The World Bank Brussels office opened in 1996 to facilitate its rapidly expanding collaboration with the European Union (EU). Member states of the European Union represent our largest shareholder group. Together we are committed to addressing global development challenges in a harmonized and effective way, as set forth in the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and confirmed in September 2008 at the Accra High-Level Forum.
With five billion of the world’s six billion people living in developing countries, and over three billion people living on less than $2 a day. Reducing poverty is a compelling priority, and cooperation is imperative to ensure the best use of available resources.
In 2000, the United Nations’ Millennium Declaration called for a global partnership for development, reflecting a new determination to mobilize energy, resources and passion behind the ‘Millennium Development Goals’ (MDG's) and quantified targets for the year 2015. The objectives are clear: halve the number of people living in poverty; achieve universal primary education and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other communicable diseases, to take just three of the goals. Achieving the MDG's is a daunting task even without the current financial, food and energy crises and global economic slowdown. It requires not only an increased volume of aid —a serious commitment to the “Financing for Development” agenda in which Europe is playing a lead—but also closer coordination of trade, economic and other global policies that support development.
The World Bank Group has responded to these challenges by tripling its International Bank for Reconstruction and Development lending to US$100 billion during 2009-2011, and by facilitating increased aid flows to the poorest countries, including US$1.2 billion for the Bank's Global Food Response Crisis Response Program.
These challenges call for more effective cooperation and set a clear responsibility to larger donors such as the EU and the World Bank. The EU’s development assistance program is the third largest in the world. Taking into account its member states' bilateral aid programs, Europe is by far the world's largest aid provider. Moreover, the EU is a key trading partner to the developing world, and has deep historical, political, and economic ties with many developing countries, especially its immediate neighbors to the south and east. With the enlargement of the EU by 12 new member states since May 2004, and the perspective of new members joining in the near future, the Union's borders are widening, and, with them, its political weight, responsibility and influence on actions to reduce poverty and raise living standards.
The EU's development policies converge with those of the World Bank, one of the largest sources of assistance in the world — the largest, indeed, for education and long-term HIV/AIDS programs. There is hardly a developing or transition economy in which the World Bank and the EU do not work together to provide support in a cohesive way. We have agreed on a common strategic approach around country-driven poverty reduction strategies in a number of countries, and particularly in Africa. We are also working closely with the EU to build institutions and assist communities in South Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, the West Bank and Gaza, Timor Leste, and Georgia. We are coordinating efforts to provide adequate assistance to conflict and disaster affected countries. A rich dialogue is ongoing between the Bank, EU institutions and the Brussels-based development community on a wide range of policy issues, such as trade, migration, and debt relief.
The purpose of our website is to keep you informed of this work, and to seek your views about our collaboration with the EU in particular, the Bank’s work in general, and this site itself. Please give us your feedback. We look forward to hearing from you!
Special Representative to the European Union Institutions, Belgium and Luxembourg , Head of Office