Thomas Mirow launched a robust defence of the banks
role during the crisis following a demand by Czech President
Vaclav Klaus that it should be shut down.
In an interview with Emerging Markets, the
EBRD president said the bank had a good track
record during the financial crisis of 2008 and
Last week Klaus, a long standing critic of the bank,
dismissed the EBRD as an unimportant institution. In my
opinion it should not exist at all, he said.
But Mirow said Klaus was in a clear minority,
adding: I think we all know and respect the Czech
president and he should stay with the opinion that he has
He cited the banks role in helping Georgia tackle the
double challenge of a political crisis with Russia
and a threat to its banking system.
There are so many examples which are obvious
that we are not in a position where we have to defend our
case, Mirow told Emerging Markets.
He said the EBRDs intervention to stabilise the
banking system in central and eastern Europe meant the
worst-case scenarios did not materialize.
The EBRD put together the E25 billion Vienna Initiative with
private banks and other multilaterals to ensure Western banks
did not withdraw capital from their eastern subsidiaries.
The Vienna Initiative was created - successfully I
think - to prevent an unorderly down-wind of western banks in
the region and this indeed did not happen, he said.
The success bolstered morale at the bank after last
years meetings when some shareholders criticised the bank
for not acting more swiftly.
The Board of Governors is this afternoon expected to approve
a proposal to inject E10 billion into the banks capital
Mirow said the decision of the banks directors to
recommend a remarkable 50% increase in its E20
billion capital base was a sign of support.
This would not have happened if the assessment [was]
that we are not able to make a difference, Mirow
Joachim Schwarzer, Germanys executive director,
said the EBRD had played an indispensible role.
We have fulfilled a role which we have been asked to play
by leaders in the international community, which is helping to
stabilise the economy in our region, he told Emerging
The US Treasury said the EBRD had played an essential
role and provided particularly critical support to
regional financial institutions. We expect and look
forward to reaching agreement among the governors in Zagreb on
how best to position the EBRD to serve the needs of the region
going forward, a spokesperson said.
However the intervention has not led to an increase in
lending. Earlier this year the EIB and World Bank warned that
many countries still suffered a contraction in