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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 27 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 446 million, account for around 15 percent of global trade and goods, 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.

Last Updated: Jul 27, 2021

LENDING

Western Europe: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments

Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

World Bank Group Paris Office
66, Avenue d'Iéna
75116 Paris - FRANCE
Tel.: +33 1 40 69 30 26
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