EBRD urged to stay on to help Greece

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Athens (AFP)

The Greek government has asked the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to extend its mandate beyond 2020 as the country builds on a recovery, the multilateral investment institution said Tuesday.

The announcement followed a meeting in the Greek capital between the bank's president Suma Chakrabarti and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who tweeted, "EBRD has been crucial to the upturn of our economy and we are waiting impatiently to continue our cooperation."

The EU's bailout fund is to make a fresh 5.7 billion euro (seven billion dollar) cash injection to Greece on Wednesday, putting Athens closer to leaving its painful bailout programme later this year.

The new tranche is the latest from Greece's third financial rescue package since 2010, when its debt crisis brought the European single currency close to collapse.

Chakrabarti said EBRD shareholders will vote at the annual general assembly in May on the extension of the mandate.

He welcomed "progress made in Greece" while adding, "but much still to be done."

"In less than two and a half years we have invested 1.6 billion euros in the Greek economy and Greece has become the fifth largest country in which we invest," he said.

"If our shareholders agree, we are ready to work with the Greek authorities to extend our mandate to support economic recovery."

The EBRD has invested solely in the private sector in Greece, including in the four leading banks.

The bank said it has sought to develop renewable sources of energy, improve competitiveness and strengthen regional economic integration.

It listed a 187-million-euro participation in the modernisation of 14 regional airports, a 300-million-euro framework for renewables and support for corporates as well as an equity investment in the real estate developer Dimand.

Founded in 1991 to help former Soviet bloc countries switch to market economies, the EBRD has spread its mix of financial investments, business services and policy reform to include countries such as Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Cyprus, Lebanon, Mongolia and Turkey.

The bank is owned by 66 countries from five continents, as well as the European Union and the European Investment Bank.