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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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Slovenia plans to build a new 600 MW unit for the Šoštanj lignite power plant (TEŠ6) which would replace the power plant’s existing units 1-4 and possibly 5. Its promoters argue with increased efficiency, but in fact, this one lignite power plant alone will swallow up almost the country's entire carbon budget by 2050.

EBRD
EIB
Energy & climate

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

EBRD
EIB
Energy & climate

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 Nabucco pipeline project is based on the idea to bring Caspian or Middle Eastern gas through Turkey to the EU. Its planned route is 3300 kilometres long with an estimated construction cost of almost EUR 8 billion.

EBRD
EIB
World Bank Group
Energy & climate
Social & economic impacts
Other harmful projects

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 43-km section of the Moscow - St. Petersburg motorway near Moscow has triggered massive opposition in Russia and abroad. The section is slated to pass through Khimki Forest Park, a protected natural area with rich wildlife and of great importance to local people living in this polluted and densely populated region.

EBRD
EIB
Transport

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

In order to improve the efficiency and safety of rail operations within the city of Tbilisi the EBRD together with the EIB is considering a loan of over EUR 290 million for the Tbilisi Railway Bypass Project. The main goal of the project to avoid the transit of hazardous freight (such as oil and oil products) through the middle of the city, but there are several deep concerns that undermine the project goals and cause a serious threat to Tbilisi’s population.

EBRD
EIB
Transport
Social & economic impacts

ArcelorMittal is the largest steel company in the world, producing approximately 8 per cent of the world’s steel output. But the cost of its success has largely been paid by the people living and working near the company’s plants, because of the ArcelorMittal's frequent disregard for the environment and fair labour practices.

EBRD
EIB
Energy & climate
Social & economic impacts
Other harmful projects