[page-number of print ed.: 3 ]

Welcoming speech by

Holger Börner
President of Friedrich Ebert Foundation

Mr. President, Honourable Members of Parliament, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!

On behalf of our Executive Board I should like to welcome you to this meeting with the President of the World Bank. It is a great pleasure and honour for us, President Wolfensohn, to have you as the guest of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung today. I should also like to welcome the ladies and gentlemen who are accompanying you, especially Mr. Lindbeck, the Director of the International Finance Corporation, and special mention must be made of Dr. Schaffer, the German Executive Director. He was for a long time closely involved with the activities of the political foundations in his previous position in the Ministry for Development Cooperation.

Mr. President,

under your presidency, the World Bank has been changing: in respect of its openness towards a dialogue with all relevant forces in society and its concern for a social and ecological orientation in its work. Those who listened to or read about your speech at the annual meeting in Hongkong will know that you are serious about eliminating poverty and realizing "good governance".

Three weeks ago, we discussed in these rooms the report: "The State in a Changing World" with representatives of the World Bank. We have identified a great number of interesting new approaches for activities of the World Bank. Some of them are at the same time crucial concerns of the German political foundations in their activities in many countries of the world: democratic politics, participation of the people, their organizations in society and special-interest groups, social responsibility and social consensus. It encourages us in our work if an important organization such as the World Bank is pointing in the same direction. We are in contact with the different World Bank institutions. We hope that concrete steps towards cooperation will materialize in the individual countries.

[page-number of print ed.: 4 ]

An organization such as the World Bank is, of course, bound to be the object of some criticism. Some believe that it is too powerful, an instrument of the interests of international capital. And others believe that it is too far removed from its function as a bank because it has adopted additional, and non-economic, objectives.

It is a good thing, Mr. President, that you and your staff are willing to enter into the dialog required. You will find among this audience many people who are interested in your work, representatives of industry, of the trade unions, of non-governmental organizations, representatives of the body politic, the Federal Ministries and the media, members of the Diplomatic Corps. We all of us wish to contribute to developing a more equitable and more peaceful world. We are delighted to have the opportunity of having this discussion here today.

Mr. President, the floor is yours. Welcome.

The photo (page 4 ) in the print edition can not be presented in the online version.]

© Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | technical support | net edition fes-library | Mai 2000

Previous Page TOC Next Page