This webinar provided a comprehensive examination of the operational landscape of the European Investment Bank (EIB), coinciding with the appointment of a new EIB President. Through a dialogue between a McMaster University professor, an EIB official and a Bankwatch representative, participants gained insights into the dynamics, challenges and opportunities for improvement within the Bank.

Discussions focused on governance structures and their profound impact on communities, with a particular emphasis on addressing environmental and social concerns, notably through increased funding for green public services. Key themes such as equitable transformation, broader participation in decision-making, and the need for transparency and accountability underscored the need for more inclusive and effective governance of public banks.

Throughout an hour-long discussion, several key themes emerged:

  • Just transformation: The webinar underscored the historical oversight of public banks and emphasised the imperative of governance discussions for a just transition. While recognizing the EIB's commitment to enhancing its green and social impact, it also acknowledged the pressing need for more effective measures to catalyse a truly just transformation that prioritises people's wellbeing. This involves supporting public-public investments geared towards enhancing green public services.
  • Participation: Advocacy for broader representation in decision-making processes was a recurrent theme. Stressing the necessity of including meaningful contributions from various stakeholders such as CSOs, unions, SMEs, and municipalities, the discussion highlighted the importance of enhancing the accountability and responsiveness of public banks to the communities they serve.
  • Transparency and accountability: Concerns were voiced about the classification of projects, prompting a call for greater transparency and accuracy in defining climate action initiatives and fossil fuel phase-out strategies. The importance of adhering to statutory requirements, additionality, and avoiding commercial activities within the EIB's mandate was emphasised. Additionally, the discussion highlighted the need for enhanced transparency in project implementation, due diligence procedures, and a well-functioning complaint mechanism. There was also an emphasis on the necessity for more strategic planning and integrated approaches to foster community engagement.

The webinar was well attended by 40 participants out of which 34 were European and new to Counter Balance's panel discussions, from 13 EU countries (13 women and 18 men, 3 persons that did not provide information on gender). The discussion between the speakers was balanced and some questions were raised by the audience. Due to time constraints and a busy schedule of one of the speakers, not all questions could be answered live, but the most detailed ones were answered at the end of the call.

A recording of the webinar is available here.

This webinar was organized within the Citizens’ Observatory for Green Deal Financing project, financed by the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).

EN Co funded by the EU BLACK