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Bulgaria: Bank Backs Away From State-Sponsored Projects

Sofia, 29 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) says it no longer wants to participate in state-sponsored projects in Bulgaria. The regional director of the London-based EBRD, Olivier Descamps, made the comment yesterday in Sofia.

Descamps said concern about Bulgaria's reform program, and questionable support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank has convinced the EBRD not to support any large, state-supported projects. He said loans would still be made to support private-sector projects in Bulgaria.

The EBRD's Descamps said his bank has been very critical of the delays in Bulgaria's economic structural reforms, the weak and poorly functioning banking system, and the slow and reluctant privatization process.

The EBRD had said it was expecting to make loans in 1997 totalling about $200 million for state-sponsored projects in Bulgaria.

The EBRD was set up by Western governments in 1991 to make loans to assist the economic transition of Eastern Europe.