LONDON, June 27 (Reuters) - The head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Saturday his institution hoped to have its first joint projects with the new $100 billion China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in place by next year.
The EBRD was set up in 1991 after the fall of the Berlin Wall to help former communist countries, but its spread east in recent years to countries such as Mongolia means it is likely to overlap with the AIIB as it gets up and running.
“We are very keen to work together at the earliest possible opportunity,” EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti said in prepared remarks to be delivered in Beijing. “We in the EBRD will be ready to present AIIB with several projects next year ripe for immediate co-financing.”
He flagged infrastructure and energy efficiency projects as the most obvious areas where the two could work together, calling it “a historic opportunity” for all involved.
A total of 57 countries, including Group of 7 members Britain, Germany and France, have joined the AIIB as founding members, many of which are already EBRD members.
But the United States and Japan have stayed out of the China-led venture, which is seen as a rival to the U.S.-dominated World Bank and Japan-led Asian Development Bank, expressing concern about the new bank’s governance.
Europe appears less concerned, and the EBRD is not the only development bank from the region courting the AIIB.
According to one European official who spoke to Reuters recently, the European Investment Bank has also been providing advice to China behind the scenes on governance standards and best practice.
The EBRD’s Chakrabarti added that the group’s recent meetings with the AIIB had been encouraging. Some of the new development bank’s officials also attended the EBRD’s meeting last month in Georgia.
“We are listening to their ideas and learning about their plans,” he said. “And we like what we have heard so far.” (Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by Leslie Adler)