The social development bank in Europe

60 years of European solidarity

“An organisation for human solidarity on a banking basis” - René Plas, the first Governor of the Council of Europe Resettlement Fund for National Refugees and Overpopulation in Europe (CEB today)


In response to the plight of people driven from their homes by the upheavals of the 20th century, the “Council of Europe Resettlement Fund for National Refugees and Overpopulation in Europe” was established in April 1956 and tasked to aid the integration of refugees and migrants.

The CEB was thus born out of a vision of European solidarity, as a step forward in the building of a European community. Since then, its gradual transformation into a fully-fledged, multilateral development bank with an exclusively social vocation has been inextricably linked with the history of the European continent itself.

Growing membership 

MapEstablished as a Partial Agreement of the Council of Europe, the CEB was founded by eight member states, already reflecting very diverse horizons: Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Turkey.  

Today, the CEB has no fewer than 41 members and its membership reflects Europe’s own geographical and cultural diversity. The CEB is the only multilateral development bank with an exclusively social vocation and a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe. 

Key moments

1956: the CEB was created in the form of a Resettlement Fund to contribute to financing projects for the resettlement of refugees from World War II and its aftermath.

1993: the Vienna Summit signalled a wave of new member countries from Central, Eastern and then South-Eastern Europe joining the CEB.

1997: the Strasbourg Summit widened the CEB’s mandate to include strengthening social cohesion, alongside the statutory priorities set out in its Articles of Agreement.

2005: the Warsaw Summit invited the CEB to contribute in its own way to the development of a free, democratic and more inclusive European society.

2015: In the wake of the biggest influx of migrants and refugees into Europe since WWII, the CEB established its Migrant and Refugee Fund.  

CEB today

Refugees 60 years after the establishment of the CEB, Europe is once again confronted with serious challenges.

In this context, advancing social cohesion remains a key objective for European policymakers, who are seeking effective ways to address critical issues such as the migrant and refugee crisis. Social cohesion is also an essential condition for the fulfillment of the Council of Europe values: human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

CEB’s investments in the key social fields such as housing, health, and education, coupled with our continued support to job creation and climate action, represent an important contribution to inclusive development. 

Through the provision of financing and technical expertise for projects with a high social impact, the CEB actively promotes social cohesion and strengthens social integration in Europe. 

Firmly committed to our social mandate and well prepared to tackle present and future challenges, we, at the CEB, are determined to work towards building a better Europe.

Related publications
  • Cover_brochure_60.png
    60 years of European solidarity
    Published: April 2016 Download
  • CoverCEB_Info_1_2016.png
    CEB Info 01/2016
    60 years of European solidarity Published: April 2016 Download