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Reflections on the European Financial Architecture for Development

About the series

Interviews exploring the future of the European development finance system

In late 2019, a “High-Level Group of Wise Persons,” set out to propose approaches for streamlining the complex web of European development banks to pave the way towards a more effective and rational system focused on sustainable development impact. The Group recommended the establishment of a dedicated European development bank, thereby setting in motion a contest between Europe’s two multilateral banks, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as to which would be most capable of fulfilling this role. In 2020, a feasibility study was commissioned by the European Council to assess the viability of the two banks taking on this role, and to consider a third option – “Status Quo Plus” – more cooperation short of a new bank. It is this third option that has been endorsed. There is, however, still a long way to go to decipher what exactly the “plus” means in practice.

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In 30-minute interviews with key stakeholders from the European bilateral and multilateral development banks, the European Commission and development finance experts, co-hosts, Mikaela Gavas (CGD) and San Bilal (ECDPM), take you on a thought-provoking journey as they explore efforts to maximize the potential of European development finance and get to grips with how to devise a more collaborative system.

More from the Series

Reflections on the European Financial Architecture for Development
Zoom call with Koen Doens

A Conversation on the European Financial Architecture for Development with Koen Doens

Video

Mikaela Gavas (CGD) and San Bilal (ECDPM) host Koen Doens, Director General of DG International Partnerships (DG INTPA) at the European Commission, to discuss his views on the outcome of the discussions on the European Financial Architecture for Development and what the European Commission is doing to develop a more collaborative and concerted system of European development banks.

Mikaela Gavas (CGD), San Bilal (ECDPM), Anne de Sourcy (AFD), Johannes Kannicht (KfW), Marina Piccioni (CDP), Fernando Jimenez-Ontiveros (AECID), and Laure Blanchard-Brunac (EDFI)

A Conversation on the European Financial Architecture for Development with European DFIs

Video

Mikaela Gavas (CGD) and San Bilal (ECDPM) host representatives from the “Enhanced Partnership,” an initiative launched by some of Europe’s key national development banks—Anne de Soucy (AFD), Johannes Kannicht (KfW), Marina Piccioni (CDP), Fernando Jimenez-Ontiveros (AECID)—and Laure Blanchard-Brunac from the Association of European Development Finance Institutions (EDFI), who share their perspectives on how to create a more coordinated and impactful European development finance system.

Katarína Mathernová

A Conversation on the European Financial Architecture for Development with Katarína Mathernová

Video

Mikaela Gavas and San Bilal host Katarína Mathernová, Deputy Director General at DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), European Commission, to discuss the Commission's role in the debate on the European Financial Architecture for Development.

Pierre Heilbronn speaks on Zoom in front of an EBRD background

A Conversation with Pierre Heilbronn on the European Development Finance Architecture

Video

Mikaela Gavas (CGD) and San Bilal (ECDPM) host Pierre Heilbronn, Vice President, Policy and Partnerships of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to discuss the role of the bank in the debate on the European Financial Architecture for Development.

Thomas Ostros on Zoom in front of an EBRD background

A Conversation with Thomas Ostros on the European Development Finance Architecture

Video

Mikaela Gavas (CGD) and San Bilal (ECDPM) host Thomas Östros, Vice President of the European Investment Bank to discuss the role of the bank in the debate on the European Financial Architecture for Development. Thomas emphasises the importance for the EIB to raise its development profile building on its in-house expertise on issues such as climate change and health and its close relationship with the European Commission.

Still of video interview with Thomas Wieser on the European Development Finance Architecture

A Conversation with Thomas Wieser on European Development Finance Architecture

Video

Mikaela Gavas (CGD) and San Bilal (ECDPM) sit down with Thomas Wieser, Chair of the 2019 Wise Persons Group report on the European Financial Architecture to discuss the process, politics and scenarios put forward to solve Europe’s perennial problem of fragmentation, duplication, and competition in its development finance architecture and the contest between Europe’s two multilateral banks, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as to which would be most capable of fulfilling the role of a dedicated EU development banking institution.

An image of Euros in front of the European flag

The End of the Battle of the European Banks? “Status Quo Plus” Emerges as the Winner

It’s been almost a year and a half since the High-Level Group of Wise Persons published its report, setting out options for consolidating and streamlining the European development finance architecture. That report generated a sparring match between the two European development banks—the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) —as to which was better placed to become the new European Climate and Sustainable Development Bank (ECSDB)

Pile of Euros. Adobe Stock.

The Wise Persons Group Report on Europe’s Development Finance Architecture: Merger, Acquisition, or Reinvention?

Earlier this month, the long-awaited report on the future of the European financial architecture for development was released. Are the report’s proposals feasible? And crucially, do they offer a magic bullet to the intractable state of the European development finance system? I argue that although some of the proposals go some way towards offering a solution to the current problem, politics will undoubtedly trump logic, and we will—at least in the near future—be left with a stalemate.