The social development bank for Europe
Governor Wenzel and Ireland’s Minister O’Donovan meet in Paris
24 April 2018
PARIS – The Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), Mr Rolf Wenzel, today welcomed Mr Patrick O’Donovan, Ireland’s Minister of State at the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, to the Bank’s headquarters.
Governor Wenzel provided information to Minister O’Donovan about CEB activities in its member countries aimed at supporting social cohesion and promoting inclusive growth. They also had an exchange of views on ongoing CEB operations in Ireland and prospects for future bilateral co-operation.
Minister O’Donovan’s visit was a follow-up of the meeting with Governor Wenzel in Limerick, Ireland, in January this year. That meeting centred around the signing of an €85 million loan agreement to finance a major regeneration programme in Limerick. The CEB loan will contribute to the social development strategy ‘Limerick Twenty Thirty’, which promotes investment development in the region. The regeneration of the Opera site in Limerick, for which the CEB funds will be used, is expected to provide modern office space with the capacity to accommodate up to 3,000 jobs, cultural facilities and retail space, while also restoring and reusing historical Georgian buildings.
Commenting on the meeting, Governor Wenzel said: “Today Minister O’Donovan and I had a very constructive exchange of views. Ireland and the CEB have had excellent co-operation over the past number of years. Now we are looking at how we can strengthen further this co-operation in order to support more social development projects in the country, in particular in the context of the Project Ireland 2040 National Development Plan.”
Minister O’Donovan stated: “I had an excellent engagement with Governor Wenzel around the work that the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) does as a multilateral development bank with an exclusively social mandate. Ireland is an active member of the Governing Board and of the Administrative Council and contributes through these bodies to policy and governance developments in relation to the Bank. Going forward, we discussed ways of continuing this mutually beneficial and productive relationship, with both parties looking forward to continued engagement and cooperation.”
Since becoming a CEB member in 2004, Ireland has availed of financing in a range of sectors, including the creation and preservation of viable jobs, social housing for low-income families, and the development of public infrastructure. More than €600 million has been approved in loans to Ireland over the last couple of years. To assist with the housing crisis, the CEB is currently financing a €150 million facility for the Housing Finance Agency to enable local authorities throughout the country to retrofit existing social housing units and to construct new, energy-efficient social housing.
Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 41 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AA+ with Standard & Poor's, outlook positive and AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.