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Bankwatch Mail

Bankwatch Mail is our printed newsletter, published four times a year and coinciding with important events in the international financial institutions we monitor.

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Bankwatch Mail | December 17, 2015

Published after the conclusion of the UN climate negotiations in Paris, Issue 63 of Bankwatch Mail presents ample evidence of how the EBRD and the EIB continue to be firmly tied to fossil fuel financing, in spite of increasing pressure to do more to end support for carbon-intensive sources of energy.

And even when multilateral development banks say they’re doing ‘clean energy’ some of the effects are proving to be catastrophic – as the impacts of IFI-backed hydropower projects across the Balkans show.

We also take a look at the new kid on the IFI block, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and consider among other things how its ambition to be ‘lean, clean, and green’ sits with apparent plans for the new bank to help fire up a lot of coal power plants across Asia.

Bankwatch Mail | May 14, 2015

Published on the heels of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's annual meeting in Tbilisi, the red thread of Issue 62 of Bankwatch Mail is a slew of energy projects with grim implications for people and planet - from the crackdown on dissent in Azerbaijan to the destruction of a national park in Macedonia to a (partial) success for nuclear safety in Ukraine.


Bankwatch Mail | December 2, 2014

The European Investment Bank has been at the heart of the EU's Project Bonds Initiative – its inception and its so far troubled pilot phase. Bankwatch Mail 61 examines the infrastructure challenges facing us in Europe and beyond, questions whether mechanisms such as the European project bonds are an appropriate way to tap into money in financial markets, and provides an overview of the newly launched Juncker investment package, featuring another pivotal role for the EIB in the latest high-level effort to kick-start the European economy.

Bankwatch Mail | August 8, 2014

In Bankwatch Mail 60 we take a look at how the new Member States spending plans for EU funds are shaping up. Besides some signs of hope, we find still a notable lack of long-term sustainable strategies of central and eastern European countries.

And while former British prime minister Tony Blair's new advisory role for a consortium led by oil and gas giant BP is drawing criticism, the European Investment Bank has a real chance to champion EU climate policy - if it follows a few sensible suggestions.

Bankwatch Mail | May 13, 2014

Coinciding with the annual meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, this issue examines how some of the EBRD's transition recipes turned out almost 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In addition, controversies with current projects and recent policy revisions provide a rather grim outlook for what further transition will bring for old and new countries of operation of the EBRD.

Bankwatch Mail | March 20, 2014

Issue 58 of Bankwatch Mail, published as stakeholders meet in the European Parliament to discuss the future of the 'Energy Community'. Comprising the countries of the western Balkans, Moldova and Ukraine, the Energy Community aims primarily to extend EU internal energy policy to south east Europe and the Black Sea region. Its modus operandi and achievements are now being evaluated at high level, which - as this issue shows - is undoubtedly necessary given the stunning number of highly questionable coal and lignite fired power plants that are proceeding in various Energy Community members.

Bankwatch Mail | November 11, 2013

Coinciding with the beginning of international climate negotiations at the COP19/CMP9 in Warsaw and with many observers already questioning the Polish government's ambitions for the summit, Issue 57 of Bankwatch Mail introduces the country also known as Coal-land and finds (among many other things) people protesting (successfully) against the pervasive smell of coal in the air.

Bankwatch Mail | May 10, 2013

Published to coincide with the EBRD’s annual meeting 2013 being held in Istanbul, this issue examines a developing controversial project in the bank’s newest region: a refinery expansion project in Cairo. Other fossil fuel investments by the EBRD also feature in the newsletter - and as the bank goes into major ‘policy review’ mode, with revisions to its energy, environmental and social and public information policies in the pipeline for this year, we put forward the case for the EBRD to rise to the climate challenge with real action rather than words. As the bank’s newly signed Kosovo country strategy demonstrates, however, the bank isn't on course yet.

Bankwatch Mail | March 7, 2013

On the occasion of the Climate Parliament meeting in the European Parliament and with both the EBRD and EIB currently undertaking reviews of their respective energy policies, this issue of Bankwatch Mail takes another close look at the banks' energy lending, including nuclear and shale gas in Ukraine, coal in Kosovo, the European Commission's thoughts on the EIB's energy lending. It also showcases a range of bright ideas from the winners of our EU funds competition, aimed at stimulating new thinking on how future EU budget spending can practically assist local communities and the environment, and more...

Bankwatch Mail | December 14, 2012

In the ‘aftergloom’ of two major inter-governmental get-togethers - the latest UN climate talks in Doha and the EU budget summit in Brussels - Bankwatch Mail 54 discusses the revision of the energy lending policies at both the EIB and the EBRD - an opportune moment for both banks to show real climate ambition and turn their backs on fossil fuels. In an interview the new EBRD president Sir Suma Chakrabarti shows that much is moving as the bank juggles such hot potatoes as potential support for Monsanto's expansion into our region while trying to lay down new roots in post-Arab Spring north Africa.

Bankwatch Mail | October 10, 2012

This issue is devoted primarily to the countdown to EU Budget ‘D-day’, and the negotiations now reaching a troublesome climax on how approximately 1 trillion euros of EU money is to be spent across the continent in the 2014-20 budgetary period.

We also round up some recent developments at the EBRD and EIB. And if you think that US presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a monopoly on private equity and tax havens, think again.

Bankwatch Mail | May 14, 2012

Issue 52 of our quarterly newsletter is a special double edition as this week sees the annual meetings of two of our target institutions, the EIB and the EBRD. Both banks are attracting widspread coverage: the EIB for its potential role in a belated EU-wide drive for growth; the EBRD as it prepares to extend its operations beyond central and eastern Europe into the North Africa region and as it decides on a new president.

Bankwatch Mail | March 13, 2012

Issue 51 of our quarterly newsletter with campaign updates and analyses of international development finance issues.

Bankwatch Mail | November 29, 2011

Bankwatch Mail 50 contains a range of European development finance issues with a particular focus on EU Funds as we publish on the day of our Green investments to the rescue conference in Brussels.

Bankwatch Mail | September 21, 2011

This edition focuses mostly on the European Investment Bank and EU funds related issues. Among the questions we discuss are: How is the EU budget, this 1 trillion euro process, shaping up, and will sustainability finally have a bigger role? and Will EIB investments in the Southern Mediterranean bring benefits to the people there or to Western companies?