LONDON: China has requested to join the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the bank’s chief economist said Thursday.
“China has indeed made a formal application for membership of the EBRD and that is just a few days ago in fact,” said Hans Peter Lankes, adding that the board would weigh the request in the coming days before seeking shareholders’ views.
“We would expect there to be a mid-December decision on this request,” said Lankes, who suggested the request would be looked on favourably.
“EBRD is very active in Central Asia, in the Caucasus, south-eastern Europe, which are all areas in which Chinese investors and Chinese financing have become very important in recent years. And EBRD has a strong presence on the ground in these countries, has many years of experience, supporting investors and infrastructure.”
Therefore, he concluded, “it’s quite obvious that there are ways of working together.”
Founded in 1991 to aid Eastern and Central European states emerging from Communist rule to make the transition towards a market economy, the bank now oversees development projects in 36 countries, including Central Asia and as far as Mongolia.
Some of the countries where EBRD operates include what China calls the “Silk Road economic belt” where Beijing is developing trade and investment links.
Most stakeholders in the bank, jointly owned by its 64 member nations, the European Union and the European Investment Bank, are European countries.
But a raft of non-European states, including the United States and Japan, participate in decision-making.