MADRID – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) today opened its representation office for Europe in the city of Madrid, in a ceremony led by the President of the Government of Spain Mariano Rajoy and IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno.
The event, held at the IDB’s new headquarters in central Madrid, was attended by Luis de Guindos, Minister of Economy and Competitiveness; José Manuel Soria, minister for Industry, Energy and Tourism; Ana Botella, Mayor of the City of Madrid; Juan Rosell, President of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations, and Enrique V . Iglesias, Secretary-General of the Ibero-American Secretariat. Also attending were European lawmakers, ambassadors of IDB member countries and business leaders.
Moreno recalled that it was precisely in Madrid, in 1974, that IDB membership was opened to European countries. Since joining, Spain has adopted policies that nurtured the development of a large middle class and business class.
"These are essential assets to successfully tackle the pressing difficulties that the Spanish people are facing today," said Moreno. He added that Spain is a mature society that "was and remains an example for those of us who are still traveling down the road to development."
President Moreno acknowledged that the European economic crisis and its impact on the world economy represent the greatest external economic challenges facing Latin America and the Caribbean today, and that the region could lose 40 percent of its potential growth if the European economies do not react positively.
“I am confident that the world will recognize the efforts that the European countries, and especially Spain, are making,” said Moreno.
Despite the global economic recession, trade with Latin America today is the fastest growing for Spain. The latest figures indicate that exports from Spain to Latin America grew by 25 percent over the past year.
The new IDB headquarters in Madrid will provide European companies and institutions access to the projects the Bank finances throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and will also be a place to meet, exchange ideas and create new partnerships.
President Rajoy said that Spain’s historic cultural, economic and cultural ties with Latin America and the Caribbean make the new Madrid office a “unique platform to promote economic cooperation for our mutual benefit.”
“The transfer of the IDB’s European office to Madrid will permit us, without a doubt, to forge an even deeper friendship and strengthen economic ties between the two regions,” he said. “We in the Spanish government will work to ensure that this happens, increasing our presence and contributing to the construction of a bigger Bank that serves more, and better, the demands of the borrowing countries.”
President Rajoy added that Spain is the IDB’s largest single contributor to the Bank’s trust funds, which are used for a variety of important development projects throughout Latin America and the Caribbean; Spain has contributed $655 million to such funds, of the total of $1 billion contributed by all of the European members of the Bank.
Besides its headquarters in Europe, the Bank has an office in Japan and offices in 26 of its borrowing member countries.
Established in 1959, the IDB is the largest source of financing for development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Bank provides loans, grants, technical assistance and conducts research on key issues for social and economic development in the region. Its shareholders are 48 member countries, including 26 Latin American and Caribbean borrowing member countries, which have a majority ownership of the IDB.
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