EBRD to assist privatisation of Moscow-Minsk Bank
According to the memorandum signed by the National Bank of Belarus and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD will provide financial and technical assistance to OJSC "Moscow-Minsk Bank" in the privatization process to be completed by January 1st, 2020. EBRD will open a credit line of up to EUR 20 million and may become one of the bank’s shareholders. If the project is a success, foreign investors are likely to increase the interest in Belarusian assets. As well, interest rates for SMEs may reduce, and the state may reduce its share in the banking sector, while the National Bank would preserve full control over it. Nevertheless, the state will not give up a controlling stake in systemically important banks, and would sell a blocking stake only to major international banking structures.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.