A civil society ‘Hello’ to the EIB’s new president
Bankwatch Mail | 13 March 2012
The ‘Counter Balance: Challenging the EIB‘ coalition has written to Werner Hoyer, the new president of the EIB, welcoming him to his new post. Hoyer, formerly state secretary in Germany’s foreign office and a member of the Free Democrats, the junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, becomes the EIB’s seventh president, succeeding Philippe Maystadt.
This article is from Issue 51 of our quarterly newsletter Bankwatch Mail
Noting some welcome changes made by the EIB in recent years, including “the strengthening of the bank’s environmental policy, improvement of access to information from the EIB, the establishment of an internal accountability mechanism and the opening of public consultations on the EIB’s lending policies”, the Counter Balance letter flags four specific issues that it believes should be firmly on the new president’s radar:
(Download the full letter as pdf.)
1. EIB lending outside the EU
… Counter Balance emphasises the recent ruling of the European Court of Justice that confirmed the EIB’s responsibilities to sustainable development, poverty alleviation and the promotion of the rule of law in its activities in developing countries. A specific recommendation is for the EIB to develop “alternative and more appropriate measures of growth and development that capture critical perspectives such as inclusiveness and sustainability and mainstreams development concerns at the investment selection phase”.
2. The EIB and climate change efforts
… Counter Balance calls on President Hoyer to turn the EIB into a climate positive institution, “one that is not only investing in climate-friendly projects but literally phasing out all climate-damaging projects, especially in the energy and transport sectors in accordance with the EU’s 2050 policy goals.”
3. The EIB’s engagement with financial intermediaries
… in what is an increasingly problematic and very grey area of the EIB’s business, Counter Balance recommends “the need to improve the transparency of this type of lending by making available aggregated data on sectoral breakdown, the level of disbursement by financial intermediary to beneficiaries and information on the environmental impact assessments of all benefiting projects. In particular we believe that there are serious and well documented reasons for avoiding channeling EIB support through private equity funds.”
4. The EIB’s public-private partnership investments
… another growing area of EIB business is flagged by Counter Balance, concerned that “with more and more EIB financing taking place through PPP mechanisms, the EIB does not sufficiently engage in ensuring that the public sector obtains value for money in proposed PPP deals.”