EIB Declines to Release Ukranian Framework Agreement

9 August 2005

The European Investment Bank has declined to release the text of a framework agreement recently signed with Ukrainian leaders.

Although the EIB a year ago promised the release of framework agreements (with a few caveats), officials replying to a freedominfo.org request said those caveats mean that disclosure will not occur until after the agreement is approved by the Ukrainian Parliament. Whether and when it is released in the Ukraine is up to the Ukrainian government, according to an August 2 letter from the EIB to freedominfo.org.

The signing of the Framework Agreement with the Ukraine was announced June 15 in an EIB press release after the document was signed by EIB President Philippe Maystadt and Oleg Rybachuk, Vice-Prime Minister of Ukraine. "The signature will allow the Bank to proceed with the financing of projects in the areas of environment, transport, telecommunications and energy infrastructure in Ukraine," according to a three paragraph press release, to which the agreement itself was not attached.

Asked for a copy of the Framework Agreement on June 15, an EIB official replied that it "will be published only after it is ratified by the Parliament of Ukraine."

The "parliamentary approval" condition is not contained explicitly in the EIB policy statement on disclosure of Framework Agreements. The relevant policy was adopted June 15, 2004, as part of a larger statement including other steps aimed at expanding EIB transparency.

Specifically, the board policy states: "In order to bring EIB’s practice more in line with that of the EU, Framework Agreements with Partner Countries will be published wherever the legal framework permits and subject to banking relations constraints."

In an August 2 letter to freedominfo.org, the EIB explained that the Framework Agreement will not be released by the EIB until after it is ratified in the partner country, leaving release of the agreement up to the Ukrainian government.

Setting out the policy, the letter states: "Concerning the trigger point for release of a Framework Agreement with a Partner Country; the Bank would expect to publish a Framework Agreement as a legally valid document, following its entry into effect (which usually implies formal ratification by the corresponding authorities). In accordance to the above cited policy, unless a Framework agreement has already been published in the Partner country and is therefore already in the public domain, the Bank would normally request the consent of the Partner country to publish the Agreement."

With respect to Ukraine, the EIB explained: "Concerning the Framework Agreement with Ukraine, the Ukrainian government has been duly informed of the Bank’s policy with respect to publication, and confidentiality has not been specifically requested. As mentioned by Mr. D. Ondrejicka, the Agreement is expected to be made public by the Ukrainian authorities, and be published in the Ukrainian official gazette, following its ratification by Parliament."

The letter further states: "As to when this Agreement will be available to the Ukrainian Parliament, we are not into a position to provide an answer, as this falls under the responsibility of the Ukrainian authorities. However, we will contact you back when this document is ratified and published."

In addition, the EIB declined a request for a copy of any Framework Agreement, saying the Ukrainian agreement is the first such agreement reached since the 2004 transparency policy statement.

The letter from EIB official Adam McDonaugh notes that an EIB request to Russian authorities for permission to publish a 2002 Framework Agreement is still pending.

By Toby McIntosh


European Investment Bank August 2 letter to freedominfo.org

Dear Mr. McIntosh,

We refer to your messages to Mr. D. Ondrejicka of 20 and 21 June 2005 and to Mr. Juan M. Sterlin of 07 and 27 July, on the EIB Framework Agreements with Russia and Ukraine. We also refer to our acknowledgments of receipt of 21 June.

Please note that the EIB Transparency Policy of June 2004 mentioned in your message specifies that the EIB will publish Framework Agreements with Partner Countries "wherever the legal framework permits and subject to banking relations constraints. Partner Countries are also informed of the Bank’s policy in this respect".

Concerning the trigger point for release of a Framework Agreement with a Partner Country; the Bank would expect to publish a Framework Agreement as a legally valid document, following its entry into effect (which usually implies formal ratification by the corresponding authorities). In accordance to the above cited policy, unless a Framework agreement has already been published in the Partner country and is therefore already in the public domain, the Bank would normally request the consent of the Partner country to publish the Agreement.

Concerning the Framework Agreement with Ukraine, the Ukrainian government has been duly informed of the Bank’s policy with respect to publication and confidentiality has not been specifically requested. As mentioned by Mr. D. Ondrejicka, the Agreement is expected to be made public by the Ukrainian authorities, and be published in the Ukrainian official gazette, following its ratification by Parliament.

As to when this Agreement will be available to the Ukrainian Parliament, we are not into a position to provide an answer, as this falls under the responsibility of the Ukrainian authorities. However, we will contact you back when this document is ratified and published.

As to your request to be directed to any Framework Agreement that the EIB has released, the Bank has released none to date. The Ukraine Framework Agreement is the first to be arranged following its 2004 Transparency Policy decision.

Finally, you request to be directed to an announcement of the Framework Agreement with Russia. This is covered in a press release issues on 06/12/2002: http://www.eib.org/news/press/press.asp?press=2577. Please note that the EIB has requested the Russian authorities for permission to publish this Framework Agreement. We are currently waiting for a response and will keep you informed about the results.

Yours sincerely,

 

EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK
Adam McDonaugh
Head of Division

Juan Manuel Sterlin Balenciaga
Information Officer, Civil Society Unit
Institutional and Product Marketing
Communication and Information Department

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: ,

Filed under: IFTI Watch

ABOUT IFTI WATCH

In this column, Washington, D.C.-based journalist Toby J. McIntosh reports on the latest developments in information disclosure in International Financial and Trade Institutions (IFTI).
Contact: freeinfo@gwu.edu or
1-(703) 276-7748