The new draft financial sector strategy of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is of even greater importance during this difficult financial period, but it leaves a number of concerns and open questions unanswered which Bankwatch raises in this document, among others regarding foreign currency lending and lending through financial intermediaries, transition and the role of private equity, gender impacts, tax havens, etc.
Bankwatch is concerned about a lack of opportunities for public engagement in the process of redefining transition and transition impact at the EBRD. We therefore ask how the bank is planning to proceed with following up on a report prepared for the EBRD on Transition and Transition Impact (pdf) and what opportunities are planned for public consultation on the transition concept.
On the morning of July 22, members of civil society were attacked by scores of unidentified assailants. The police, called to the scene by the protestors, chose not to interfere. Reports from the ground indicate that clashes continued before the passively observing police eventually arrested local activists.
The report confirms Bankwatchs allegations that EIB did not pay sufficient attention during the project assessment: the severe social impact of the project should have led the EIBs competent services to exercise a cautious and targeted social assessment with a view to pro-actively identifying (and therefore promptly addressing) the major social concerns during the appraisal of the projects, while EIB documents do not contain any documental evidence of an appropriate identification of the social issues at stake.
The protest letter, sent by the Regional Centre for Minorities and Bankwatch member group Center for Ecology and Sustainable Development (CEKOR), describes recent incidents of threats and assault on families to be resettled to allow for a road construction. Belgrade authorities have apparently not improved their approach following the poor Gazela resettlement process. The letter calls upon the EIB to demand proper resettlement preparation and planning, including the participation of affected families.
As Europe is greening its economy and gearing up to decarbonise by 2050, most south-east European (SEE) countries still view energy efficiency and renewable energy as greens on the side of their main dish. Coal power and large hydropower are still the favourites on the menu, as they depend on indigenous resources and keep energy import dependency lower.
The EIBs transport policy is particularly important considering the importance of transport investments in the EIB's portfolio, as well as the transport sectors rising CO2 emissions in the EU. Bankwatch's comments argue for a clear policy orientation towards greenhouse gas reduction in the bank's transport lending and contrasts the EIB's current EIB lending figures with its own claims of emphasising climate considerations.
Bankwatch's comments on the European Commission's DG Energy's document "Towards a new energy strategy for Europe (TESE)" discusses the priorities for EU public financing we believe should be incorporated into a new energy strategy.
Bankwatch coordinators in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Poland have interviewed energy and financial experts from national ministries and other institutions. This paper is a summary of their findings.