AMSTERDAM (NETHERLANDS) – Friends of the Earth International and the CEE Bankwatch Network welcome today’s decision from Dutch bank ASN to terminate its investment in the European Investment Bank. The NGOs urge all socially responsible investors who are mindful of the environment and sustainable development to follow ASN’s example and stop buying EIB bonds.
This follows ASN’s announcement today that it will be immediately withdrawing investment money from both the EIB and the World Bank. Recent ASN research found that, “In the areas of environmental, social and human rights policies the EIB scores insufficiently for ASN to continue its investment.” The EIB’s lack of transparency was another important factor behind ASN’s decision.
The Bank has promised to sell the EIB bonds which it currently holds. Jeroen Jansen, ASN Vice-Director, revealed that ASN wants to send a message that it is absolutely unacceptable for the EIB – major multi-national investor that it is – not to adhere to the sustainability standards required of an institution of this magnitude.
Magda Stoczkiewicz, leading the EIB reform campaign on behalf of Friends of the Earth International and CEE Bankwatch Network, adds: “We are very pleased with ASN’s decision and can only hope other socially responsible investors will follow ASN’s lead. In the last couple of years we have been highlighting many of the EIB’s institutional and operation failings which have now also been revealed by ASN: its lack of transparency, its threadbare environmental expertise and standards, as well as the detrimental impact of many of its financed projects on people and the environment.”
The EIB is owned by the 15 member EU states, with the respective countries’ finance ministers acting as the bank’s governors. Stoczkiewicz continues: “The EIB governors should take a closer look at this institution and pressure for reforms.”
The Bank was recently given further capital (increased to EUR 150 billion in June 2002) and a bigger mandate within as well as outside the European Community. It is regarded by the member states as a good source of money which can help to balance budgets. This function is clearly spelled out in the Italian Presidency’s recent proposal for boosting Euro zone economies by investing in Trans-European Network infrastructure. The EIB will have a leading financial role in this initiative.
“European leaders are never slow to voice their concerns on environmental and social issues. If this is not to be yet more hollow rhetoric they need to urgently put the biggest financing institution in the world – the European Investment Bank – under the spotlight and undertake immediate reforms” – sums up Stoczkiewicz.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Magda Stoczkiewicz, CEE Bankwatch/FoEI +31 20 622 13 69 or mobile +31 652 41 03 23
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
The ASN Bank press release can be found on: www.asnbank.nl under news