Southern European Nations Seek Closer Ties With Development Bank

Euro-area members Greece, Portugal and Cyprus are seeking closer ties with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which is expanding investments around the Mediterranean, the lender’s president said.

Greece and Portugal “are now exploring enhanced engagement with their businesses with us,” Suma Chakrabarti said today, according to an e-mailed transcript of a speech distributed by the bank. Cyprus has expressed interest in becoming a recipient of loans and investments “for a limited period,” he said.

In the Mediterranean region, Libya has applied to become a member and a target of EBRD investments, while Lebanon has made an approach to start talks on the same two issues. The London-based bank has about $40 billion to lend or invest through 2015.

The EBRD, owned by 64 countries, the European Union and the European Investment Bank, was created in 1991 to help former communist countries from the Balkans to central Asia transform their economies. It works in 34 countries, with Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan joining last year as recipients.

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