MEP’s vote for increased transparency and accountability of the European Investment Bank in its loans to developing countries

The Counter Balance coalition, a coalition of environmental and development non-governmental organisations recognizes the major step forward taken by this vote on the increase of both accountability and transparency of the European Investment Bank’s operations.

Now the EIB can no longer ignore a certain number of principles when granting loans to a project in the developing world on the basis of its renewed External Mandate Guarantee.

  • The explicit developmental responsibilities, which have never before been so clearly appended to the lending practices of a major development bank, include:

– the sustainable economic and social development of the developing countries

– the campaign against poverty in the developing countries

– the general objective of developinand consolidating democracy and the rule of law

– the general objective of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms

We environmental and development NGO’s have been raising concerns on the harm to both environment and people affected directly by the infrastructure projects financed by the EIB outside the EU.

To take one example we should never witness again under the new regulation: we denounced the loans to the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline, not only did the EIB support a project that brought benefit to corrupt governments but once more the fossil-fuel industry which goes against the Climate Change objective of the EU. See http://www.fossilfreeeib.org.

Counter Balance encourages the MEP’s to continue the work started this year thanks to the EJC ruling. The EP rapporteur contributed to a critical overview of the EIB annual operations. In its current Parliament’s report on the EIB and EBRD annual operations, the European Parliament reiterates the need for increased democratic control on EIB’s operations and specifically concentrates on its contributions to the EU and United Nations goals (such as the Kyoto protocol) in developing countries.

The report further requests strengthening of the bank’s anti-corruption policies; requests that EIB’s allocates sufficient resources to actually implement their new Environmental and Social Statement, and to ensure real benefits and “value for money” when supporting public-private partnerships projects (PPPs).

Next step:

The MEPs took advantage of their new co-decision power to request the EC to present a new proposal for EIB guarantee by 30 April 2010 taking into account the work of the current mid-term review of external lending mandate which ends in June 2010; and to introduce the development cooperation objectives as part as the External lending mandate of the EIB.

Official Documents

EP Debate on March 24th (16h-20h) and vote on March 25th – Agenda and reference docs

Texts adopted as of 25th March 2009 – see P6_TA-PROV(2009)0168 – Community guarantee to the European Investment Bank Rapporteur: Esko Seppänen, and P6_TA-PROV(2009)0185 – EIB and EBRD annual reports for 2007,  Rapporteur Gay Mitchell.

Report

Of 26 February 2009 PE 418.371v02-00 -A6-0109/2009 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council granting a Community guarantee to the European Investment Bank against losses under loans and loan guarantees for projects outside the Community (COM(2008)0910–C6-0025/2009–2008/0268(COD))

Contacts:

Counter Balance Coordinator, Desislava Stoyanova: Tel: + 32 2 542 01 85, mobile: +32 487 617 482 desislava@bankwatch.org,
CEE Bankwatch Network EU Affairs Coordinator Anelia Stefanova: Mobile +39 333 809 2492 skype aneliast

Media Relations Manager, Corine Barella coba.counterbalanceeib@gmail.org,

+ 32 477 639 627 skype: press.counterbalanceeib

WHO WE ARE

Counter Balance is a European coalition of development and environmental non-governmental organisations, formed specifically to challenge the European Investment Bank. The groups involved have extensive experience working on development finance and the international financial institutions (IFIs) as well as campaigning to prevent negative impacts resulting from major infrastructure projects.

Counter Balance’s mission is to make the EIB an open and progressive institution delivering on EU development goals and promoting sustainable development to empower people affected by its work.
Counter Balance has members from:

* Central and Eastern Europe: CEE Bankwatch Network
* France: les Amis de la Terre
* Germany: urgewald and WEED
* Italy: Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale
* Netherlands: BothEnds
* United Kingdom: Bretton Woods Project

Counter Balance intends to take advantage of and contribute to the growing tide of pressure – from the institutions of the European Union, its member states, recipient countries, other IFIs and even parts of the EIB itself – for fundamental change within the EIB. For too long, the EIB has not received public scrutiny appropriate to the social, political and environmental impacts of the projects it supports. More robust scrutiny would help it fulfill its key public and political roles.

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