Every five years, the European Bank for Restructuring and Development (EBRD) publishes an assessment of the legislative frameworks that regulate public-private partnerships (PPPs) and concessions in the countries where it operates.
In 2017 and 2018, a cross-border CMS team assisted the EBRD by leading the latest assessment of current PPP legislation, institutional frameworks and PPP-friendliness of the business environment. The result is in a report with recommendations for policymakers.
The assessment revealed that the EBRD region continues to see an increased demand for infrastructure, not least in those countries with scarce financial resources where competition for funds and expertise is acute. Attracting private sector resources, such as management, know-how and finance, helps overcome the restraints of public budgeting for the building and maintenance of significant infrastructure projects.
PPP structures, despite falling out of favour politically in some markets, are among the most common instruments for developing infrastructure using private sector expertise and finance in the EBRD region. Legal frameworks must therefore adapt to reflect a wider range of PPP structures, with concessions remaining a key focus area.
CMS Vienna partner Thomas Hamerl, who led the assessment, commented, “The EBRD is active in around 40 jurisdictions, from the southern Mediterranean through CEE to central Asia, and CMS has offices in over half of them. So the project, which lasted for more than a year, was a great fit for our teams across the region. In addition to legal expertise, it required project management skills and sensitivity to national differences.
“One of the key findings ofour assessment was that most countries are relatively sophisticated in terms of their existing PPP legislation and that the focus should now turn to more practical considerations such as better preparation and implementation (including feasibility, affordability and bankability assessments) of infrastructure projects. This is confirmed by recent publications of UNCITRAL, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank.”
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