European Investment Bank (EIB)
With a lending portfolio of over EUR 66 billion (in 2020) the European Investment Bank is one of the world’s biggest public lending institution. Together with the European Investment Fund they create the EIB Group. In 2020, 14% of the EIB’s financing was outside the EU.
In spite of its crucial role in development finance – both within and outside the European Union – the EIB frequently neglects environmental and social aspects in its investments and has a strong aversion to share information with the public. Its staff is by far too small to monitor projects effectively.
We believe that the billions of public money should work for people and the environment. Subscribe to our monthly newsletters to receive latest updates on the EIB and other public financial institutions.
Our critique of the EIB
The EIB Transparency Policy was last review in 2015. Despite the creation of a Public register of documents and the publication of the minutes of the EIB Board of Directors meetings, the transparency of EIB operations – especially its active dissemination of information – remains limited. This lack of progress on the transparency front is clearly visible in the Aid Transparency Index, currently the only independent measure of aid transparency for the world’s major development agencies, produced by Publish What You Fund. In 2020, the EIB scored “fair” (58/100 points).
The EIB still fails to comply with transparency requirements from its own Transparency Policy and the EU legislation on access to information. It also lags behind the transparency and disclosure practices of other multilateral financial institutions. EIB still fails to disclose all relevant project related documents or fails to disclose them in a timely manner.
Blog post | March 11, 2021
The right to information plays a crucial role in promoting participation and democratic accountability. It is an important tool to:
- better achieve lending goals,
- reduce corruption,
- identify potential social, environmental and economic benefits,
- avoid damaging communities and sensitive ecosystems.
We believe the EIB as an EU body, investing public money worldwide, needs to become truly transparent and accountable.
An adequate transparency for the EIB would include publishing all project related documents in a timely manner before project approval and taking stakeholders’ comments into account. Specifically the EIB should:
- improve its Public Register and list all documents held related to its environmental and social assessments, its due diligence, and monitoring of projects. Both those documents that are subject to active dissemination and those that are available upon request should be mentioned, in order to allow the public to access them.
- clarify disclosure obligations for itself and clients and to align it with the best practices of other multilateral financial institutions.
- publish Environmental and Social Data Sheets, ESIAs, and Human Rights Impact Assessments documents on its website prior to project approval by the Board, following the practice of the EBRD or IFC.
- publish other project-related documents such as Additionality and Impact Measurement, other environmental or social assessments, project monitoring reports, and project economic assessment on its website.
- publish allocation lists for each financial intermediary operation and relevant environmental information on final projects.
Transparency chapter of Can the EIB become the EU Development Bank?
With a virtual elimination of its coal lending in 2013, not least thanks to Bankwatch’s campaigning, the EIB made an important contribution to limit global warming. But the bank’s energy and climate lending still undermines Europe’s ability to meet its climate targets under the Paris Agreement.
Especially in the new EU Member States where the need for climate action money is highest, only a small percentage of EIB loans support projects intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), the guarantee mechanism rolled out by Commission President Juncker to attract private capital, failed to reach the 25 per cent climate action threshold set by the EIB. In 2016, 70 per cent of EFSI money for renewable energy projects went to a single country – Belgium – while 80 per cent of money for energy efficiency was earmarked for France, Finland and Germany.
How Europe’s bank spends cash for climate undermines Paris commitments
Press release | May 22, 2017
EIB has been involved in some of the most destructive large-scale projects funded by international financial institutions (IFIs) in recent years. The Mopani copper mine in Zambia, the Mombasa-Mariakani road project in Kenya, Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline, the Lesotho Highlands water project, the Nam Theun II dam and other highly contentious projects have all been made possible through the provision of EIB loans.
The impacts of EIB projects outside of Europe show time and again that the bank is not equipped to safeguard the most vulnerable and uphold human rights against corporate interests.
The European Investment Bank’s (EIB) role in supporting EU development policies is being increasingly discussed. Now that the EIB is planning to step up its development role and create a dedicated branch for this purpose, the European Sustainable Development Bank, an important question emerges: is the EIB fit for the task of becoming the “EU Development Bank”?
EIB PROJECTS WE MONITOR
Global demand for minerals and other critical raw materials is intensified by the just transition to renewable energy and the digital transformation agenda. Therefore sustainable supply chains of minerals are fundamental to addressing the climate crisis and the Covid-19 crisis that humanity is facing today. The European Union needs to innovate and find solutions to achieve its circular economy and resource use reduction objectives and to meet the demand of EU’s industry and consumers, while still protecting communities and nature threatened by mining.
The planned Belgrade waste incinerator, financed by the EBRD, IFC and Austrian Development Bank (OeEB), is incompatible with waste prevention and recycling targets. The European Commission and EIB recognised this, and the EIB therefore refused to finance it. The project also endangers the already precarious livelihoods of up to 12,000 people waste-picking in the city.
The European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development are both reviewing their energy sector lending policies. This is an opportunity to live up to their potential by combating climate change and promoting a sustainable future for all.
‘Highway of Destruction’ raises questions about effective and safe access to remedy and poor human rights safeguards at the EIBPublication | 13 July, 2021
This briefing summarises the information from the report Highway of Destruction, the result of research commissioned by CEE Bankwatch Network member group Polish Green Network and carried out by Kenyan researcher Naomi Barasa in July 2020. The study is
Blog entry | 5 July, 2021
In a series of video tutorials, we demonstrate tools civil society organisations and activists from Uzbekistan can use to have a say about projects supported by development banks that may affect their communities and the environment.
Publication | 24 June, 2021
This joint advocacy letter, endorsed by 35 environmental CSOs, urge the European Investment Bank (EIB) to ensure a meaningful public consultation process during the ongoing Bank’s Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework review. We call on Ban