Bankwatch’s competition devoted to showcasing ideas for EU funds investments that can generate sustainable development for European communities has proved to be a big success – and it should offer inspiration to EU and national level decision-makers as the task of setting operational programmes, the blueprints for how to spend the EUR 960 billion pot for the 2014-2020 budgetary period, now gets underway.
Kosovo has just celebrated the fifth anniversary of independence. In these five years, Kosovo has achieved membership of certain international financial institutions (IFIs): having already joined the IMF and the World Bank, on December 17 last year Kosovo became the 66th member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Yet what can Kosovo’s citizens expect from EBRD membership?
In a landmark ruling in late February, the Kyrgyz parliament voted to renegotiate a contract signed in 2009 with the Canadian mining firm Centerra Gold Inc. for the exploitation of the Kumtor gold mine, near the border with China. The 2009 deal is the most recent form of the contract between the Kyrgyz state and Centerra that has had a presence in the central Asian republic since the late nineties.
The public consultation on the EIB’s review of its energy policy is well underway now, with the bank’s intention being to have the new policy in place sometime this summer. While not part of the review process as such, following an official request for information Bankwatch has received comments submitted by the Directorate-General for Environment of the European Commission to the EIB as part of ongoing exchanges between the bank and the Commission.
The industry frenzy surrounding the development of shale gas in Europe is gathering pace, with the announcement in late January of a EUR 400 million deal between Shell and Ukraine to develop the country’s shale gas potential.
Kurt Bayer, until recently Austria’s executive director at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, has for several years maintained an interesting blog covering issues such as the Eurozone crisis and development finance more generally. Following his departure from the EBRD, might we start seeing a few more revealing insights from Mr Bayer about life – and some of its frustrations – at 1 Exchange Square, London?
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) are public development banks, which should lend money only for environmentally sustainable projects. Yet in reality, while both banks are increasing their investments into energy efficiency and renewable energy, they are undermining this by financing coal and other fossil fuels. Since both banks are adopting new energy policies in 2013 now is the time to act.
The key objective of the European Commission's proposal on the Multi-annual Financial Framework was to get an EU budget that is more policy-driven, fit for the challenges of the 21st century and supporting a green transition in order to assist the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy. In contrast the European Council deal mainly focuses on vested national interests and net contributions, failing to agree on a forward looking budget able to tackle European challenges and consistent with EU environmental targets by 2020.
This publication, prepared in close cooperation with national NGO coalitions and the support from external experts, aims to contribute to the elaboration of Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes by proposing concrete measures to be financed, targets to be set, performance indicators to be applied and investment needs to be met - all with a focus on a policy that can foster sustainable development and catalyse the transformation to a low energy-consuming, renewable-based and resource efficient society.
The letter, signed by 39 organisations, outlines ongoing concerns about the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia, which is currently under consideration for financing by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The project, one of the largest and most complex infrastructure investments proposed by the EBRD, poses a significant environmental and social risk to the local communities, as well as to the country at large.
In 2012, Bankwatch organised a series of contests among citizens in the region to propose sustainable project ideas. This paper is a summary of recommendations based on the numerous proposals we received. The recommendations aim to improve the involvement of citizens in the process of planning and programming of the next EU budget, and for the sustainable development of European regions.
Environmental NGOs are alarmed that a new own initiative report on Cohesion Policy and energy might be considered sufficient by some REGI MEPs to consider that the rejection of fossil fuels subsidies in ERDF is put into question – overruling the clear REGI mandate voted in July 2012. To ensure consistency, the REI MEPs should maintain the REGI mandate as it is and oppose any fossil fuel subsidies in ERDF.
Environmental NGOs emphasise that, with very long lifetimes for transport infrastructure, today’s decisions on EU transport spending will set the path for transport beyond 2050 and into the next century. Yet, in light of the EU budget negotiations, there will not be enough funding for all the projects in the Connecting Europe Facility annex or the TEN-T maps to get off the ground. This briefing therefore focuses on how to make the most of the limited funds available, and to avoid the major cost-overruns and delays that have plagued TEN-T policy to date.
Quote from the WWF comments: "The EIB’s objective should support the EU’s 2050 decarbonisation goal. An EIB substantively revised energy lending policy should precludes investment in assets that lock‐in high carbon emissions and instead focuses on delivering a European zero‐emission energy system by 2050."