Brussels, Belgium, May 26, 2005 — A web-based database of European Investment Bank (EIB) projects financed in the last decade in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean has been launched today by a coalition of non-governmental organisations.
Campagna per la riforma della banca mondiale
CEE Bankwatch Network
Friends of the Earth International
The EIB, the house bank of the European Union, remains one of the most secretive international financial institutions. The recent new draft of the EIB’s information policy, put forward for revision on May 19, does not promise substantive changes in this respect. NGOs have thus decided to provide EIB related information directly to the interested public.
Jaro Colajacomo, of Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale in Italy, said, “While transparency and access to information is a common policy at other international financial institutions, the EIB remains extremely secretive. Communities affected by its projects have often never heard of the EIB, even though it has a bigger annual budget than the World Bank. We hope to provide an alternative source of information for civil society. Unfortunately, what should have been the transparency duty of the EIB itself has had, once again, to be fulfilled by NGOs.”
Most of the projects listed in the database are highly unsustainable. For example, only one EUR 41 million EIB investment in the energy sector – out of a total of EUR 6.3 billion for the two regions, excluding lending through intermediaries – can be considered a renewable energy project, while most of the EIB’s financing was allocated to environmentally damaging extractive industries projects (oil, gas and mining).
“The European Investment Bank’s investments are currently not in compliance with the EU objectives of combating climate change and eradicating poverty,” said Hannah Ellis of Friends of the Earth. “This is unacceptable for a public institution that should be subject to EU laws and commitments.”
The EIB, originally established to support less developed regions in Europe, is increasingly looking towards financing opportunities in developing countries around the world, which now comprise up to 10 percent of the EIB’s annual portfolio. However, the EIB lacks solid social and environmental objectives and safeguard policies.
Magda Stoczkiewicz, leading the EIB reform campaign on behalf of CEE Bankwatch Network, commented, “The EIB has been avoiding public scrutiny for long enough, raising doubts about the democratic nature of EU institutions. If the EIB is to invest in developing countries it needs to ensure it brings benefits and not destruction to people and nature in those countries. And it needs to operate in an open and transparent manner, listening to people whose lives may be affected by EIB funded projects.”
The civil society database of projects can be found at:
www.eibprojects.org . It will be further developed with information collected by affected communicates and groups around the world.
For more information:
Campagna per la riforma della banca Mondiale
Tel: +39 338 3279035
CEE Bankwatch Network/FoEI
Tel: +32475 867637
Friends of the Earth
Tel: +44 207 566 1601, +44 7952876929
Comprehensive background information on the EIB is available at: