European Investment Bank (EIB)
With a lending portfolio of over EUR 70 billion the European Investment Bank is one of the world’s biggest public lending institution – bigger even than the World Bank.
In spite of its crucial role in development finance – both within and outside the European Union – the EIB frequently neglects environmental and social aspects in its investments and has a strong aversion to share information with the public. Its staff is by far too small to monitor projects effectively.
We believe that the billions of public money should work for people and the environment. Subscribe to our monthly newsletters to receive latest updates on the EIB and other public financial institutions.
EIB PROJECTS WE MONITOR
The planned Belgrade waste incinerator, being considered for financing by the EBRD, EIB and IFC, is incompatible with waste prevention and recycling targets and endangers the already precarious livelihoods of the 12,000 people waste-picking in the city. The project’s environmental and social impact assessment fails to resolve numerous issues.
The European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development are both reviewing their energy sector lending policies. This is an opportunity to live up to their potential by combating climate change and promoting a sustainable future for all.
International commercial and public banks have been bankrolling a wave of hydropower projects across Southeast Europe that have damaged pristine rivers, including in protected areas. These financiers need to take their share of the responsibility and stop financing projects in sensitive areas.
Blog entry | 27 March, 2019
As the European Investment Bank (EIB) is nowadays preparing a new Energy Lending Policy to guide its investment in energy projects, it seems the world’s largest public lender is not willing to acknowledge its contribution to climate change, the biggest crisis currently facing humanity.
Blog entry | 26 March, 2019
BankTrack’s study finds that client confidentiality is not an absolute legal requirement in any of the world’s major banking centres. Banks can – and do – include the right to disclose information into their contracts. Will the EIB & EBRD acknowledge this in their policies on intermediated lending?
Blog entry | 7 March, 2019
Long overdue, and short on content, a compact version of the investigation report on the role of EIB money in the Dieselgate scandal affirms Bankwatch’s revelations that helped trigger this important inquiry. But in its aftermath, there is little to suggest that the EU’s bank has done anything to ensure that the public money it manages will not be misused.
This year the European Investment Bank is expected to review its 2013 ‘Screening and Assessment Criteria for Energy Projects’, also known as its Energy Lending Criteria, which governs the types of projects the bank can finance in the energy sector.
Our critique of the EIB
For decades the EIB has remained a closed and non-transparent institution, responding mainly to its clients, avoiding transparent and participatory decision-making and disregarding the views of those impacted by its actions.
In March 2016, the EIB adopted a new transparency policy that further weakened the bank’s transparency standards. It now can keep secret internal investigations into irregularities such as corruption and maladministration.
EIB’s new transparency policy allows for more secrecy
Press release | March 11, 2017
The right to information plays a crucial role in promoting participation and democratic accountability. It is an important tool to:
- better achieve lending goals,
- reduce corruption,
- identify potential social, environmental and economic benefits,
- avoid damaging communities and sensitive ecosystems.
We believe the EIB as an EU body, investing public money worldwide, needs to become truly transparent and accountable.
An adequate transparency for the EIB would include publishing all project related documents and taking stakeholders’ comments into account. It also would require the EIB to explain the reasons for supporting a particular project and how such support is related to its mission and to the goals of the European Union.
A model transparency policy for the EIB (pdf)
Designed in 2009 by Bankwatch and Client Earth.
With a virtual elimination of its coal lending in 2013, not least thanks to Bankwatch’s campaigning, the EIB made an important contribution to limit global warming. But the bank’s energy and climate lending still undermines Europe’s ability to meet its climate targets under the Paris Agreement.
Especially in the new EU Member States where the need for climate action money is highest, only a small percentage of EIB loans support projects intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), the guarantee mechanism rolled out by Commission President Juncker to attract private capital, failed to reach the 25 per cent climate action threshold set by the EIB. In 2016, 70 per cent of EFSI money for renewable energy projects went to a single country – Belgium – while 80 per cent of money for energy efficiency was earmarked for France, Finland and Germany.
How Europe’s bank spends cash for climate undermines Paris commitments
Press release | May 22, 2017
EIB has been involved in some of the most destructive large-scale projects funded by international financial institutions (IFIs) in recent years. The Mopani copper mine in Zambia, the Mombasa-Mariakani road project in Kenya, Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline, the Lesotho Highlands water project, the Nam Theun II dam and other highly contentious projects have all been made possible through the provision of EIB loans.
The impacts of EIB projects outside of Europe show time and again that the bank is not equipped to safeguard the most vulnerable and uphold human rights against corporate interests.