The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has postponed financing of new projects in the public sector of Belarus for better times.
“We urge Belarus to continue fulfilling all of its international obligations. The EBRD is still investing in private sector projects in Belarus but is not currently considering new sovereign projects in the country,” reads the statement on the bank’s website.
A representative of the bank told TUT.BY: “At the same time we are committed to completing already signed infrastructure deals.”
On Tuesday, 17 November, Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said that Belarus woul suspend the dialogue on human rights with the European Union, and lower the level of participation in the EU’s Eastern Partnership program.
“We see no point in continuing the dialogue on human rights with the EU. We will suspend it until the EU changes the policy of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank, which have frozen the cooperation programs with Belarus. We do not see much sense in working on the full-fledged basis in the Eastern Partnership initiative,” he said.
The minister stressed that all the measures are only a response to the “provocative, destructive steps” that the European partners have taken towards Belarus.
The EBRD began to actively cooperate with the public sector and finance infrastructure projects in 2016 after sanctions against Belarus were lifted. As a result, the EBRD invested a record € 390 million in 24 projects in 2019. The largest financing project was a sovereign loan of €126 million for the reconstruction of 12 bridges.
In 2019, the European Investment Bank increased its investment portfolio in Belarus to €550 million. Noteworthy, the EU’s pivotal bank began to work de facto in Belarus only in 2018, when it allocated €168 million. The money was used to reconstruct the M7 / E28 Minsk – Oshmyany – Lithuanian border [Kamenny Log checkpoint], modernize water supply facilities and support reforms in housing and communal services.