There is more or less consensus among various stakeholders that developing decentralised renewable energy sources (RES) to feed local energy demand is the only way to build a long-term, truly sustainable, effective and fair way to satisfy Europe’s energy needs.
It is coming up for three years since the EBRD's 2009 Annual Evaluation Overview Report “alerted Management to develop a new Operation Policy to cover all forms of non-energy related extraction of natural resources (mining policy)”. The EBRD does not appear to have been in any great rush with the preparation of this policy, and one has to wonder how long the bank will allow for the new policy to be consulted with the interested public. More importantly, how influential will public input be in setting the policy objectives and requirements?
For a bank tasked to contribute to the 'balanced and steady' development of the internal market in the interest of the EU, the EIB's figures for its financing operations in 2011 (released last month at its annual press conference) induced a certain amount of head-scratching here at Bankwatch Mail.
The 'Counter Balance: Challenging the EIB' coalition has written to Werner Hoyer, the new president of the EIB, welcoming him to his new post. Hoyer, formerly state secretary in Germany's foreign office and a member of the Free Democrats, the junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel's government, becomes the EIB's seventh president, succeeding Philippe Maystadt.
'Carbon Rising', a new study from Bankwatch, catalogues the EIB's energy lending for the period 2007-2010 during which time the bank loaned EUR 40 billion to energy projects across the EU and EUR 8 billion outside the EU. This lending was guided by the EIB’s first energy policy 'Clean Energy for Europe: A Reinforced EIB Contribution', adopted by the bank in 2007.
Bankwatch Mail invited two specialists, Matt Bull of the World Bank's Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility and David Price of the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Queen Mary, University of London, to debate the issue of PPPs in the developing world.
An independent Egyptian human rights organisation, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), published in early March a scathing assessment of the EBRD's plans for its future investment activities in Egypt. Based on an EBRD Technical Assessment document, EIPR takes issue with the EBRD analysis on three main counts:
As the Polish Presidency ended at the turn of the year and the last formal meetings were over, the Polish government decided it was time to speak out more openly about its own position concerning the future of Cohesion Policy, as it was no longer obliged to remain neutral in the negotiations. This EU budget item had been the priority for the Presidency, as Poland is hoping to receive as much as EUR 80 billion in the forthcoming 2014-2020 period.
Encouraging developments related to the deployment of EU funds in Latvia for improving household energy efficiency have reached Bankwatch Mail from Latvian Green Movement, our member group based in Riga.
The European Commission is considering financial support for three new major municipal waste incinerator projects in the Czech Republic. The total cost for these projects is EUR 520 million and the projects have also requested a subsidy from the current Operational Programme for Environment (OPE) totalling EUR 184 million.
Poland is on course to place further large roadblocks in the way of the European Commission's Roadmap 2050 towards a low-carbon economy unless certain demands being insisted on by Warsaw are met. These include the granting of free allowances for all 16 power plants that Poland has asked to be supported under the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme.
Fresh controversy hit the proposed 600 MW lignite power plant at Šoštanj in Slovenia in late February when the Slovenian State Commission for the Prevention of Corruption issued a report in which it says corruption conditions existed at the time of the awarding of the construction contract to French company Alstom and continue to exist today. The Commission report also states that Slovenian lobbying legislation has been breached by the goings-on at Šoštanj.
The Vreoci community from the Kolubara mining basin requests from the EBRD to suspend the loan arrangements for the Kolubara lignite mine due to the constant and increasing violations of human and property rights by the Public Company Mining Basin "Kolubara" - Lazarevac.
With this letter, Bankwatch, together with Focus, Association for Sustainable Development and Greenpeace Slovenia are informing the EIB's and EBRD's highest decision-making bodies about recent developments in the case of the Sostanj lignite power plant that in our view should prompt the banks to drop their participation in this investment.
The EBRD's president Thomas Mirow replied on April 16, 2012 (download his response (pdf)) informing us about the suspension of the EBRD's loan for the Sostanj project. Just one day later, another letter from the EBRD (download as pdf) informed us that the suspension is not a formal suspension.