Poland among the Most Advanced Countries of Operation
Pointing out to the good relations with the Polish government, EBRD’s Country Head for Poland and the Baltic States Grzegrorz Zielinski discusses the institution’s main goals and projects.
What are the main goals of the EBRD in Poland?
Grzegrorz Zielinski: EBRD is present in Poland for 26 years. In fact, the Warsaw regional office was EBRD’s first regional office and the first project financed by EBRD was in Poland. EBRD’s activities concentrate on three crosscutting themes: support for low carbon economy; support for private Polish business in terms of support for innovation; and regional expansion. Furthermore, EBRD is keen on supporting sustainable banking sector as well a further development of local capital markets, and we would like to see businesses moving outside the borders of the country.
What are the current projects of EBRD in the country?
Grzegrorz Zielinski: In recent years, our financing has been in the rank of €700-750 million on annual level, and we would like to continue committing funds to Poland. We support projects in line with our strategy for Poland, such as our special initiative ‘Green Energy Transmission’ through which we fund projects for reduction of CO2 and greenhouse gases. EBRD also provides financing to SME’s and individuals through Polish commercial banks, via the PolSEFF and PolREFF programs. We work with loans over €10 million, and our biggest loans last year were €100 million. Indirect loans vary from bank to bank, ranging from €10,000 to €40000, with small loans of €1,000 for individuals. Overall, we support sustainable projects which will benefit the economy and the people.
Equities have been a historically significant part in our bank activities. 30% of our commitments each year are equity type commitments, both direct and investment through equity funds. We also support e-commerce and try to improve the shipping of goods and services within the country in order to enable SMEs located in different parts to gain access to the whole market.
The EBRD has been set up to support the transition from a state owned and centrally governed economy to a privatized and fully liberalized economy. Our primary objective is to support the transition process, which today means concentrating on the existing ‘transition gaps’. We cooperate with the EIB and other international institutions on projects that receive EU funding, but our major role is to provide financing on commercial basis in instances when other institutors don’t provide funding due to risks. EBRD is keen on promoting privatization and listing of state owned companies and in the past we assisted the IPO of PKP Cargo and ENEA, but we understand that privatization is not a priority for the current government. Furthermore, we have been particularly active in policy dialogues with the government regarding the new legislation on covered bonds and the first issuances which occurred last year.
What is your private message?
Grzegrorz Zielinski: I would advise potential investors to do their research and planning properly. As an institution which has long been present in the country and has successfully promoted Poland’s development and business, we remain at their disposal for any questions.