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    EBRD to decide on Turkey's inclusion at annual meeting

    Hurriyet English with wires
    18.05.2008 - 16:36 | Son Güncelleme:

    The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will discuss on Sunday the adoption of Turkey as a country of operations during its annual meeting in Kiev, voting on a proposal for a timetable for the bank to decide by October.

    The EBRD will also discuss the impact of global economic turmoil and soaring food prices in the former Soviet bloc in the meeting, as bank president, Jean Lemierre prepares to leave.  

    The bank’s board agreed on Friday to start a formal evaluation of a Turkish bid for access to the EBRD’s funds and expertise, and prepare for a final decision to be taken by the end of October.

    Turkey, which has been an EBRD member since the bank’s foundation in 1991, said in its application letter that changing its status to country of operation would “be immensely beneficial.”

    There is a growing expectation at the EBRD that events are moving in Ankara’s favor and Turkey’s backers are expected to deliver strong messages of support at the bank’s annual meeting in Kiev next week, the Financial Times reported.    

    Turkey’s inclusion would be the most significant change to the EBRD since the bank left the Czech Republic in December 2007, and would mark the first addition since Mongolia joined in 2006.

     

    BANK PRESIDENT TO LEAVE

    The EBRD’s 17th annual gathering will discuss "the role of the bank against the backdrop of the global economic situation, where problems in the West are maybe affecting the ability of Western countries to invest with the same confidence in the region," said EBRD spokesman Anthony Williams, the AFP reported.

    EBRD President Jean Lemierre presents his swansong summit after eight years leading the bank, which was formed in 1991 to help former communist nations in Europe and central Asia adopt market economies.

    Bank governors meeting in the Ukrainian capital were expected to appoint German deputy finance minister, Thomas Mirow, as Lemierre’s successor.

    The EBRD has invested heavily in former communist states across central Europe and the Baltics, but since countries such as Estonia, Hungary, Latvia and Poland joined the European Union in 2004, the EBRD has pushed further east and south.

    The bank will also use its conference to release the latest economic forecasts across its operating region.

    The EBRD’s net profits fell by more than a fifth to 1.9 billion euros ($2.9 billion) last year, the bank said in March, when it also revealed that Lemierre would leave in July.

    The earnings compared with a record-breaking net profit of 2.4 billion euros in 2006, which sparked speculation that the bank could issue its first-ever shareholder dividend.

    EBRD shareholders comprise 61 national governments as well as the European Community and European Investment Bank.

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