A decision to suspend Azerbaijan’s membership in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) adopted yesterday (Mar 9) is the latest reminder for international financial institutes to avoid supporting the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) project.
Ministers, ambassadors and envoys from at least 15 countries, including Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission’s Vice President for the Energy Union, are gathered today in the Azerbaijani capital to discuss the progress on the Southern Gas Corridor, the largest energy project the EU is currently pursuing.
But over the past couple of months, it seems the European Commission’s justifications for this controversial undertaking have been crumbling by the day.
Yesterday, the World Bank’s board of directors approved two USD 400 million loans, to Azerbaijan and to Turkey, to develop the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), the centrepiece of the Southern Gas Corridor project. CEE Bankwatch Network and Counter Balance are deeply concerned that the decision to channel such large amounts of money to Europe’s biggest fossil fuels project could exacerbate the already dismal human rights situation in both Azerbaijan and Turkey, and undermine the global efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
Ahead of an expected loan decision by the Asian Development Bank for the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan, non-governmental organisations raised concerns over the human rights situation in the country as well as in Turkey, to where the gas from Shah Deniz will be transported via the Southern Gas Corridor.
This report analyses how and if the European Investment Bank (EIB) is fulfilling its development role under the so-called External Lending Mandate (ELM) for the period 2014-2020. It sheds light on the more questionable quality and effectiveness of EIB operations and on the neglected areas of the bank’s performance outside Europe, such as transparency and access to information practices, its attitude towardstax evasion and tax dodging, human rights due diligence.
The EIB is increasingly given a prominent role in the EU’s response to the so-called refugee crisis stretching the bank’s operations well beyond its current mandate for overseas investments. Yet, a new report by Counter Balance and CEE Bankwatch Network takes a closer look at projects the EU’s house bank has been financing outside Europe to find a dismal track record on a range of issues from transparency to human rights. This, the report authors say, should serve as a warning sign for the European Parliament and Council as they consider boosting the bank’s mandate.
The European Investment Bank’s failure in safeguarding the most vulnerable groups in its projects shows it is ill-equipped to help refugees and host communities in the European Union’s neighbourhood. A new report explains the bank’s weaknesses in identifying and responding to human rights risks.