Written Answers. - Minister as European Chairman.

Charlie McCreevy

Question:

50 Mr. McCreevy asked the Minister for Finance the proposals, if any, he intends to implement during his term of office as Chairman of the Governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; and the implications, if any, of these proposals for Ireland. [8474/96]

The function of the Board of Governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is to take the major decisions affecting the structure and operations of the bank. For instance, the Board of Governors has recently decided on a capital increase, and in general it sets the overall direction of bank policy at the highest level.

The day to day running of the bank, approval of projects and formulation of the bank's policies in particular areas is a function of the Board of Directors.

The one task which will definitely fall to the Chairman of the Governors is the chairing of the bank's next Annual Meeting in London in April of next year and I look forward to this.

As I have just taken up the appointment it would be premature to identify any specific proposal which I would initiate in the course of the year. I intend, in my capacity as chairman, to emphasise the compelling need to advance the economic development of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which are the EBRD's area of operation. I will make it my business to support the Bank's current policy of assessing programmes and projects by reference to the contribution they can make to the process of transition from command economy to market economy, while observing scrupulously the requirements of sound banking practice.

I will be reinforced in my capacity to promote the economic development and integration of our Eastern neighbours in the second half of this year when Ireland will hold the Presidency of the European Union and I will be President of the Council of Economic and Finance Ministers. The progressive integration of the Central and Eastern European countries into the global economy is in the interests not only of those countries themselves, but also of the European Union and the international community.
In response to the last element of the Deputy's question, I envisage that the implications for Ireland of the work of the EBRD will be indirect — through the gradual rise in prosperity and trade which the transition process should generate. I feel that my election as chairman of the Governors for the coming year is a reflection of the esteem in which Ireland is held in the international community and I would expect that it would lead to a higher profile for the Bank in Ireland. This in turn may make Irish business more aware of the many opportunities the bank offers to make a worth-while contribution to the transition process.