The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) gives countries outside the EU the perspective and opportunity to move beyond cooperation to a significant degree of integration. But when it comes to the eastern European neighbourhood partner countries, the assumption that political and social rights will flow and develop as an automatic consequence of economic liberalisation, is only that - an assumption.
Authorities in Slovakia are planning to reallocate EU funds initially destined for the support of education, science, employment, regional development, the fight against social exclusion as well as rail development in favour of disputable construction of motorways. (Similar moves are also planned in Poland and the Czech Republic.)
26 Slovakian environmental and social NGOs have called on their government and EU institutions to put a stop to the reallocation. According to the groups, the reallocation is contradictory to both national legislation and EU funds decision-making rules.
A coalition of major Russian NGOs is urging President Barrosso to make sure that EU financing institutions halt their participation in toll motorway projects in Russia until there are serious improvements in the human rights and public participation situation associated with these projects.
The General Affairs Council on Monday, February 21 will draw conclusions on the 5th cohesion report. On this occasion, Bankwatch and Friends of the Earth Europe remind EU member states and ministers attending the council of the importance of implementing the recommendations in the European Commission's communication 'Regional policy contributing to sustainable growth in Europe 2020' (pdf).
Bankwatch's Serbian member group Center for Ecology and Sustainable Development (CEKOR) has worked together with three Serbian human rights organisations on a shadow report complementing the country's official statement to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Analysing the legal and factual status of Roma in Serbia, the shadow report draws heavily on examples from the Gazela bridge rehabilitation project in Belgrade.
The examination was initiated by a coalition of environmental NGOs and carried out by 18 experts in the field of environmental protection, environmental law, forestry, urban planning and transport development. It was handed over to Russian president Medvedev on February 1, 2011.
For several years now, Bankwatch has monitored EU budget support in east European Neighbourhood Partnership (ENP) countries. In our submission to the public consultation we reflect on how EU budget support can become more effective and efficient for countries within the ENP/ENPI framework.
Bankwatch's submission draws heavily on earlier comments (pdf) provided by Bankwatch and the Global Transparency Initiative during the 2007/2008 PIP review but also includes amendments from our experiences with the current policy's implementation. A particular cause for concern is the lack of transparency in case of global loans given to financial intermediaries.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is considering financing the Nabucco gas pipeline project. Should the IFC decide to finance the project, it risks repeating the serious economic, environmental, social and human rights mistakes associated with the Baku Tbilisi Ceyhan (BTC) and Chad-Cameroon pipeline projects and involving the World Bank Group in another highly problematic, politicized and economically and environmentally unsustainable project.
The European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development can play a crucial role in a transition of the Polish energy market towards energy efficient energy production based on renewable energies.
Bankwatch welcomes the European Commissions "A resource efficient Europe - flagship initiative of the Europe 2020 Strategy" as an effort to build a holistic approach to resource efficiency. This letter suggests further priority measures that should guide this initiative and proposes an integration of resource efficiency in different EU policies and actions.
While the EIB has repeatedly assured of its efforts to improve the project's planning and public consultation process, recent developments show that these efforts have not been successful. We believe the time has now come for the bank to clearly and publicly withdraw from the project.
While the EBRD has repeatedly expressed its concerns about the project development process for this project, it has so far refrained from making any final decisions on whether to finance the road or not. We believe the time has now come for the bank to clearly and publicly withdraw from the project.