Who we monitor
Counter Balance aims at a public finance that works for all. To achieve this, we follow a number of public finance institutions and actors. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is at the core of our efforts, but we also work on broader investment plans at European level and other financial institutions including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and national public banks.
The European Investment Bank
THE “EU BANK”
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the financial arm of the European Union. Its shareholders are the 27 EU Member States.
Although little known to the general public, the EIB is the biggest public bank in the world, even bigger than the World Bank! Just in 2019, the EIB approved more than EUR 70 billion in loans, and this number keeps on increasing. Around 90% of its loans take place within the EU, while the remaining 10% are directed to countries outside of the European Union.
Following a successful NGO campaign, the EIB recently took the decision to phase out from fossil fuels and to align its operations with the objective of the Paris Agreement.
Still, the EIB has a long way to go to prioritise the public good over corporate interests and truly become a sustainable, transparent and accountable institution.
Over the years we have identified a number of structural issues – from insufficient attention to human rights and environmental impacts to a lack of public ownership, transparency and control over funds – that still need to be addressed.Show research
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
THE EARLY DEVELOPMENT BANK
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was founded in 1991 to finance the transition towards “open and democratic market economies” in the post-Soviet countries from central Europe to Central Asia.
Despite its mandate to operate in countries that are “committed to democratic principles”, its focus has been mainly on developing the private sector, enabling privatisation, competition and economic growth. Its track record has been criticized by civil society for leaving social and human rights considerations at the margins.
European public investments
public finance developments
As a watchdog organisation we do not only follow the activities of specific institutions, we also keep a close eye on European public investments in general.
For example, we have monitored the “Juncker Plan” for years, as well as major investment plans taking place at a European level, such as the financing of the European Green Deal. In the next few years, the EU economic response to the COVID-19 crisis will be on our radar.
Long term vision
Future of public finance
Counter Balance’s mission is to make European public finance a key driver of a fair and just transformation into socially and environmentally sustainable and equitable societies where the economy works for all (human and non-human alike) rather than for the few.
Read all about our vision for the future of public finance.Read more
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