Swedish ECA under pressure to break ties with Belarus

(Intellinews, Berlin, 15 March 2021) International multinational firms including Swedish ECA EKN are coming under increased pressure to break business ties with Belarus as opposition leaders apply a "name and shame" campaign as part of their struggle to oust incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko. Belarus has been wracked by mass demonstrations since last year’s disputed August 9 presidential elections. German heavy engineering firm Siemens and Norwegian agricultural company Yara have found themselves in the firing line in recent months, as both have significant business with Belarus. The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB), which was set up as a joint venture between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus to invest into things like infrastructure, funded its credit line by raising financing from the German state-owned banks KfW IPEX Bank and Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen (Helaba), while the loan was insured by the state export credit agency of Sweden (EKN). Meanwhile, the Russian State Duma has ratified a protocol to amend the Belarusian-Russian intergovernmental agreement on state export credit to the Belarusian government to build a nuclear power plant.