Brussels, 23 January 2024 – Today's High-Level InvestEU Event brought together a distinguished assembly of political leaders, industry experts, and stakeholders to deliberate on the future of European finance and sustainability.
While the event dazzled with influential voices and celebrated and applauded financial feats, it glossed over significant shortcomings within InvestEU.
The vast majority of guarantees under this initiative accrue to the private sector. Specifically, the guarantees for 25% of the sustainable infrastructure projects are directed towards commercial banks and investment funds.
As repeatedly shared during the four-hour event, within InvestEU, the approach is to guarantee the profits of corporations and financial institutions with EU citizens' tax money to boost their profits. This is exemplified by the project financed by the European Investment Bank to support Northvolt’s battery gigafactory expansion with $1 billion, announced last week.
Frank Vanaerschot, Counter Balance’s Director, commented: “A question worth billions of euros is still hanging: how do these investments truly uplift the lives of citizens and communities that they are meant to serve? The preoccupation with corporate green technological competition shows that the EU wants to invest in ‘change’ so that everything can stay the same. We need more investments that prioritise households’ needs over corporate pockets, especially amidst the soaring cost of living crisis”.
Vanaerschot emphasised the need for InvestEU to back projects with lasting economic, environmental, and social merits, steering clear of a mere market allure.
While there are initiatives within the EIB and other public banks that champion social housing and sustainable urban transport, they currently remain exceptions rather than the rule.
Urging public institutions to make this approach the norm and fulfil their public mandate and shape fair societies, he concluded, “Let’s ditch the 'business-as-usual' script and build a Europe that truly includes all. We expect the European Commission and the newly appointed EIB’s Presidency to respond to these needs and pave the path for a truly inclusive future for Europe''.