The social development bank in Europe


Governor Wenzel meets with IOM Director General in Paris to discuss co-operation on migrants

15 January 2018

PARIS – The Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), Rolf Wenzel, today met with the Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Ambassador William Lacy Swing, at the CEB’s headquarters in Paris. 

Governor Wenzel and William Lacy Swing
Governor Wenzel and William Lacy Swing

Governor Wenzel and Ambassador Swing reviewed bilateral co-operation and discussed migrant care in Greece and the Western Balkans. They also explored possible ways of increasing co-operation in migrant destination countries in Europe, where the CEB, in line with its social mandate, focuses on infrastructure needs such as housing, schools, and health facilities, while the IOM places greater emphasis on migrant care, assisted voluntary return and reintegration. 

Thanking CEB for its co-operation and support, IOM Director General William Lacy Swing noted that from 2015 to 2016 the CEB provided up to 11% of the total funding for IOM’s programmes in the Southeastern Europe (SEE) region. “The CEB was one of the first donors active in the region when the migration situation intensified in mid-2015. Our joint experience has shown how effectively the CEB and IOM can mobilise resources to respond quickly to the most pressing needs of migrants while supporting European Governments in better managing migration,” he said. 

Governor Wenzel expressed his satisfaction with the excellent co-operation between the Bank and IOM within the framework of the CEB’s Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF) and said: “Our partnership with IOM has enabled us to respond promptly to the needs of the countries affected by the refugee crisis, as early as autumn 2015. This is why we value our cooperation with IOM. Over the last couple of years, we have been focusing on areas in which donor interest was lacking, especially the care of unaccompanied children.” 

By the end of 2017, the CEB had approved grants for eighteen projects worth a total of €22 million through the MRF. Of these, six projects totalling €5.3 million, which were aimed at meeting the emergency needs of the migrants who arrived in 2015 and were implemented through IOM, have now been completed. Four additional projects with IOM totalling €4.6 million have been approved by the CEB since the summer of 2016 and are ongoing. These will provide accommodation and protection to the most vulnerable categories of migrants in Greece and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, particularly single parents and unaccompanied children. 

Recognising the need for substantial investments in public infrastructure, health, education and job creation in order to ensure the successful integration of migrants, the CEB has stepped up its lending activity since 2015. Last year, a total of almost €4 billion was approved for social projects targeted to vulnerable population groups, including migrants and refugees, persons with disabilities and the elderly.

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.