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European Investment Bank (EIB)

With a lending portfolio of EUR 72 billion (2010) the European Investment Bank (EIB) is one of the world's biggest public lending institution – bigger even than the World Bank.

The EIB plays a crucial role in development finance – both within and outside the EU. But it frequently neglects environmental and social aspects in its investments, has a strong aversion to share information with the public and its staff is too small to monitor projects effectively.

Bankwatch is challenging the EIB to live up to its title “EU bank” and become a transparent and accountable institution – an institution that values real public benefits and positive environmental and social impacts as highly as lending volume and commercial viability.

Institutional background

As the financing institution of the European Union (EU), the EIB is an EU body and thus bound by EU policies and legislation. It provides loans to EU countries, about 140 partner countries and to private or public companies.

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EIB in practice: Negative impacts on climate and well-being

Although the EU's bank, the EIB is eminently failing to support EU policy goals of tackling climate change and supporting sustainable development. Its lending in the important energy and transport sectors and specifically its lending outside the EU often has clearly negative, sometimes devastating impacts on the environment and on the well-being of affected communities.

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EIB policy: Neglecting environmental and social standards

The EIB does not commit itself to a binding set of operational environmental and social policies. Time and again the EIB's billions have thus contributed to damaging impacts on people and their environment.

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A public bank? The EIB's lack of transparency and participation

Despite slow improvements, the EIB remains the least transparent major public international financial institution. It takes decisions mostly solitarily without inviting or allowing others to be involved – not even those directly affected by its lending.

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For more information contact our EIB campaign coordinator Anna Roggenbuck

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The Southern Gas Corridor, a system of mega-pipelines meant to bring gas from the Caspian region to Europe, is unnecessary in light of gas demand projections in the European Union's 2050 Energy Strategy. Neither will the project make European countries independent from Russian gas. At the same time, the USD 45 billion investments will boost Azerbaijan's dictatorial regime and cause damage to local communities and the environment in transit countries like Turkey and Italy.

Commercial banks
EBRD
EIB
ADB
Energy & climate
Social & economic impacts

Slovenia has built a new 600 MW unit at the Šoštanj lignite power plant (TEŠ6) which will replace the power plant’s existing units 1-4 when it goes into operation (expected in early 2016). TEŠ6 looks set to make millions of losses annually for the next few years at least.

EBRD
EIB
Energy & climate

Croatian plans to more than double the capacity of the Plomin coal power plant would have resulted in increased carbon-emissions for several decades. The project’s profitability was questionable and the plans were facing local opposition and conflicting regional legislation.

EBRD
EIB
Energy & climate

Tasked with stimulating the European economy, the new investment fund may just become an extention of the European Investment Bank’s normal lending with very limited additional (green) finance.

EU Funds
EIB
Energy & climate
Transport
Social & economic impacts

With the spotlight bright on Volkswagen for cheating in emission tests, the EU's house bank must now come forward and show exactly what it has done to ensure proper oversight over its loans to the company.

EIB
Transport

The vision of the European Commission's Energy Union proposes making Europe a world leader in renewables and energy efficiency, but at the same time emphasises investments undermining that goal, in particular massive gas infrastructure within Europe and to import gas from the Caspian region.

EU Funds
EIB

In its drive for 'energy security', the EU is looking to its eastern neighbour for cheap energy. But using a series of high-voltage transmission lines to import dirty energy supplies like nuclear and coal power from Ukraine will not make the EU safer, and it will lock both into an unstable and environmentally unsound energy mix.

EBRD
EIB
Energy & climate

Faced with an outdated energy system, the Polish government is determined to invest in climate damaging coal rather than focusing on renewable energy.

EIB
Energy & climate

The Bosnian section of the international Corridor Vc is planned to run for 330 km through Bosnia and Herzegovina. Concerns about environmental impacts and threats to cultural heritage were raised by local people and cultural figures. The public discussions about the project have led to a series of scandals and a deadlock of the motorway's development.

EBRD
EIB
Transport
Other harmful projects

The resettlement of about 170 predominantly Roma families that lived below the Gazela Bridge in Belgrade, Serbia is part of a wider project for the reconstruction of a bridge across the River Sava. Although the project is backed by European public money, donor requirements to follow World Bank Group resettlement standards have for a long time been ignored by Belgrade City Council.

EBRD
EIB
Social & economic impacts