HC Deb 22 April 1991 vol 189 cc770-1
39. Mr. Carrington

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on the inauguration of the European bank for reconstruction and development.

Mrs. Chalker

The European bank for reconstruction and development was formally inaugurated in London on 15 April by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and President Mitterrand. That was an historic occasion, which symbolised the coming together of east and west, and gave the new bank the necessary authority to start operations to support economic reform in central and eastern Europe.

Mr. Carrington

The establishment of that bank in London is greatly welcomed, as it consolidates London's position as the financial centre of Europe. The European bank for reconstruction and development has a primary role to play in consolidating the new-found freedoms of east European countries. What support are the British Government giving to it?

Mrs. Chalker

The United Kingdom's subscription to the capital base is £36.5 million over five years. The total subscribed capital is 10 billion ecu.

Dr. Kim Howells

Is the Minister aware of the enormous cost of dealing with just one problem in eastern Europe—that of cleaning up pollution? Does she agree that the sums mentioned are totally inadequate? As Britain is part of the same continent, what will the British Government do to help?

Mrs. Chalker

I sympathise with the hon. Gentleman's observations, because central and eastern Europe's pollution problems are horrendous. We are devoting our know-how funds in eastern Europe to providing that know-how to which the Government in each country give priority. I am certain that they will include some environmental projects. Those Governments will be seeking environmental projects such as those that might be funded by the bank, to solve some of their pollution problems. We must ensure that those problems do not get worse, and that the clean-up starts as soon as possible.

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