Between 2007-2014, Ukraine received from EU public institutions over EUR 2.5 billion for 56 projects in the country’s energy sector. This is the highest amount of support for the energy sector among all countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy, both by volume and number of investments. Only 15 per cent of that support went to combating inefficient energy use or to developing local sustainable energy sources. The focus of EU financial support has remained on ‘traditional’ sources of energy.
In late September, shortly after news of VW's emissions manipulation broke, CEE Bankwatch Network contacted the European Investment Bank (EIB) with a detailed request to disclose information about its immense support to VW Group. In view of the profound public interest in the case, the highly insufficient responses we have received so far are particularly disconcerting. In this letter, Bankwatch therefore asks the EIB's board of directors to turn to the bank's Management Committee for the public disclosure of information related to EIB loans for the Volkswagen Group.
The dieselgate scandal is symptomatic of a ‘better regulation’ agenda in favour of cutting compliance costs and replacing the role of the public regulator with corporate co- and self-regulation. More than 35 civil society organisations have signed this letter calling for immediate and transparent investigations; EU oversight in the process of type approval for motor vehicles; strengthened enforcement of environmental legislation at EU and Member State level; the suspension of fraudulent companies from the EU lobby register until it has been demonstrated that they comply with EU law.
In spite of positive elements the EBRD's Draft Strategy for the Promotion of Gender Equality is unclear or appears to lack consistency in some parts. More importantly, the EBRD's failure to take a rights-based approach to gender equality has resulted in a limited vision of gender equality of economic opportunity “as a key tool” for promoting efficient market transition. By making the business case for gender equality this approach may ensure stronger ownership of the Strategy by the bank, but it is a missed opportunity for aligning the Strategy with the bank's unique Sustainable Development mandate. Without a persuasive presentation of the EBRD's strategic approach to safeguarding gender rights, the draft of the Strategy lacks justification for choosing to promote women while refusing to protect them.
The Tsumeb smelter in Namibia belongs to Dundee Precious Metals, a Canadian company that operates and develops gold, copper and silver mines in Bulgaria, Armenia and Serbia. Investigating complaints about local pollution, Bankwatch member group Za Zemiata (BG) repeatedly requested access to environmental information from the Namibian government - to no avail.
These comments on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the Nenskra hydropower plant in Georgia concludes that the quality of the submitted report is extremely poor. The report as well as the public hearings organised during its preparation do not comply with Georgian legislation or with the requirements of International Financial Institutions.
Following revelations about Volkswagen cheating in emissions tests and about the European Investment Bank's substantial support for VW - including loans for research and development of cleaner engines, Bankwatch requested information on EIB loans to the car maker.
This study shows how the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has failed to enforce several of its basic principles on involuntary resettlement in the Kolubara Mining Basin, one of the largest sources of lignite in Europe, where mining has continued for over fifty years.
Given Ukraine's abundant land resources and food production potential, modernisation of agriculture is necessary and industrialisation is inevitable. Yet, an investigation into the Vinnytsia poultry complex shows the negative side effects of large-scale industrialisation of meat production and sounds the alarm about the risks that agroholdings pose to communities.
The analysis, by Friends of the Earth France and Croatia, Zelena Istra, CEE Bankwatch Network and BankTrack, screens the risks of the 500 megawatt Plomin C coal power plant project proposed for development in the picturesque Istrian peninsula in Croatia, a popular international tourist destination. It concludes that French bank Crédit Agricole's support for the project is inconsistent with the bank's climate ambitions and its own sector policy on coal-fired power plants. according to a new study released today.
The European Investment Bank's draft Climate Strategy, although it presents a few interesting technical opportunities, does not constitute a fully-fledged strategy: it lacks strong and measurable objectives, relevant action plans and clear implementation timelines to support those objectives. Bankwatch, urgewald, Counter Balance and WWF Europe therefore ask the EIB to make substantial amendments to the draft in the following three areas: energy efficiency, the cimate action target and the emissions performance standard.
On several occasions the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development stated that operations of its clients should comply with all international treaties and other legal obligations. In spite of these reassurances, Energoatom in Ukraine keeps ignoring its international obligations, as outlined in the Espoo Convention, in the processes of assessing the life-time extension of its nuclear reactors.
In this letter, Bankwatch asks the European Commission to reconsider the disbursement of the Euratom and EBRD loans for the Ukraine nuclear safety upgrade programme that effectively enables the lifetime extensions at Ukraine's nuclear reactors. The letter provides evidence for the intertwined character of the upgrade programme and the lifetime extensions and for Ukraine's refusal to meet its obligations under international conventions.
The European Commission stated in an earlier letter that any decision by Ukraine to extend the life-span of any of its nuclear power plants will require assessment under the Aarhus and Espoo Conventions. In this letter, Bankwatch offers evidence for how Ukraine is indeed extending the lifetimes of its nuclear reactors but not meeting its obligations under the conventions.