The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) is a multilateral development bank with a social vocation. Established on 16 April 1956 in order to bring solutions to the problems of refugees, its scope of action has progressively widened to other sectors of action directly contributing to strengthening social cohesion in Europe.
The CEB represents a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, in order to help its 40 Member States achieve sustainable and equitable growth: it thus participates in financing social projects, responds to emergency situations and, in so doing, contributes to improving the living conditions of the most disadvantaged population groups.
The CEB contributes to the implementation of socially oriented investment projects through three sectoral lines of action, namely:
- strengthening social integration
- managing the environment
- supporting public infrastructure with a social vocation
The CEB enjoys a unique and original position in Europe, both on account of the nature of the projects it finances, the sectors in which it undertakes its action and the geographic scope of its shareholder base.
The CEB and the Council of Europe
The CEB is based on a Partial Agreement among Council of Europe Member States and, according to its Articles of Agreement, is subject to the Council's overall authority. Signed on 16 April 1956 by eight countries, the Bank is the first of the Partial Agreements to have been concluded.
The CEB thus operates within the framework of the Council of Europe and supports its priorities. It is nevertheless a separate legal entity and financially independent.
As evidence of these institutional links, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe issues an opinion on admissibility in terms of compliance with the Council of Europe’s political and social objectives for all the projects that the Bank submits to its Administrative Council for approval. These links are also highlighted by the impact that the different Council of Europe Summits, held at the highest level, have had on the CEB’s development. For example, at the outcome of the Third Council of Europe Summit (Warsaw, May 2005), Heads of State and Government expressed their attachment to the CEB's action on behalf of populations in distress and of social cohesion. They also invited the Bank to widen its role to facilitate the consolidation of democracy, promotion of the rule of law and respect for human rights.
Over and above the numerous instances of day-to-day interaction, a Human Rights Trust Account was set up in 2008
The CEB carries out its mission within the strategic framework of a formal "Development Plan" that describes the logic underpinning its action and sets forth guidelines for the activity in the medium term in relation to the operational context within which the Bank operates. The current Development Plan covers the period 2010-2014.