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This report is taken from PN Review 93, Volume 20 Number 1, September - October 1993.

The EBRD Jessica Douglas-Home

Eighteen months ago, having ascertained that the purpose of Jacques Attali's EBRD was to encourage 'the evolution of a business environment in Eastern Europe 'conducive to the growth of a competitive private sector with support to small… business ventures', I visited the institution to discuss a factory project in Romania. The project was far too small, I was told, but if the factory would ally itself to a large state municipal scheme, it would stand a better chance.

I pointed out, what the bank hardly needed to be told, that this would be feeding money into the bureaucracy and that the business would simply be absorbed into the old structures-which, in the case of Romania, means the Communist mafia who remain in charge. But it appeared that the bank was less interested in the terms of its original prospectus than in giving aid to the ruling powers.

After this experience I wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal arguing that the EBRD was not fulfilling the brief upon which it had raised its funds. It would, in my view do more harm than good to the people of Eastern Europe. Moreover the British taxpayer, who had been asked to supply £40 million,was being taken for a ride.

My interest in Eastern Europe arose through my involvement in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Romania during the 1970s and 1980s. I had been part of a group of British writers, academics, musicians and artists who ...


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