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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
07 juni 2008

"New life" for a more sustainable European Investment Bank

The EIB has attracted sustained criticism from civil society organisations in Europe and across the world because of its non-transparent institutional nature, its lack of binding environmental and social standards - especially in its increasing lending activities in Africa, Asia and Latin America - and its continuing support for major fossil fuel extraction projects that undermine the banks recent improved record in funding renewable energy projects.

In November last year the European parliament endorsed a resolution calling on the EIB to stop financing fossil energy projects with public means. “But the EIB refuses to take this call seriously”, says Willem Verhaak, campaigner of Friends of the Earth Netherlands, one of the EIBs critics.

Desislava Stoyanova, co-ordinator of Counter Balance: Challenging the European Investment Bank, a new coalition of European NGOs concerned about the lending practices of the EIB, said: “We hope that the EIB has grown out of its youthful indulgences, backing dodgy projects without being accountable to anyone. Now that its entering middle age, the EIB will hopefully slow down and start to behave more responsibly.”

According to its criticasters the EIB is supporting projects that “might fit the bottom line on the spreadsheet but do not fit EU policies on climate change mitigation, poverty alleviation and sustainable development.”
The EIB loaned EUR 48 billion last year. The loans are guaranteed by member countries of the European Union. More and more loans go to countries outside the European Union.

Prince Kumwamba, of Congolese NGO ACIDH which has criticised the EIB over its role in the highly controversial Tenke Fungurume copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said: “These changes at the EIB sound absolutely wonderful, and are at long last in line with what Southern communities and economies really need, rather than some huge oil field or open cast mine that creams off our natural resources with little accruing to us except clean-up costs. When these policies become reality, we will truly have something to celebrate.”

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