Overview

  • Europe and the World Bank

    Conceived toward the end of World War II at the Bretton Woods conference, the World Bank played an important role in the reconstruction of war-torn Europe. Its first loan, of $250 million, was made to France in 1947. This was followed by other reconstruction loans to the Netherlands, Denmark, and Luxembourg the same year.

    Today, the World Bank Group has evolved into one of the world’s largest sources of development assistance, with a mission to end extreme poverty and to boost shared prosperity by 2030. European constituencies have a critical role to play in this mission.

    The 28 European Union countries account for almost one-third of International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) shares, close to half of International Development Association (IDA) contributions, and more than two-thirds of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Trust Fund. In more general terms, the European countries have a population of about 508 million, account for a quarter of global trade and outward investment, and contribute to 55 percent of official development assistance worldwide.

    These aggregate figures illustrate the potential that exists to mobilize political support, funding, knowledge, and other critical development resources from European donor countries.

    Through external relations offices, the World Bank Group liaises with European governments; actively engages media and public opinion of the various member countries; fosters relations with a broad and potent NGO community, the European private sector, and academia; and facilitates operational partnerships with a diverse set of development agencies, both bilateral and multilateral.

     


  • To deepen public understanding in Europe about the World Bank’s work, and to engage main European concerns with the Bank’s policy discussions, European country counselors from the following countries regularly meet with nationally based constituencies in Europe, including government officials, parliamentarians, academics and researchers, as well as representatives of nongovernmental organizations, private sector representatives and the media.

    World Bank officers can be contacted in several external relations offices located in Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, London, and Rome.
  • European offices engage on world development issues with global constituencies such as parliamentarians, civil society, the business community, researchers and academia, and the media.
     

    Civil Society
     

    International development can only move ahead through partnerships among governments, donors, the private sector and civil society. Civil society organizations can amplify the voices of the poorest people in the decisions that affect their lives, and improve development effectiveness and sustainability. The World Bank has been working to strengthen cooperation with civil society groups for many years.

    The World Bank's first operational policy note on relations with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) was approved by the Bank's Board of Directors in 1981. Subsequently, the last several years have witnessed a remarkable increase in the level of interaction and cooperation worldwide between the Bank and civil society groups and organizations, including NGOs, trade unions, faith-based organizations, community-based organizations and foundations. This is ever more true with the challenging post-2015 agenda setting up the Sustainable Development Goals.


    In Europe, our activity with civil society organizations has two main components:
    Policy dialogue consisting of: regular consultations with advocacy NGOs and Bank units to discuss issues of interest to NGOs; and round table discussions with operational and advocacy NGOs from around the world on global issues; and

    Operational collaboration consisting of: dialogue with operational NGOs through information campaigns and linkage with Bank operational units.

    Parliamentarians
     

    Parliamentarians – as elected representatives – can be powerful advocates for development. They pass laws, debate, and approve foreign aid budgets; review development policies; and hold governments accountable for World Bank-financed programs. The World Bank Group, in turn, is an important focus of parliamentary interest as it channels around one-fifth of all aid to the poorest countries. It is also an important source of knowledge and information on poverty reduction.

    The World Bank Group's office in Paris is home to the Bank's Parliamentary Relations Team - the principal point of contact for parliamentarians and parliamentary organizations at the World Bank. The Team is responsible for facilitating policy dialogue with parliamentarians worldwide and connecting them with relevant Bank units and country offices. The Team also organizes events, field visits, and seminars for lawmakers in close partnership with various parliamentary assemblies and organizations around the world, including the independent Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

    Interaction between parliamentarians and the World Bank not only encourages broader participation in the development debate, but also promotes parliamentary involvement and ownership of Bank supported development projects.

    For more background, see the issue brief explaining the Bank's work with Parliamentarians in more depth and visit the World Bank's website for parliamentarians: www.worldbank.org/parliamentarians

    Private Sector

    To ensure engagement of the private sector in development around the world is key. In Europe and beyond, the World Bank works closely with a number of Private Sector Liaison Officers (PSLOs), a network of over 160 business intermediary organizations in more than 100 countries, designed to facilitate World Bank Group (WBG) communications with the private sector.

    Academia
     

    In Europe, the World Bank engages with a number of academic institutions, introducing students to the work and objectives of the institution, and occasionally organizing publications launches and events in partnership with local country stakeholders.

    Media
     

    Media contacts are available in each European office team reaches out to and is available serves as a primary contact point for European journalists seeking information about the World Bank Group.

    Accredited journalists may register to the Online Media Briefing Centre, for immediate access to news under embargo, country statistics, and additional information.

  • European Union Institutions


    The World Bank Brussels Office manages day-to-day relations of the World Bank Group with the European Union (EU) institutions. These include the European Commission (EC), European External Action Service (EEAS), Council of the European Union and European Parliament headquartered in Brussels, and the European Investment Bank headquartered in Luxembourg. The Brussels office is mandated to handle bilateral relations with Belgium and Luxembourg as well as NATO and works to leverage developing country representations, including the Secretariat of African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP). The Europe and Central Asia Vice Presidency, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Global Fund for Disaster Risk Reduction have operational teams and conduct operational work in the office.

    The Brussels office also reaches out to the numerous constituencies that gravitate around the EU, including civil society organizations, think tanks, the press corps, the private sector, labor unions, and youth organizations.

    The Brussels Office works to deepen the partnership with the EC, EEAS, the EU’s executive branches, which manage important instruments affecting developing countries (e.g. international aid and trade) and the EU’s large European Development Fund (EDF) for ACP Countries (the Tenth EDF is 22.7bn Euros for 2008-2013) . The Brussels team works to help the Operational Vice Presidencies of the World Bank expand ties with their EC counterparts dealing with Africa, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America.


    The Office also works to foster dialogue with the European institutions on thematic issues key to development, such as trade, debt relief, education, health, social inclusion and migration where the EC and the EEAS play a leading role on behalf of EU member states, both in terms of policy orientation and implementation. In financial terms, the EC is an important co-financer of World Bank projects and programs, through parallel financing and trust fund (TF) contributions. In 2010, the EC was the third largest contributor globally to World Bank managed TFs with $903M. The Brussels Office monitors closely this relationship and helps carry out these transactions.


    In recent years, as the EU has implemented the Lisbon Treaty – which gives extensive codecision rights to the European Parliament – the World Bank has invested time and effort in engaging with MEPs and parliamentary committees relevant to its work. Relations with the Council of the EU have also expanded through the complex set-up of the six-monthly rotating presidencies of member states, as well as through the Council’s new permanent Presidency. The Brussels office is in the process of establishing relations with the new EEAS, which started operations in December 2010. It has also supported the Bank’s effort to strengthen its collaboration with the EIB – as the EU’s financing arm, with which several operational Memoranda of Understanding have been signed.


    In addition, the Brussels office also organizes numerous events, conferences, consultation events, expert roundtables, flagship report launches, and media interviews with large numbers of Brussels-based ‘policy-makers’, lobbyists, think-tanks, journalists and others interested in development.
     

    Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development


    The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank share common objectives to foster sustainable development, reduce poverty, promote beneficial trade and international investment, and ensure responsible and transparent governance. External and Corporate Relations Europe hosts the World Bank's Paris-based OECD liaison, who facilitates World Bank collaboration with the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC).


    Based on its member countries’ experiences and its policy dialogue with non-OECD members, the OECD has developed policy knowledge, standards, and guidelines, which can be of great benefit to World Bank clients. Additionally, OECD peer reviews provide useful monitoring of many World Bank donor countries' policies and efforts in the area of development cooperation.
    The World Bank has been a permanent observer in the Development Assistance Committee since its foundation. Collaboration in this field has intensified recently, in particular in the context of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the monitoring of scaled-up aid.


    A Joint Statement of Priorities for OECD-World Bank Cooperation was signed on May 30, 2000. The 2000 agreement has helped the OECD and the World Bank to share institutional and policy knowledge, to improve mutual insight into each other’s work and experience.


    The Joint Statement was updated on January 28, 2006 to note that the cooperation between the World Bank and the OECD has matured and become well established in a number of areas, including trade, corporate governance, debt management, pensions, taxation, and in the field of development assistance.

     

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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

World Bank Group Paris Office
66, Avenue d'Iéna
75116 Paris - FRANCE
Tel.: +33 1 40 69 30 00
infoeurope@worldbankgroup.org
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