2007. This MoU promotes coordinated action in favour of countries eligible for funding under the European Neighbourhood Policy.
Recently, the CEB joined an initiative for supporting energy efficiency and decreasing CO2 emission in the EU Eastern Partnership countries called the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environmental Partnership ( “E5P”) for the benefit of projects in the Bank’s member states (Georgia and Republic of Moldova).
The CEB also participates in:
- tripartite facilities with the EU and KfW, which provide support to projects in Eastern Europe by combining CEB loans and KfW loans with EU grants, notably for technical assistance (note: there will be no further EU grants after 1st January 2014)
- ad hoc cooperation initiatives such as the one set up for the construction of a high security State Prison in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Furthermore, the CEB is involved in the activities of the EU Platform for Blending in External Cooperation (EUBEC), which issues recommendations and guidelines with a view to harmonising cooperation instrument/methods and mobilising more public and private resources.
Not only is the Bank associated with IFIs through several cooperation instruments signed under the aegis of the European Union, but it has also entered into bilateral cooperation agreements with, respectively, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the World Bank (including the IDA), the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB), Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).
In addition, on 2 June 2008, the Governor of the CEB and the President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a "Joint Statement on Cooperation" between the two institutions in Luxembourg.
The CEB also participates as an observer in the meetings of the Development Committee of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The Bank has concluded bilateral memorandums of agreement with UN agencies active in the CEB's member states, namely the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP; renewed in 2017), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and UNICEF (renewed in 2019).
The UNHCR, together with the OSCE, plays an active role in beneficiary-related issues within the Regional Housing Programme (RHP).
In 2018, the CEB obtained permanent observer status to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in July 2018 with “100 Resilient Cities - Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation” (100RC). The existing 100 Resilient Cities organisation concluded on July 31, 2019.