15 Jul 2021
Newsletter July 2021
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During the first half of 2021 Counter Balance has been hard at work in fighting for a European Investment Bank that works for all. Be it in the field of Climate, Human Rights or Transparency & Accountability, we have been keeping the pressure up together with a coalition of international NGO's.
Below you will find a selection of important news items that we've carefully selected for you. We wish all of you a lovely summer!
European Parliament urges EIB to become more transparent and sustainable
During its plenary session in Strasbourg on July 6, 2021, the European Parliament approved two reports (see here and here) on the activities of the European Investment Bank (EIB), the world’s largest public lender and lending arm of the European Union. While welcoming the planned transformation of the EIB into the ‘EU Climate Bank’, the Parliament urges the bank to raise the bar in terms of transparency and to better protect and promote Human Rights throughout its operations.
Revolving doors: Former EIB Vice-President joins Spanish company board
A new case of revolving doors at the European Investment Bank (EIB) provides yet another example of the Bank’s lack of accountability and recurring risks of corporate capture.
It was revealed early March that former EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro joined the board of the Spanish multinational energy utility company Iberdrola, less than 3 months after leaving the EIB.
The news received media coverage in the Spanish outlet “El Confidencial” and raised concerns within the European Parliament, with several Green parliamentarians sending a letter to the EIB president denouncing this move, and the European Ombudswoman opening an enquiry on the matter.
EIB moves ahead with creating a subsidiary for development
Despite a controversial track record in its investments outside of Europe, the EIB is still planning to expand its development operations by creating a dedicated subsidiary for lending outside of the EU.
Back in November 2020, Bankwatch and Counter Balance published a damning report on the development impacts of the EIB’s development operations. Our conclusions were clear: the EIB is not equipped to act as a genuine development bank and actually contributes to human rights violations around the world. Recent findings about the lack of compliance of an EIB-funded project in Nepal with the bank’s environmental and social standards demonstrate further these structural flaws. Therefore, there are serious concerns about the EIB moving forward with its plans to create a development subsidiary.
Civil society groups call on EU Finance Ministers to transform the EIB
On the occasion of its Board of Governors meeting on June 18, 2021, 24 civil society organisations call on the European Finance Ministers to reform the EIB. They urge the Ministers to fundamentally transform the bank and push the boundaries on all levels, from transparency to climate, from human rights to the fight against corruption.
The EIB’s Board of Governors is made up of the 27 Finance Ministers of the EU Member States. Together, they represent the bank’s shareholders and have a significant impact on the overall strategy of the bank and its investment policies. They only meet once a year, which makes the Board of Governors Meeting an important occasion.
EU Watchdog Radio: Transport vs Climate Change
Our podcast hosted jointly with Corporate Europe Observatory is going strong and now counts over 20 episodes!
In this new episode of EU Watchdog Radio we dive into the issue of transport and why this is such a powerful issue in the context of climate change and healthy societies.
In this podcast we ask questions to Lorelei Limousin from Greenpeace and Clara Bourgin from Counter Balance and we get some clear cut answers. To give a hint: powerful lobbies from for example the car and aviation industry play a big role here.
COUNTER BALANCE IN THE NEWS
- ENGLISH - 'Not quite over yet: EIB spent €890 million on fossil gas since phase out, activists say'
- Euractiv (04/03/2021)
- ENGLISH - 'After EIB career, executives land softly' - Luxtimes (16/04/2021)
- ENGLISH -'Report criticizes EIB over Nepal energy project' - Devex (04/05/2021)
- ENGLISH - 'Greenpeace urges EIB to up efforts to meet climate targets' - Luxtimes (17/06/2021)
- ENGLISH - 'European investment banks criticized on climate commitments' - Devex (13/07/2021)
- ITALIAN - 'Bei sotto accusa per sei finanziamenti al gas naturale' - Eticanews (10/03/2021)
- SPANISH - 'El fichaje de Navarro por Iberdrola reaviva las críticas por las puertas giratorias en la UE' - El Confidencial (03/03/2021)