Ahead of next week’s expected release from the European Investment Bank of its final draft energy policy, CEE Bankwatch Network and Counter Balance are urging the EU’s house bank to ensure that its annual portfolio of €70 billion is guided by a policy that enables Europe to meet its long-term commitments on climate

The EIB spends roughly a fifth of its annual portfolio on energy projects, or about €14 billion, but since the current 2007 policy was put in place, more than €19 billion has gone to fossil fuels, compared with just €5 billion for energy efficiency measures. Laudable investments in renewable energy projects, roughly equalling those of fossil fuels, are being undercut by continued EIB support for climate-damaging projects*.

With the European Commission’s recent proposal to set binding climate targets for 2030 in order to achieve the mandatory decarbonisation of Europe’s economy by 2050, this final iteration of the policy is the best opportunity for the EIB to outline a low carbon path for the EU’s economy by boosting support for energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart energy infrastructure projects.

Anna Roggenbuck from Bankwatch said, “Decarbonisation, through an end to funding of coal projects and other fossil fuels, is a matter of policy coherence with the EU’s long-term climate agenda and a necessary step in stopping harmful and distorting subsidies for fossil fuels.

Berber Verpoest of Counter Balance said, “Other multilaterals have taken steps to quit coal, like the Nordic Investment Bank who in March this year cleansed its portfolio of the climate-killing stuff. Why can’t the EIB do the same and end entirely its support for coal in the new policy? This is the last chance for the bank to get it right.”

This final draft is the penultimate step in the review of the bank’s energy policy, bringing to a close a process that formally launched in October 2012. EU Member States - as the shareholding owners of the EIB - will have a final say in formulating the policy.

* Figures for the period 2007-2011

Notes for the editors

Read more about the energy lending of Europe’s public banks here: http://bankwatch.org/campaign/energy-lending

See examples of helpful and harmful energy projects financed by the EIB: http://bankwatch.org/EIB-energy-future-past

Read more about the EIB energy policy revision process here: http://www.eib.org/about/partners/cso/consultations/item/public-consultation-on-eibs-energy-lending-policy.htm