Dear colleagues, I would first like to thank the rapporteur Ms Nicole TRISSE for her well documented report.
It is important to hold this debate today, as we must ensure that the Council of Europe Development Bank remains grounded to the Organisation’s political and social objectives and the core values and principles it represents. Undoubtedly one cannot but feel impressed with the achievements of the bank, its sound financing policies and structures, its top ranking position and expert staff.
But most importantly the bank’s activities and the projects it has financed have significantly improved the lives of millions of people across the European continent. The fact that the bank has a well-defined social mandate which it has never deviated from is also very significant. Through efficient instruments and procedures, the bank has promoted social cohesion and strengthened social integration through investments in quality projects related to sustainable growth, the integration of refugees and migrants, and the mitigation of the negative effects of climate change. However it is a stance it has striven to maintain throughout the years, by rightly focusing on the needs of the most disadvantaged groups through positive capacity building measures across societies and countries that needs to be applauded and upheld.
The bank’s mission and mandate 63 years after its establishment remains today particularly relevant. One cannot ignore the fact that climate change could be the very first reason for a never-ending migration problem in Europe in the future. Therefore in order to be proactive we should maybe consider expanding the CEB mandate to enable it to address problems outside member states, and give solutions to third countries focused on sustainable farming and green investments.
The bank has financed numerous projects in targeted countries including my own, Cyprus. The bank has been assisting the Republic of Cyprus in better managing its water scarcity problems and has enhanced its water-supply systems. It has also recently financed the building of a high-tech wastewater treatment plant in the capital city of Nicosia. I fully support the recommendations included in the draft resolution. It is also important to ensure that the bank continues to undertake joint projects with other financial institutions, thereby pushing for an inclusive social agenda across Europe.
Finally I fully agree that more needs to be done in order to understand the causes of inequality that ultimately lead disadvantaged and marginalised people on the brink of despair. Devising the correct mechanisms to reduce inequalities, and finding ways to redress exposure to poverty need also become a central priority of the bank.
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