This report published by Bankwatch and Friends of the Earth Europe shows how bad spending plans and a lack of climate commitments from nine central and eastern European governments is hampering Europe’s transition away from fossil fuels.
The research reveals that in CEE countries only 7 per cent of the 178 billion euros in European Regional Development and Cohesion Funds will be invested into renewables, energy efficiency and smart grids, and that the integration of climate considerations into all plans and projects – as required under EU law – remains superficial.
Following the revelations around Volkswagen cheating emission tests, Bankwatch requested information from the European Investment Bank about its loans to the car maker. After delays, incomplete disclosure, and a frist confirmatory application, the bank released on December 18, 2015 redacted finance contracts between the EIB and VW as well as redacted completion reports provided by VW to the EIB at the closure of each project. (See all documents here.)
The Ukrainian government continues to disregard the legal conditions attached to the financial support it receives from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Euratom for its nuclear safety upgrade program.
The latest blow to the highly controversial 68 megawatt Boškov Most hydropower plant, that has attracted EUR 65 million in financing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), was dealt in early December by the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention, the European wildlife treaty.
An ageing nuclear unit in the South Ukraine power plant has become the latest to have its expiry date rewritten by Ukrainian authorities, despite a number of pending safety issues and concerns over compliance with international treaties.
A new Bankwatch report has found that loans totalling EUR 818 million from international public ‘development’ banks have supported 75 hydropower projects in the Balkans, including 30 which directly affect protected areas such as national parks, Natura 2000 sites and Ramsar sites.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the China-led financial institution, has emerged as a multilateral development bank with the backing of 57 members in record time. Jin Liqun, president designate of the new financial institution set up to provide financing for infrastructure projects in south east Asia and countries along the Silk Road route in South Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the periphery of Europe, has declared that the AIIB will be a ‘lean, clean, and green’ institution which upholds the highest standards of 21st century governance. Early doubts, though, hang over these aspirations.
No matter how you look at it, the so-called sustainable energy approach being taken – and loudly trumpeted – by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is simply at odds with both climate science and the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In the run-up to, during and now, with a global deal reached, after the Paris climate summit, the world’s largest public lender, the European Investment Bank (EIB), is positioning itself as a climate pioneer. But is the bank really fit for this role? Can the EIB make a break from its history of financing fossil fuels and polluting forms of transportation after decades of cosy relations with the biggest culprits?
The MDB Climate Change Scorecard, published by Bank Information Center and Sierra Club during COP21, highlights how none of the world’s biggest multi-lateral development banks is on track to help keep the world below 2 degrees warming, and reveals how the seven banks in question – including the World Bank, the EIB and the EBRD – are continuing to support fossil fuel projects in developing countries.
Bankwatch has been taking a look at EU financing for the energy sector in 16 European Neighbourhood countries between 2007 and 2014. Alarmingly, our research has uncovered that out of at least EUR 9 billion provided by the EU to energy projects in the ENP region during the period under assessment, more than EUR 4.2 billion in financing went to hydrocarbons in contrast to the EUR 1.5 billion awarded to low carbon sources of energy and energy efficiency projects.
A closer look at Europe’s recent investments in Ukraine’s agriculture sector shows that the failure to apply high transparency standards and social safeguards poses not only business risks but also undermines Ukraine’s democratisation process.
A barely eight kilometre long section of an express road in central Poland is becoming another battlefield in the long-running conflict between Polish road authorities on one side and European biodiversity protection laws, and environmental NGOs trying to uphold them, on the other. Except this time, it’s not just about the law – it’s also about the money.