The governing bodies of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) discussed its strategic and political priorities, with a focus on Accession of Ukraine. Noting that the process is well advanced, the CEB member states have agreed, as a tangible sign of support, to exempt the country from any payment obligation for joining the Bank. An early formal decision on the financial terms of Ukraine’s accession does not prejudge discussions on the CEB’s future activities, including in Ukraine, and related considerations on the Bank’s financial resources, which will be taken in the framework of the next Strategic plan (2023-2027).
The CEB’s Administrative Council approved five new loans worth €465 million, with the majority of the funds dedicated to helping refugees from Ukraine in CEB member countries. At the same time, the CEB’s Governing Board has appointed Sandrine Gaudin as Vice-Governor for Financial Strategy and Johannes Böhmer as Vice-Governor for Social Development Strategy.
“The new loans respond to the most urgent needs of our member states, with a clear focus on helping them manage the refugee crisis caused by the war in Ukraine,” said CEB Governor Carlo Monticelli. “As for the appointment of the new Vice-Governors, I would like to congratulate Ms. Gaudin and Mr. Böhmer. I am convinced that, thanks to their solid professional experience, they will help the CEB to meet the many challenges that await it and will provide me with valuable support in the performance of my duties.
In addition to helping refugees from Ukraine, the loans recently approved by the CEB will be used to finance social housing for low-income people and improve municipal infrastructure, as well as improve access to finance for community organizations. , voluntary and social enterprises.
In Germany, The €200 million loan granted by the CEB to the development bank of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia will partly finance the refugee accommodation program of the NRW.BANK, which will help municipalities finance the acquisition, construction and modernization of housing for people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. The loan will fund both temporary and permanent housing to achieve a more inclusive integration of refugees into host communities.
In Lithuania, the CEB will grant a loan of 120 million euros to the government to offer assistance to people fleeing the war in Ukraine through the provision of emergency services and humanitarian measures. The loan will be used by relevant ministries and communities providing frontline support, primarily in the form of financial aid and/or cash payments for education, health and social care. The beneficiaries are potentially 30,000 Ukrainians, including 13,500 children in 2022, while some 700 students are expected to benefit from scholarships financed through this loan.
Another loan in Lithuania – €25 million to the municipality of Kaunas – will partly finance investments aimed at improving the quality of life in the city and its surroundings. The project will contribute to addressing challenges caused by changing demographic and labor trends in Kaunas Municipality, including more than 10,000 registered refugees from Ukraine. The authorities provided the refugees with housing, food, psychological and social assistance, education for children and job search for adults.
In Ireland, the CEB’s €20 million loan to the Social Finance Foundation (SFF) will help increase access to affordable finance for community organisations, voluntary organizations and social enterprises in the country. This is particularly important at a time when these organizations are playing a vital role in addressing socio-economic challenges in the context of the COVID-19 recovery. Established in 2007 by the Irish government, SFF focuses on providing loans and risk-sharing opportunities to organizations that find it difficult to access traditional financial institutions. This project should be supported by the InvestEU guarantee programme, allowing the CEB to increase the amount of the loan.
In Spain, the CEB’s €100 million loan to the Institut Català de Finances aims to support the region’s efforts to increase the supply of social rental housing. In line with Catalonia’s Long-Term Territorial Housing Plan, the loan will finance up to 1,600 affordable housing units and thus reduce the waiting list of applicants for social housing. Currently, there are 84,000 applications for social housing. Given the social relevance of this project and its alignment with the political objectives of the European Union, this loan should be supported retroactively by the InvestEU guarantee programme.
CEB approves €465 million in new loans, appoints new vice-governors and accepts Ukraine’s membership of the Bank at no cost