Internationalism is not a spent force but a critical element in the response to global economic challenges, the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Sir Suma Chakrabarti, said.
In a speech before Serbia’s National Parliament, the EBRD President said economic integration was a strategic priority for the EBRD. “We see economic integration as a powerful force promoting efficient markets and reform.”
The EBRD President said this was not the time for a pause in the momentum for greater integration as the world faced up to pressing international challenges.
“For many of these challenges, we regard deeper economic integration as a key part of the solution, not the problem,” he added.
President Chakrabarti referred specifically to the impact of sluggish or non-existent growth as challenges facing EBRD regions as they struggled to emerge from the global financial crisis.
The EBRD invests to support the transition to market economies in 36 countries ranging across three continents from Morocco to Mongolia and from Estonia to Egypt.
In his address, Sir Suma said: “Internationalism, the notion that nation states should aspire to deeper cooperation for the greater good of all, is not the spent force that many would have us believe.”
Economic integration was one of the most effective vehicles for advancing the cause of internationalism, he added.
The EBRD President noted that economic integration after the Second World War had spurred the reconstruction of western Europe and it was later the draw of the European Union (EU) that had galvanised the former communist countries of central Europe into historic change.
The same was now true for the countries of the Western Balkans, where the President has expressed his support for greater integration with the EU during a series of visits this summer.
President Chakrabarti said the approximation process with the EU was a powerful external anchor for reforms in the Western Balkans, twinned with an important focus on regional cooperation.
“Regional cooperation is an explicit precondition for aspirant countries as they work towards approximation,” he said.
“Because Serbia has committed itself to a European path and we at the EBRD are doing everything in our power to help speed its journey,” the President added.