Controversial EIB-backed projects under fire at European Parliament

3 May 2018

Today, the European Parliament adopted a critical report on the activities of the financial arm of the EU – the European Investment Bank (EIB). This report reiterates previous calls for the bank to step up its sustainability, transparency and accountability.

During the debate held in the plenary of the Parliament in Brussels, several MEPs alsochallenged the EU Bank on its too limited focus on cohesion objectives at European level, and the geographical concentration of its investments in large and already performing economies.

The adopted report reflects many of the positions of the rapporteur on the file, MEP Marco Valli from the Italian 5-Stars Movement, in particular on the following matters:

– The Parliament urged the bank to reinforce the due diligence on projects it supports, for example by „carrying out, for each project, an independent ex ante and ex post evaluation“ „assessing the financial sustainability and risks associated with the projects, in order to avoid the risk of socialisation of losses and privatisation of returns“.

– Large-scale infrastructure projects were especially singled out given the magnitude of environmental, social and integrity risks associated with them. Controversial loans to Volkswagen, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline and a set of corrupt projects in Italy including the unfamous MOSE in Venice were denounced.

In particular, the Parliament requested the bank to „ensure that its zero tolerance policy towards fraud is implemented as strictly as possible and to withdraw the entirety of its funding from the MOSE project and the projects linked to it through the system of companies and beneficiaries involved in the implementation of projects in the Veneto region“.

The parliamentarians further stressed „the importance of strict monitoring of possible risks of corruption and fraud“ and asked the EIB „to freeze any loans to projects where an official investigation is under way“.

– Key civil society demands were also reflected in the strong encouragement to the EIB Management Committee to take on board concerns raised during the public consultations on the revision of the EIB Complaints Mechanism.

– Finally, the Parliament took a welcomed stance when stressing „the importance of not using EIB funds for purposes of security and border control“ and of „conducting detailed human rights-related due diligence checks“ and taking into account any human rights violations „and to put an end to any loans accordingly“.

Read the full Parliament report here.

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