Mission and history
The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) is a multilateral development bank with an exclusively social mandate.
Through the provision of financing and technical expertise for projects with a high social impact in its member states, it actively promotes social cohesion and strengthens social integration in Europe.
The CEB represents a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe. It participates in financing social projects, responds to emergency situations and contributes to improving the living conditions of the most disadvantaged population groups.
The CEB contributes to the implementation of socially oriented investment projects through three sectoral lines of action, namely:
- Inclusive growth: working to guarantee access to economic opportunities to ensure a prosperous future for all.
- Support for vulnerable groups: helping to integrate the most vulnerable citizens to nurture a more diverse society.
- Environmental sustainability: supporting a liveable society that promotes environmental sustainability, mitigates and adapts to climate change.
The CEB carries out its mission within the strategic framework of a formal "Development Plan" that describes the logic underpinning its action and sets forth guidelines for the activity in the medium term in relation to the operational context within which the Bank operates. The current Development Plan covers the period 2020-2022.
The CEB has its origins in the political upheavals that Europe experienced following the Second World War, leading to a flood of refugees and displaced persons into Western Europe.
The oldest European multilateral development bank, the CEB was established in 1956 by eight Member States of the Council of Europe on the basis of a partial agreement in order to bring solutions to the problems of refugees. Signed on 16 April 1956 by eight countries, the Bank is the first of the Partial Agreements to have been concluded.
Key dates in the history of the CEB
1956: the CEB was created in the form of a Resettlement Fund with a capital of less than 7 million US dollars.
1960s-1980s: over the decades, the CEB steadily increased its membership, financial resources and scope of action in line with changes in social priorities. Born in the aftermath of a divided Europe, the CEB experienced particular impetus with the reunification of the European continent after the fall of the Berlin Wall. More specifically, three Council of Europe Summits of Heads of State and Government, helped shape what the Bank is today.
1993: the Vienna Summit signalled a wave of new members from the countries of Central, Eastern, and then South-Eastern Europe joining the Bank, which at the time was still a Fund.
1997: the Strasbourg Summit widened the CEB’s mandate to include strengthening social cohesion, alongside the priorities set out in its Articles of Agreement.
2005: the Warsaw Summit, whilst continuing to support the Bank’s traditional mission, also invited the CEB to contribute in its own way to the development of a free, democratic and more inclusive European society.
Since 2008, the protracted crisis in Europe and its impact on the lives of populations have made the CEB’s mandate and action as a social development bank more relevant than ever.
Relations with the Council of EuropeWorking to strengthen social cohesion in accordance with its mandate, through its lending activity the Bank promotes the values and principles of the Council of Europe. It is nevertheless a separate legal entity and financially independent.
As evidence of these institutional links, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe issues an opinion on admissibility in terms of compliance with the Council of Europe’s political and social objectives for all the projects that the Bank submits to its Administrative Council for approval.