Fourth Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe (Reykjavik, 17 May 2023)

Speech by Governor Monticelli

As prepared for Delivery

17 May 2023, Reykjavik, Iceland  

Ms Prime Minister Jakobsdóttir,
Ms Secretary General Burić,
Mr President of the Parliamentary Assembly Kox,
Excellencies,

I am honoured to participate in the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe, convened in Iceland. The first one in 18 years.

The Council of Europe Development Bank – the CEB – is Europe’s oldest multilateral development bank and the only international financial institution tasked with an exclusively social mandate.

Over the past two decades, the relevance of this social mission has been reaffirmed over and over again.

Migrant and refugee crises, climate emergencies, the COVID-19 pandemic, and, lately, the Russian aggression against Ukraine are among the many challenges that the CEB has been able to tackle, rapidly and effectively, by financing projects with a high social impact.

As we prepare to welcome Ukraine as our 43rd member state, I would like to call on other Council of Europe member states which have not yet joined the CEB to do so, heeding the exhortations of the Parliamentary Assembly to this effect.

Why join? Because the CEB finances projects that boost social cohesion and serve vulnerable people, thereby promoting the core values of the Council of Europe across all its activities.

Let us consider Ukraine, as an example. In addition to being among the first international financial institutions to help Ukrainians fleeing the war, the CEB intends to play its special role in the country’s reconstruction, financing urgent social investment in the health and housing sectors.

Supporting Ukraine, in line with the Council of Europe Action Plan, is one of the overarching goals of the CEB’s recently approved five-year Strategic Framework.

The convinced support by members states was accompanied by their decision to increase the Bank’s capital. For the first time in the CEB’s history, a capital increase comes with the injection of fresh financial resources – a remarkable sign of confidence which the CEB will work flat out to repay.

Indeed, I wish wholeheartedly to thank CEB shareholders for that. Without these additional funds, the Bank would have not been able to continue pursuing its mandate effectively and start operating in Ukraine.

Looking ahead, the CEB will remain faithful to its mission; proud to support our member states address pressing social needs, leaving no one behind, for a brighter, more prosperous and inclusive future for all.

Reykjavík Declaration - United around our values

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