With a lending portfolio of over EUR 70 billion the European Investment Bank is one of the world’s biggest public lending institution – bigger even than the World Bank.
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 challenge the EIB to live up to its title “EU bank” and become a transparent and accountable institution that values real benefits for people and the environment as highly as lending volume.
EIB PROJECTS WE MONITOR
This system of mega-pipelines meant to bring gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, is unnecessary for Europe’s declining gas demand. But the billions in public investments will boost Azerbaijan’s dictatorial regime and cause upheaval for transit communities in Turkey, Greece, Albania and Italy.
The Nenskra dam is the most advanced of Georgia’s massive plans for hydropower installations in the Upper Svaneti region. It will deprive the local community of ethnic Svans of lands and livelihoods, but potential negative impacts have not been properly assessed.
Blog entry | 12 October, 2017
In an interview, a teacher from Chuberi in the Svaneti mountains gave us an impression of how the project developers of the planned Nenskra dam engage with locals.
Blog entry | 28 September, 2017
European public banks who have repeatedly voiced their commitment to tackling the climate crisis and ‘greening’ their investment portfolios continue to dole out cash for fossil fuels extraction, distribution and consumption.
Our critique of the EIB
For decades the EIB has remained a closed and non-transparent institution, responding mainly to its clients, avoiding transparent and participatory decision-making and disregarding the views of those impacted by its actions.
In March 2016, the EIB adopted a new transparency policy that further weakened the bank’s transparency standards. It now can keep secret internal investigations into irregularities such as corruption and maladministration.
EIB’s new transparency policy allows for more secrecy
Press release | March 11, 2017
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 and taking stakeholders’ comments into account. It also would require the EIB to explain the reasons for supporting a particular project and how such support is related to its mission and to the goals of the European Union.
A model transparency policy for the EIB (pdf)
Designed in 2009 by Bankwatch and Client Earth.
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.