Parliament sends strong signal to the EIB: Time to act!

In two reports on the European Investment Bank adopted today in Brussels, Members of the European Parliament have called on the EU’s bank to step up its efforts against climate change and enhance its transparency and accountability.

photo by Federation European Cyclists’, CC BY 2.0

Counter Balance and CEE Bankwatch Network welcome the positions taken today by the Parliament in two complementary resolutions (one led by the ECON committee, the other by the CONT committee).

In view of the EU‘s commitment to the global fight against climate change and the Paris Agreement, the MEPs asked the EIB to increase the sustainability of the bank’s operations by:

– Re-assessing its support to gas infrastructure projects “especially as gas demand in Europe is declining while new large-scale plans to build new pipelines and LNG terminals are emerging”. Hence the Parliament “expresses concern that the EIB investments in gas infrastructure could lead to investments in stranded assets”;

– Focusing its operations on “smaller-scale, off-grid decentralised renewable energy projects involving citizens and communities, and integrating the Energy Efficiency First principle into all EIB policies and operations”.

In parallel, the Parliament advocates for greater transparency and deeper accountability of the bank in order to ensure stronger public scrutiny of its activities, project selection and funding priorities.

Hence, MEPs call on the EIB „to further improve its transparency practices at all levels of the institution“. This should translate into concrete initiatives by the bank, such as  the publication of the minutes of the meetings of its governance bodies, as well as the disclosure of more information at project level, through public access to the bank’s evaluation and assessment sheets.

The reports adopted today also send a clear message in relation to conflicts of interests [1]. Indeed, the Parliament claims to be “strongly concerned with the identified shortcomings in the existing EIB mechanisms to prevent possible conflicts of interest within its governing bodies” and urges the bank to take serious action to prevent such issue, together with revolving door cases.

Anna Roggenbuck, CEE Bankwatch Network:

 “It is encouraging that the European Parliament notices the problematic EIB investments in the fossil fuels sector. Indeed, from 2014 to 2016, the bank committed  EUR 7  bn in gas infrastructure projects. The strong message sent by MEPs should lead the EIB to act in order to align its investments with the Paris Agreement. The first step in this direction should be the withdrawal of its support to the Southern Gas Corridor, potential recipient of the bank’s largest investment loans ever[2].“

Xavier Sol, Counter Balance Director:

 “These reports really send a strong warning to the EIB: the Parliament is willing to increase its oversight on the bank, and business as usual is not feasible anymore given the growing responsibilities awarded to the EIB. It is now time for the EU bank to deliver on this call for action and step up its accountability and transparency”.

Here the two final texts adopted:

ECON Committee Report: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&reference=P8-TA-2017-0198&language=EN&ring=A8-2017-0121

CONT Committee Report: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&reference=P8-TA-2017-0138&language=EN&ring=A8-2017-0161

 

Notes for editors:

[1] Find out more in this letter from the European Ombudsman to the EIB President in July 2016

[2] The EIB is considering a EUR 2 bn loan to the Western section of the Southern Gas Corridor – the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline – and a EUR 1 bn loan to the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline which crosses Turkey. More information available here: http://bankwatch.org/our-work/projects/southern-gas-corridor-euro-caspian-mega-pipeline

Contacts:

Xavier Sol
Director, Counter Balance
xavier.sol@counter-balance.org
Mobile: +32 473 223 893 Office: +32 289 308 61
Twitter: @Counter_Balance

Anna Roggenbuck
EIB Policy Officer, CEE Bankwatch Network
annar@bankwatch.org
Mobile: +48 509970424 Office: +48 91 831 5392
Twitter: @RoggenbuckA

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