The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development’s board on October 18 approved $500 million in funding for the Azerbaijan-led TANAP pipeline, which will facilitate the delivery of Caspian Basin natural gas to Western Europe. The decision prompted swift criticism from watchdog groups, which accused the bank of disrespecting the “fundamental principles of multiparty democracy [and] the rule of law.”
The bank confirmed in a press statement that the allocation of $500 million would be made from its own funds, but made no mention of a syndicated loan of up to $1 billion that the bank had been expected to arrange. The decision comes despite concerns over Azerbaijan’s suitability for support following the country’s decision early this year to drop out of an international oil-and-gas monitoring agreement, as well as new allegations of high-level corruption.
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