EBRD at odds with Russia
13 May, 2017
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) rejected last Wednesday a Russian complaint about the bank's investment freeze, prompting criticism from Moscow that the development bank was a 'tool' of Western foreign policy, news wires reported. EBRD shareholders have overwhelmingly rejected a Russian claim that the ban on Russian investments brought in at the height of the Ukraine crisis in 2014 had breached EBRD rules.
EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti said the decision was “final and binding” and that there had been no discussion at the meeting about what it would require for it to restart investments in Russia. Russia's Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin responded by saying the move had set an “extremely dangerous precedent”. “We saw the EBRD became a tool of foreign policy and not a fair and open institution,” he said cited by Reuters.
The EBRD was set up in 1991 to help ex-Soviet economies make the transition to free market capitalism. Russia was for a long time its biggest lending destination, but the near three-year freeze has shrunk its portfolio there to around €3.7bn, although that is still roughly 10% of the bank's overall portfolio.