BRUSSELS (BELGIUM) – An international NGO coalition welcomed the European Parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee (EMAC) decision to keep alive a highly critical report  on the European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU’s secretive house bank. However, on the basis of yesterday’s extended debate in the Committee, NGOs are concerned that the report will be completely watered down in the discussions to come.
The rapporteur, Spanish MEP Monica Ridruejo, was herself very unhappy with the way EMAC colleagues approached the issue. Many seemed to have not even read the report. In her speech she emphasized that the Parliament is responsible for ensuring improved corporate governance within the EIB and pointed out that should it neglect this responsibility both the Parliament and the European Commission would be discredited.
“It is not the responsibility of the European Parliament to agree with the EIB on the report,” Ms. Ridruejo concluded. “This makes a fiction of the Parliament’s supervisory role.”
“The EIB does not live up to the standards expected of a public financial institution and needs to change,” said Magda Stoczkiewicz, leading the EIB campaign for CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth International. “We believe that the European Parliament has an important role to play in stimulating reform within the EIB and therefore we are calling for thorough discussion of the issues mentioned in Ms. Ridruejo’s report.”
To most Europeans, whose taxes help fund its activities, the EIB is a mystery and still it continues to resist the kind of public scrutiny appropriate to its importance and size. Before the EMAC meeting the bank acknowledged many of the issues raised in the report but denied there was a need for urgent reforms.
Stoczkiewicz added, “The EIB admits there are problems but wants to keep them under the carpet. Parliament should look under that carpet, take a solid stand and ask for a thorough investigation into the flawed aspects of the bank’s governance.”
Martin Koehler, from the Italian Campaign to Reform the World Bank, commented, “It is important for European policy to have access to capital through a house bank such as the EIB. But nobody is helped by a bank which hides from view in the Luxembourg valleys and which is so blatantly out of tune with European developments as the EIB clearly is. The European Parliament can not allow these critical issues to be buried indefinitely.”
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Martin Koehler, Campagna per la Ri forma della Blanca Modal. Tel: +39 06 7826855. Mobile: +39 333 5920415
Magda Stoczkiewicz, CEE Bankwatch Network/Friends of the Earth International. Tel: +31 20 622 13 69. Mobile +31 652 41 03 23
Hannah Ellis, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Tel: +44 20 7566 1601. Mobile: +44 7952 876 929