Procedure : 2015/2127(INI)
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A8-0050/2016

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PV 27/04/2016 - 16
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P8_TA(2016)0200

REPORT     
PDF 481kWORD 184k
8.3.2016
PE 565.145v02-00 A8-0050/2016

on the European Investment Bank (EIB) – Annual Report 2014

(2015/2127(INI))

Committee on Budgetary Control

Rapporteur: Georgi Pirinski

ERRATA/ADDENDA
AMENDMENTS
MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the European Investment Bank (EIB) – Annual Report 2014

(2015/2127(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the 2014 Activity Report of the European Investment Bank,

–  having regard to the 2014 Financial Report and the 2014 Statistical Report of the European Investment Bank,

–  having regard to the 2014 Sustainability Report, the 2014 Report on 3 Pillar Assessment for EIB operations inside the EU and the 2014 Report on Results Outside of the EU of the European Investment Bank,

–  having regard to the Annual Reports of the EIB Audit Committee for the year 2014,

–  having regard to the European Investment Bank Group Annual Report on Anti-Fraud Activities – 2014,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Operational Plan 2014-2016 (17 December 2013), the EIF Corporate Operational Plan 2014-2016 (December 2013) and the EIB Group Operational Plan 2015-2017 (21 April 2015),

–  having regard to the report on the implementation of the EIB’s Transparency Policy in 2014,

–  having regard to the EIB Office of the Chief Compliance Officer Activity Report 2014,

–  having regard to Articles 3 and 9 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to Articles 15, 126, 174, 175, 208, 209, 271, 308 and 309 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and to Protocol No 5 thereto on the Statute of the EIB,

–  having regard to the Rules of Procedure of the European Investment Bank,

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 March 2014 on the European Investment Bank (EIB) – Annual Report 2012(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 30 April 2015 on the European Investment Bank (EIB) – Annual Report 2013(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 February 2014 on long-term financing of the European economy(3) and to the Commission communication of 27 March 2014 on Long-Term Financing of the European Economy (COM(2014)0168),

–   having regard to Decision No 1080/2011/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the EIB External Mandate 2007-2013 and to Decision No 466/2014/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 granting an EU guarantee to the European Investment Bank against losses under financing operations supporting investment projects outside the Union,

–  having regard to Regulation No 670/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2012, amending Decision No 1639/2006/EC establishing a Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (2007-2013) and Regulation (EC) No 680/2007 laying down general rules for the granting of Community financial aid in the field of the trans-European transport and energy networks (concerning the pilot phase for the Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative),

–  having regard to the October 2014 European Council conclusions explicitly referring to involvement of the EIB in a new fund targeting investments aimed at improving energy efficiency and modernising energy systems in lower-income Member States,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 26 November 2014 on ‘An Investment Plan for Europe’ (COM(2014)0903),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 2015/1017 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2015 on the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the European Investment Advisory Hub and the European Investment Project Portal and amending Regulations (EU) No 1291/2013 and (EU) No 1316/2013(4),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 22 July 2015 on ‘Working together for jobs and growth: The role of National Promotional Banks (NPBs) in supporting the Investment Plan for Europe’ (COM(2015)0361/2),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinions of the Committee on International Trade, the Committee on Budgets, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on Regional Development (A8-0050/2016),

A.  whereas the core task of the EIB, as the EU’s bank, is to support financially projects in the interest of the Union that contribute to the balanced development of the internal market and to social, economic and territorial cohesion, and thus to strengthening European integration, in addition to employment, and it is therefore extremely important for boosting the competitiveness of the Union;

B.  whereas all EIB-financed activities must be consistent with the EU Treaties and the EU’s overarching objectives and priority areas, as defined by the Europe 2020 strategy and the Growth and Employment Facility;

C.  whereas, for the purpose of fulfilling its task, the EIB grants loans and gives guarantees which facilitate the financing of projects in all sectors of the economy, while operating on a non-profit-making basis;

D.  whereas the 2008 financial, economic and social crisis has resulted in the emergence of a severe investment gap and extreme levels of unemployment, particularly among young people, along with the prospect of protracted stagnation of the European economy;

E.  whereas since 2008 the functioning of the EU as a ‘convergence machine’ has stalled and even gone into reverse, resulting in a serious increase in existing divergences between regions and Member States, as well as the emergence of deepening social and economic inequalities throughout the Union that are hampering economic recovery and further damaging social cohesion;

F.  whereas at present both individual Member States and the EU as a whole are facing the overwhelming challenge, unprecedented in the entire history of the EU, of having to manage mass inflows of migrants from diverse regions of the world;

G.  whereas under the present circumstances a qualitatively new degree of urgency now characterises the central role of the EIB for the effective implementation of the Investment Plan for Europe and for the efficient operation of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), as the principal vehicle for boosting growth, delivering decent jobs and overcoming social and territorial divisions within the Union;

H.  whereas the European Investment Fund (EIF) has a critical role to play in the response of the EIB Group as regards addressing the longer-term consequences of the crisis, and also contributes to the recovery of the European economy through support to SMEs;

I.  whereas the EIB should be not only a financial institution but also a bank of knowledge and good practices which advises the Member States and economic stakeholders and contributes to maximising the added value of EU funds;

J.  whereas EIB financing of operations outside the EU is designed to support the EU’s external policy objectives, in line with Union values and on a basis of respect for sustainable social and environmental standards;

K.  whereas the scale and complexity of the tasks facing the EIB at present call for a renewed commitment to strictly avoiding the funding of projects that violate the basic standards of sound financial management, thus damaging the EIB’s credibility as a triple-A public financial institution of unimpeachable reputation;

EIB’s investment programme underpinning EU policy objectives

Prioritising investments to accelerate recovery and enhance productivity

1.  Welcomes the EIB’s Annual Reports for 2014 and its achievements presented therein, and strongly encourages the EIB to continue in its efforts to increase the low level of investment in the EU;

2.  Welcomes, in particular, the fact that in 2014 the EIB funded 285 000 small and medium-sized enterprises, thus safeguarding 3.6 million jobs, and signed contracts for a total of 413 projects within the EU worth EUR 69 billion and 92 new projects outside the EU for a total of EUR 7.98 billion; also welcomes the fact that in the same year the EIF committed EUR 3.3 billion through its equity and guarantee activities for the benefit of smaller businesses, thus registering the successful implementation of one of the EIB’s most ambitious business plans, with a total of EUR 80.3 billion in EIB Group financing; welcomes the fact that the volume of signatures achieved by the EIB in 2014 is at its highest level since 2009, but stresses that signature levels have further potential; endorses the EUR 10 billion increase in the EIB’s capital agreed by all the Member States in 2012;

3.  Calls on the EIB to provide increased technical support at pre-approval stage for Member States that have a lower success rate for project approval, and encourages the EIB to facilitate exchanges of best practice between Member States in relation to successful project development;

4.  Calls on the EIB to focus on investments in the real economy in order to stimulate jobs and growth in the EU;

5.  Points to the dramatically high unemployment rates in many Member States, in particular among young people, and urges the EIB to take this situation into consideration when implementing its policies;

6.  Points out that operations, while taking account of the availability of funds, must be targeted at generating investments that enhance economic recovery and productive employment, accompanied by consistent support to Member States aimed at increasing absorption capacities where necessary, as well as by a continuous commitment to avoiding the risk of territorial fragmentation;

7.  Notes that insufficient project generation capacity in the public and private sectors and low levels of borrowing capacity in some Member States, in conjunction with current market conditions, present significant challenges to the EIB’s lending programme; urges the EIB, therefore, to substantially step up its technical assistance and financial advice in all key areas of activity, on an easily accessible basis and vis-à-vis all Member States, in order to attain a much higher level of growth-generating capacity;

8.  Welcomes the use of the 3 Pillar Assessment Framework (3PA) and the Results Measurement (ReM) Framework by the EIB for the ex-ante assessment of expected results from investment projects, both inside and outside the EU;

9.  Invites the EIB, when assessing and rating projects, to give decisive priority to the long-term effect of investments, regarding not only financial indicators but also, above all, their contribution to sustainable development and to a better quality of life by means of further improvements in the field of employment, social standards and the environment;

10.  Emphasises that project funding approval should be based on adequate financial and risk analysis, financial viability and sound budgetary management; considers that projects approved for EIB funding should offer clear added value to the European economy;

11.  Regrets that there is no information presented in the 3PA Report, whether based on 3PA or other relevant tools, about actual results achieved from operations executed inside the EU in 2014 (in contrast to results achieved outside the EU), despite the fact that the 3PA is designed with the specific purpose of enhancing the EIB’s ability to monitor implementation by tracking impacts throughout the project cycle; expects that, as a result of the ongoing harmonisation between 3PA and ReM, a new harmonised framework, better fitted for the ex-post assessment and reporting of project results both inside and outside the EU and fully in line with the scoreboard for EFSI operations, will be in place at the beginning of 2016 and will be used for the 2015 EIB reporting exercise; calls for the individual projects assessments to be published on a systematic basis;

12.  Takes note of the EIB Operational Plan for 2015-2017; welcomes the fact that it recognises that speeds of recovery differ between the Member States and that it has set economic and social cohesion as a cross-cutting policy goal;

13.  Takes into consideration the fact that the EIB has restructured the classification of its main Public Policy Goals (PPGs) for the EIB Group for 2015-2017 (innovation and human capital, SMEs and midcap finance, efficient infrastructure, and the environment) in a way that differs from the formulation of its PPGs for 2014-2016 (increase in growth and employment potential, environmental sustainability, economic and social cohesion and convergence, and climate action); notes that the PPGs have been aligned with the evolving economic circumstances, and, in this connection, calls on the EIB to ensure that the two cross-cutting goals, for economic and social cohesion in the EU and for climate action, together with the envisaged percentage of signatures contributing to them, are further enhanced;

14.  Considers, however, that the presentation of the EIB’s activities in the 2014 Activity Report is not fully consistent with the PPGs for 2014; regrets, furthermore, the lack of information on the results achieved by the different EIB financial instruments and initiatives that were in place in 2014; recommends that, in communicating information about its activities, the EIB should focus not primarily on the volume of investments made but rather on their effect;

15.  Expects the EIB to contribute to the mid-term review of the Europe 2020 strategy by presenting information about its activities and their contribution to achieving the strategy’s targets;

16.  Invites the EIB to consider drawing up, in 2015, a more comprehensive and analytical report on its annual activities which would adequately summarise the information from its thematic reports and correspond more fully with the requirements of Article 9 of the EIB Statute;

17.  Welcomes the new information provided by the working document on financial instruments accompanying the draft budget; regrets, however, the lack of a global overview of the annual commitments and payments to the EIB, and expects further details;

18.  Emphasises that investment, structural reforms and sound budgetary policies must be part of an overall strategy;

Promoting youth employment, innovation and SMEs

19.  Welcomes the implementation in 2014 of the EIB initiative ‘Skills and Jobs – Investing for Youth’, and encourages the EIB to continue investing in education, skills development and jobs for young people; calls on the EIB to report comprehensively on the results achieved by its Investing for Youth initiative, including through the use of an indicator such as sustainable employment resulting from specific operations;

20.  Welcomes the launch in 2014 of a new range of products under InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators, open to innovators of all sizes, as well as the launch of the InnovFin advisory service for large R&D projects; also notes the launch in 2014 of a new EIB Group Risk Enhancement Mandate;

21.  Notes that in 2014 the EIB signed a total of 225 operations inside the EU for promoting innovation and skills (62 Innovation and R&D operations for EUR 9.6 billion and 25 Education and Skills operations for EUR 4.4 billion) and for SMEs and midcaps (138 operations for EUR 22.2 billion);

22.  Notes the EIF’s capital increase of EUR 1.5 billion in 2014, and its record investment in providing risk finance for SMEs amounting to EUR 3.3 billion, which leveraged EUR 14 billion of capital; calls for a comprehensive and transparent overview of the EIF’s operations to be included in the EIB Annual Report;

23.  Notes that the EIB Group channels SME and midcap finance through a variety of financial intermediaries, aimed at improving conditions for and enhancing access to finance; calls on the EIB, accordingly, to work much more closely with its financial intermediaries in the Member States and to urge them to disseminate relevant information to potential beneficiaries in order to establish an entrepreneur-friendly environment which allows SMEs easier access to funding;

24.  Notes that SMEs in many parts of Europe face extreme difficulties accessing necessary finance; welcomes, in this context, the greater emphasis the EIB is placing on supporting SMEs; emphasises the importance of the EIB in facilitating partnerships and strengthening support instruments for funding micro, small and medium-sized enterprises’ activity and for innovative start-ups; calls furthermore on the EIB to cooperate more closely with regional public institutions with a view to optimising the financing possibilities for SMEs;

25.  Welcomes the EIB trade facilitation programmes, in particular the SME Trade Finance Facility offering guarantees to foreign banks providing trade finance to SMEs and thereby contributing to reigniting trade flows and alleviating cash collateral constraints, and other new trade finance projects aimed at countries heavily impacted by the economic crisis or tailor-made financial solutions such as the European Progress Microfinance Facility dedicated to financial inclusion;

26.  Invites the EIB to develop an effective communication policy addressing potential private beneficiaries, as an integral part of its advisory function; encourages it to reinforce and expand its office network inside the EU;

27.  Regrets the lack of information in the 2014 Activity Report about the implementation of the agreement from July 2014 between the Commission and the EIF under the EU Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME) programme;

Enhancing environmental sustainability and climate action

28.  Notes that out of the 84 environment projects signed in 2014 inside the EU, amounting to a total of EUR 12.6 billion, sustainable transport projects accounted for EUR 5.1 billion, renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for EUR 3.7 billion, and protection of the environment projects for EUR 3.8 billion; notes further that signed operations for the ‘climate action’ cross-cutting objective amounted to EUR 16.8 billion, or 24 % of total EIB financing inside the EU;

29.  Takes note that EIB support for renewable energy capacity development in 2014 was concentrated for the most part in the EU’s five largest economies, with only EUR 42 million out of EUR 4.5 billion for renewable energy projects in the EU-28 being spent in the 13 new Member States; adds that a similar concentration is observed in the energy efficiency sector, where out of EUR 2 billion only EUR 148 million was allocated to the 13 new Member States; encourages the share of future investments in renewable energy capacity developments and the energy efficiency sector in new Member States to be increased progressively until they reach 30 % of the total investments in these fields by 2020; calls for greater effort to be made in providing further technical assistance to national and regional authorities in order to improve their capacity to prepare viable projects that will allow for more investments in the energy sector;

30.  Welcomes the launch in 2014 of new innovative instruments to support climate action, such as the Private Finance for Energy Efficiency instrument and the Natural Capital Financing Facility, and expects the EIB to report on their implementation in its future activity reports;

31.  Encourages the EIB’s commitment to supporting initiatives helping the EU both to stay a front-runner and to fulfil its own long-standing carbon market ambitions within the context of the Climate and Energy Policy Framework 2030, the Low Carbon Strategy 2050, and the UN climate talks for defining a new global agreement; calls for a review of the share of EIB investments in climate action, as the 25 % share has already been reached;

32.  Notes the momentum towards the development of the green bonds market and the leading role of the EIB with its own green bonds and climate-awareness bonds, bearing witness to investor interest in financial products dedicated to sustainable, low-carbon and climate-resilient growth; calls on the EIB to review its emissions performance standard in 2016 in the light of the EU 2050 Low Carbon Strategy;

33.  Welcomes the publication in September 2015 of the EIB Climate Strategy – Mobilising finance for the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy, and of the Synthesis Report on Operations Evaluation of EIB Financing of Climate Action (mitigation) within the EU 2010-2014; calls for the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) approach to be applied in the specific action plans following the EIB Climate Strategy by 2017;

Promoting economic and social cohesion and convergence

34.  Notes that EUR 19.9 billion, or 29 % of total EIB financing inside the EU in 2014, were for operations supporting cohesion; regrets, however, that there is no information about the number of projects supported by the EIB Group under the relevant sectors or the financial instruments or applied initiatives related to this cross-cutting policy objective;

35.  Underlines the decisive role of cohesion policy in reducing imbalances between European regions and fostering European integration, and in this context highlights the key importance of the performance-based approach; urges the EIB to include in its future annual reports detailed information about the contribution and results achieved towards implementing the objectives of cohesion policy through EIB activities;

36.  Welcomes the enlarged role the EIB Group will play in implementing cohesion policy for the 2014-2020 programming period; believes that this is a step in the right direction towards improving synergies between the EIB and ESI Funds; calls for the improvement of its activity in line with the TFEU Protocol (No 28) on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion; considers that there is a need to strengthen cooperation between the Commission, the EIB and local and regional bodies to ensure that the financial instruments are used effectively to boost territorial development and cohesion; welcomes the partnership between the Commission and the EIB in setting up the fi-compass advisory platform; firmly believes that there is a need to simplify the rules governing the support given by the ESI Funds to financial instruments under the EIB;

37.  Welcomes in particular the EIB’s financing activity in support of infrastructure and transport projects in Europe’s regions; emphasises that financial support of this kind significantly increases the development potential of trade, by fostering growth and competitiveness, in particular in those areas with natural geographical disadvantages;

38.  Notes that in 2014 the EIB signed, inside the EU, 104 projects for development of social and economic infrastructure for a total of EUR 20.2 billion, of which strategic transport projects (including TEN-T) accounted for EUR 8.2 billion, competitive and secure energy projects for EUR 7.5 billion, and urban renewal projects (including health) for EUR 4.5 billion;

39.  Stresses that investment in sustainable infrastructure projects is key to improving competitiveness and restoring growth and jobs in Europe; calls, therefore, for EIB financing to be deployed towards the areas most affected by high unemployment, and for more social infrastructure projects; emphasises that EIB financing should focus primarily on those countries which are lagging behind in terms of infrastructure quality and development, bearing in mind, however, the principle of sound financial management and viability of projects;

40.  Regrets that, hitherto, in numerous cases, EIB financing has been used to support a range of financially unsustainable infrastructure projects, with regard to both public interest and climate-related measures; notes with concern the tendency to finance infrastructure such as motorways, which encourage fossil fuel consumption and therefore run counter to the Union’s long-term objectives of moving towards a carbon-free economy; calls on the EIB to include a compulsory ex-ante assessment of environmental, economic and social added value in the process for selecting projects to be funded inside and outside the EU and for all ex-ante and ex-post assessments to be carried out with the active involvement of stakeholders, local, regional and national authorities and civil society representatives; calls, in addition, for the results of such assessments and the indicators used to be made public and to be fully accessible;

41.  Stresses that the financing of major projects often facilitates infiltration by companies linked to organised crime; criticises the fact that the EIB has provided funding for the ‘Passante di Mestre’ motorway bypass, which is the subject of tax fraud investigations; notes with concern that the EIB has not responded to the requests in this regard set out in the report on the Annual Report 2013 on the Protection of the EU’s Financial Interests – Fight against fraud; calls on the EIB, once again, to suspend all forms of funding for the project;

42.  Stresses the importance of regional development, and calls on the EIB to enhance dialogue and cooperation with regional and local authorities, banks and agencies; considers that, in this framework, cross-border cooperation should be also supported;

43.  Calls on the EIB to increase its support to projects covered by the EU macro-regional strategies; stresses the importance of continuing to support sustainable innovative economic sectors, as well as traditional ones, in the EU; underlines the need to interconnect Europe by means of intermodal transport as well as place-based investments; calls, furthermore, for the establishment of financial and investment platforms in order to enable the bundling of funds from various sources and the mobilisation of investments needed for such macro-regional projects;

Managing the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)

44.  Welcomes the new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI); emphasises the need for the EFSI to function in an effective, fully transparent and fair way in line with the criteria of its mandate and regulation, and recommends close cooperation and overview of EFSI operations by Parliament and the European Court of Auditors; stresses that its resources should demonstrate real additionality compared with the usual operations funded by the EIB; recalls that the EFSI must also contribute to cohesion, and calls on the EIB to ensure consistency and complementarity with the investments from the European Structural and Investment Funds and other public funds; calls on the EIB to implement and further develop the EFSI in close cooperation with the co-legislators, including through a timely and mandatory conclusion of the pending agreement between Parliament and the EIB;

45.  Expects that the goals for the EFSI will be consistent with the EIB’s PPGs and that the levels of EIB investments for 2016 will be adapted to reflect EFSI operations as well;

46.  Stresses that the EFSI should benefit all Member States without sectoral and regional pre-allocation, and should also be consistent with ongoing regional or local investment initiatives; emphasises that EFSI funding should also benefit small-scale projects;

47.  Recognises the challenges involved in creating and swiftly making operational an EFSI pipeline of strategic projects; welcomes the setting-up by the EIB of the European investment advisory hub, which aims to provide technical assistance and expertise to potential promoters; expects the technical assistance mechanism to work effectively at local and regional level;

48.  Recommends that Member States designate national promotional banks and closer cooperation between the EIB and national promotional banks, financial institutions and investment platforms, in order to pool and share expertise and know-how as well as to better align EIB actions with Member States’ policy priorities; recalls the need for full transparency and for prioritising result-orientation with regard to the involvement of national promotional banks and institutions in EFSI projects;

49.  Calls on the EIB to ensure that the EFSI is not indirectly used as a means of increasing the EIB’s capital; calls therefore on the EIB to regularly review its involvement in the EFSI and to show that the conditions on additionality laid down in Article 5(1) of Regulation (EU) No 2015/1017 have been met and, in particular, that private funding sources are not being crowded out;

50.  Is worried that many projects selected during the warehousing phase would have found access to financing under normal conditions and do not meet the additionality requirement; recalls that the EFSI guarantee was meant to enable the EIB to take more risks while maintaining its triple-A rating; stresses that it will be extremely vigilant in monitoring compliance with this criterion;

51.  Expects the EIB group to be particularly watchful with regard to compliance with Article 140(6) of the Financial Regulation, which provides that financial instruments ‘shall not generate undue advantages, in particular in the form of undue dividends or profits for third parties’, given fears that the EFSI could in some way contribute to the ‘socialisation of risks and privatisation of profits’ in the light of financing experiences in cases such as the Castor project in Spain or the Passante di Mestre project in Italy;

Considering the Project Bonds Initiative (PBI)

52.  Considers that the Project Bonds Initiative (PBI) should be seriously assessed with regard to its financial, social and environmental impact; urges the Commission to set up an inclusive and open consultation process at EU level, with the active participation of representatives from the European Parliament, on the future of project bonds for the period 2016-2020 before the current PBI pilot phase is fully rolled out;

Updating the external dimension of EIB interventions

53.  Welcomes the EIB’s renewed external lending mandate for 2014-2020, which provides an EU guarantee covering the EIB’s external operations up to EUR 30 billion, as well as its core objectives, namely local private sector development, development of social and economic infrastructure, and climate change adaptation and mitigation;

54.  Calls on the EIB to pay attention to third countries and regions outside the EU suffering from conflict and extreme poverty, the main goal being to reduce the development gap between the EU and those regions, as well as to contribute to SME support programmes in trading partner countries, including through sufficient funding for the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) Facility for SMEs, with a special focus on the Southern Mediterranean and Eastern European Neighbourhood countries; calls on the EIB to work alongside the African Development Bank (AfDB) to finance long-term investments in the service of economic development; welcomes the fact that EU grants are increasingly blended with EIB lending in order to achieve better project results in EU partner countries;

55.  Urges the EIB to continue to actively promote sustainable growth in both developed and developing countries in order to support sustainable development around the world; stresses that the EIB as the financial arm of the Union must play its part in fulfilling the UN Sustainable Development Goals; calls for the post-2015 development agenda to be given special attention in the review of the mid-term external lending mandate of the EIB in 2016;

56.  Encourages the EIB to develop and deploy the necessary comprehensive approach in response to the severe challenges generated by the flow of migrants to Europe, including enhanced operations in countries of origin of such flows as well as in countries which border directly on countries of origin;

57.  Calls on the EIB, in this connection, to focus its activities on supporting investment needs in urban, health, educational and social infrastructure, stimulating economic activities that create new job opportunities and promoting cross-border cooperation between Member States and third countries;

58.  Points out that the EIB is an important actor for promoting EU foreign policy priorities and objectives; recommends enhanced coordination and cooperation between the EIB and the external policy services and instruments of the EU; calls for the continuation and improvement of the systematic ex-ante and ex-post assessments of the economic, social and environmental impact of EIB-supported projects against EEAS goals and the general principles guiding Union external action as referred to in Article 21 TEU and the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan for Human Rights; calls, with regard to investments outside the EU, for an in-depth report on any possible losses and on how and in what cases the guarantee instrument has been used; welcomes the fact that the EIB has held a series of seminars on business and human rights;

59.  Calls on the EIB to provide Parliament and the public with detailed information on EIB funding and the performance of the Business Ombudsman in the Ukraine;

60.  Welcomes the solution found in conjunction with the World Bank enabling the EIB to contribute to facilitating Ukrainian gas purchases;

61.  Expresses its intention to scrutinise closely the implementation of the EIB’s external mandate ahead of the mid-term review, while bearing in mind the potential activation of an additional EUR 3 billion; confirms its commitment to examining closely the first ‘project completion reports’ to be published under the external lending mandate for the period 2014-2020; requests that the European Court of Auditors produce a special report on the performance and alignment with EU policies of EIB external lending activities;

Enhancing the EIB’s governance, transparency and control framework

62.  Welcomes the strong asset quality of the EIB, with its rate of impaired loans close to 0 % (0.2 %) of the total loan portfolio and its prudent management of liquidity; considers it essential that the EIB should keep its triple-A credit rating in order to preserve its access to international capital markets under the best funding conditions;

63.  Suggests that the EIB enhance its sectoral analysis capacities and publish aggregate statistical data, as well as information regarding sub-projects, facilitating a targeted approach to certain sectors or types of SMEs; emphasises the need to include in EIB annual reports a more comprehensive and detailed analysis of investment requirements by sector in the EU, in order to be able to identify any areas in which investment falls short of what is required for the pursuit of the EU’s priorities; believes that the EIB should assess the ability of its investment instruments to rectify such shortfalls;

64.  Underlines the importance accorded by the EIB to its policy of zero tolerance of fraud, corruption and collusion and its commitment to strong integrity and ethical rules; welcomes, in this context, the approval by the EIB Board of an updated anti-fraud policy and the EIB Group Annual Report on Anti-Fraud Activities – 2014; expects the EIB to stop further loan disbursements to projects under ongoing national or European corruption investigations;

65.  Welcomes the adoption of a revised EIB Group Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism Framework (AML-CFT) in July 2014; encourages the EIB to pursue dialogue with civil society on the improvement of its non-cooperative jurisdictions (NCJ) policy; calls on the EIB to establish a new responsible taxation policy, starting from the review of its NCJ policy in 2016; calls on the EIB to make both direct funding and funding via intermediaries contingent upon disclosure of both country-by-country tax-relevant data along the lines of the CRD IV provision for credit institutions, and beneficial ownership information;

66.  Calls on the EIB, in the context of the ex-ante assessments of undertakings which are the subject of judicial investigations, to update its policies on anti-money laundering and on combating the financing of terrorism and organised crime;

67.  Takes note of the report on the implementation of the EIB’s transparency policy in 2014; insists on the need to achieve the highest levels of transparency and institutional accountability by ensuring the proactive public disclosure of exhaustive and sound budgetary information and access to financial data related to projects funded by the EIB;

68.  Calls for maximum transparency and publicity regarding the system of contracts and subcontracts, and for Parliament to be given access to information and financial documentation in every case;

69.  Encourages the EIB to strictly follow the requirements related to the public register of environmental documents under the Aarhus Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006), and to continue its regular reporting on its lending activities outside the EU in accordance with the International and Transparency Initiative (IATI) standards;

70.  Reiterates that the EIB should reinforce its due diligence activities so as to improve the quality of information on ultimate beneficiaries and to more effectively prevent transactions with financial intermediaries with a negative record in terms of transparency, fraud, corruption, organised crime, money laundering and harmful social and environmental impacts or registered in offshore financial centres or tax havens which resort to aggressive tax planning; calls on the EIB not to use the Project Bond Initiative to fund activities infiltrated by organised crime; stresses once again the need to establish a stringent public list of criteria for selection of financial intermediaries by the EIB, jointly with the Commission;

71.  Calls on the EIB to develop more stringent rules on conflicts of interest and clear, strict and transparent criteria for public-private partnerships receiving funding, in order to ensure that not only the investment part of the projects are fairly shared by both public and private partners but also the risks involved in the investments so as to safeguard public interest; calls on the EIB to strengthen the know-how base for the participation of governments, regions and municipalities in public-private partnership structures, including by providing them with guidelines;

72.  Calls on the EIB to ensure that companies participating in projects co-financed by the EIB should be required to adhere to the principle of equal pay and pay transparency and to the principle of gender equality as set out in Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation; points out furthermore that when deciding which projects to finance, the EIB should take into account the corporate social responsibility measures taken by candidate companies;

73.  Believes that regular updates on the management costs and fees incurred by the EIB and on the impact of financed projects in terms of employment and added economic value would be useful;

74.  Recommends publication on the EIB website of non-confidential documents such as Corporative Operational Plans for previous years, interinstitutional agreements and memorandums, and other relevant agreements, as well as disclosure of the minutes of the meetings of the EIB managing bodies on a regular basis, starting with January 2016; considers that better public access to documents is a key element for the transparency, accountability and integrity of the institution;

75.  Welcomes the process of reviewing the EIB Complaints Mechanism policy, launched in September 2015, and the public consultation opened for relevant stakeholders; expects that the ongoing revision of the Complaints Mechanism will improve and enhance its independence and effectiveness and will contribute as well to the greater effectiveness and efficiency of the Complaints Mechanism Office; calls on the EIB Management Committee to take on board the recommendations of that office and to act on the opinions of the European Ombudsman; calls for a steady flow of information between the EIB Complaints Mechanism Office and the EIB Board of Directors; believes that there is a need to update the Memorandum of Understanding between the EIB and the European Ombudsman in order for the Ombudsman to exercise external scrutiny over the EIB more actively and to improve monitoring procedures and further accountability of the EIB;

76.  Welcomes the annual reports for the 2014 financial year of the EIB Audit Committee, and urges the responsible EIB bodies to ensure full compliance with best prudential banking practices in the areas where full compliance was not achieved in 2014; takes note of the EIB management’s intention to reorganise the Bank’s control functions; supports the Audit Committee’s request for a respective implementation plan as well as its intention to carefully monitor further developments; endorses the fact that the Audit Committee has cautioned the EIB management and services to the effect that the EIB should maintain its capacity while not weakening the current Internal Control Framework;

77.  Considers that EIB Annual Reports should devote a greater focus to the outcomes of projects completed; calls in this context on the EIB, in conjunction with project partners, to produce a set of results from each project completed which assesses the effectiveness of EIB funding;

78.  Notes the expiry, on 27 October 2015, of the Tripartite Agreement mentioned in Article 287(3) TFEU, governing cooperation between the EIB, the Commission and the Court of Auditors with respect to the control methods exercised by the Court regarding the EIB’s activity in managing Union and Member State funds; calls on the three institutions to cooperate in the process of renewal and updating of this agreement, and to ensure that the renewed agreement covers the already existing and any new EIB instruments or initiatives involving public funds from the EU or the European Development Fund; calls in this context for the European Court of Auditors to be given enhanced powers in order to evaluate and report more thoroughly on EIB lending practices, instruments and initiatives when directly related to the use of EU budget appropriations;

Towards comprehensive parliamentary accountability

79.  Considers that the evolving complexity and growing volume of EIB activities, together with the continuing uncertainties on the financial markets, make it even more necessary to find solutions to put in place effective prudential banking supervision of the EIB; regrets, therefore, that Parliament’s proposals, previously put forward, for introducing regulatory external prudential supervision were not taken into consideration, by neither the Commission nor the EIB;

80.  Supports the efforts being made by the parties involved to draw up an interinstitutional agreement between the European Parliament and the EIB, providing for enhanced cooperation between the two institutions; calls furthermore for regular structured dialogue between the President of the EIB and the European Parliament to ensure increased parliamentary oversight of the EIB’s activities; calls furthermore on the EIB, as part of this interinstitutional agreement, to agree to sign an agreement with Parliament to allow Members of the European Parliament to ask direct questions to its President with an agreed timeline for response, as already happens with the ECB President;

°

°  °

81.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European Investment Bank and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

20.11.2015

OPINION of the Committee on International Trade

for the Committee on Budgetary Control

on the European Investment Bank (EIB) – Annual Report 2014

(2015/2127(INI))

Rapporteur: Yannick Jadot

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on International Trade calls on the Committee on Budgetary Control, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Calls on the Commission to establish, in cooperation with the EEAS, a framework for annual reporting by the EIB on its operations outside of the EU with regard to compliance with the general principles guiding Union external action as referred to in Article 21 TEU and the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan for Human Rights; urges the Commission to ensure that the projects supported by the EIB are in line with EU policies and respect European interests, and recommends improving ex-post controls assessing the economic, social and environmental impact of EIB supported projects against EEAS goals; calls, with regard to investments outside the EU, for an in-depth report about any possible losses and about how and in what cases the guarantee instrument has been used;

2.  Calls on the EIB to pay greater attention to the impact its operations have on human rights and labour rights, and to further develop its policy on social standards into a human rights policy in the area of banking; suggests, for this purpose, the inclusion of human rights benchmarks in its project evaluations;

3.  Welcomes any initiative by the EIB to increase transparency and stakeholder consultation, and in particular the EIB public consultation on climate action; commends the work that the EIB has done so far on an active climate policy, including the provision of EUR 19.1 billion to support climate action projects; believes that the EIB can further strengthen its position as a leader in the climate field; looks forward to the update of the EIB climate strategy outside of the EU, with the expectation of an action plan detailing an increase in the number of climate-related projects in its portfolio; calls on the EIB to annually report on the implementation of its climate policy;

4.  Urges the EIB to continue to actively promote sustainable growth in both developed and developing countries in order to support sustainable development around the world; stresses that the EIB as the financial arm of the Union has to play its part in fulfilling the UN Sustainable Development Goals; calls for the post-2015 development agenda to be given special attention in the review of the mid-term external lending mandate of the EIB in 2016;

5.  Asks the EIB to review its emissions performance standard in 2016 and to lower emission thresholds to 350g CO2/kWh so that only the most efficient fossil fuel power plants are given support;

6.  Recommends focusing lending operations on smaller-scale, off-grid decentralised renewable energy projects involving citizens and communities, and integrating the Energy Efficiency First principle in all EIB policies and operations;

7.  Welcomes the fact that the EIB has held a series of seminars on business and human rights;

8.  Urges the EIB to take greater advantage of the fact that it is subject to EU human rights, social and environmental rules and to EU judicial mechanisms which allow it to upgrade its substantive and procedural accountability towards external stakeholders;

9.  Commends the high level of transparency achieved by the EIB; suggests further improvements in transparency with regard to the assessment of the economic and social impact of the EIB’s intermediated loans;

10.  Recalls that SMEs are the backbone of the European economy; stresses that over 600 000 SMEs, employing more than six million people, are responsible for one third of EU total exports; emphasises that access to finance is one of the most pressing issues for EU SMEs and calls therefore on the EIB to ensure that SMEs are one of the main recipients of EIB funding;

11.  Recommends that the internal Complaints Mechanism Division of the EIB should launch an investigation into the transparency, effectiveness and development impacts of the intermediated lending of the EIB, and for the EIB to act on the outcomes of this investigation, leading to a list of criteria for the selection of financial intermediaries;

13.  Asks the EIB to refrain from cooperation with financial intermediaries which have a negative track record in terms of transparency, tax evasion or aggressive tax planning practices, or which use other harmful tax practices such as tax rulings, abusive transfer pricing, fraud, and corruption or which cause harmful environmental and social impacts, or which have no substantial local ownership;

14.  Commends the EIB’s engagement in favour of SMEs and against discrimination of smaller economic entities, and calls on the EIB to improve effective access to funding for SMEs originating from the EIF and EIB’s external lending capacities; suggests the establishment of pro-active SME and micro-enterprise policy requirements for intermediary banks disbursing EIB financing through global loans, ensuring policy coherence with EU development policies aimed at formalising the informal economy; welcomes the EIB trade facilitation programs, in particular, the SME Trade Finance Facility offering guarantees to foreign banks providing trade finance to SMEs and thereby contributing to reigniting trade flows and alleviating cash collateral constraints, and other new trade finance projects aimed at countries heavily impacted by the economic crisis or tailor-made financial solutions such as the European Progress Microfinance Facility dedicated to financial inclusion;

15.  Welcomes in particular the EIB’s financing activity in support of infrastructure and transport projects in Europe’s regions; emphasises that financial support of this kind significantly increases the development potential of trade, by fostering growth and competitiveness, in particular in those areas with natural geographical disadvantages;

16.  Calls on the EIB to ensure that companies participating in projects co-financed by the EIB should be required to adhere to the principle of equal pay and pay transparency and to the principle of gender equality as set out in Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation; points out furthermore that when deciding which projects to finance, the EIB should take into account the corporate social responsibility measures taken by candidate companies;

17.  Considers the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) Facility for Small and Medium Enterprises to be insufficiently funded considering the importance of its objective to foster quality jobs and sustainable development, with EUR 200 million to be provided over a ten-year period in three different Eastern Partnership countries via the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the EIB;

18.  Calls on the EIB to concentrate the funds earmarked for developing countries on infrastructure development and to work alongside the African Development Bank (AfDB) to finance long-term investments in the service of economic development;

19.  Welcomes the solution found in conjunction the World Bank enabling the EIB to contribute to facilitating Ukrainian gas purchases;

20.  Calls on the EIB to leverage financial resources by partnering with others and by blending EU grants with EIB lending;

21.  Considers that the EIB’s contribution to SME support programmes in trading partner countries in the eastern and southern neighbourhood should focus on facilitating the participation of these enterprises in European value chains; points out that the method of relying on partner banks on local financial markets can be problematic for access to finance for SMEs when the local interest rates are very high such as in Ukraine;

22.  Calls on the EIB, in the context of the ex-ante assessments of undertakings which are the subject of judicial investigations, to update its policies on anti-money laundering and on combating the financing of terrorism and organised crime, including the establishment of a new responsible taxation policy, starting with a review of its policy on non-cooperative jurisdictions (NCJ policy) in 2016;

23.  Calls on the EIB to retain the necessary flexibility within its mandate to react to disruptive developments abroad and to potentially increase external financing for the EU’s eastern and southern Mediterranean neighbourhood in times of crises;

24.  Recommends that the EIB should make both direct funding and funding via intermediaries contingent upon the disclosure of country-by-country tax-relevant data along the lines of the CRD-4 (Capital Requirements Directive) provision for credit institutions;

25.  Calls on the EIB to collect data on the tax payments resulting from its investment and lending operations, especially on taxation of corporate profits and particularly in developing countries, and to analyse and publish this data annually;

26.  Believes that any further development of the EIB’s missions and responsibilities must be matched by a commensurate increase in the bank’s capital.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

19.11.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

32

0

2

Members present for the final vote

Maria Arena, Tiziana Beghin, Daniel Caspary, Salvatore Cicu, Marielle de Sarnez, Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Christofer Fjellner, Eleonora Forenza, Karoline Graswander-Hainz, Ska Keller, Gabrielius Landsbergis, David Martin, Emmanuel Maurel, Alessia Maria Mosca, Franck Proust, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández, Tokia Saïfi, Marietje Schaake, Helmut Scholz, Joachim Schuster, Adam Szejnfeld, Hannu Takkula

Substitutes present for the final vote

Klaus Buchner, Nicola Danti, Edouard Ferrand, Agnes Jongerius, Seán Kelly, Fernando Ruas, Marita Ulvskog

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Edward Czesak, Rosa D’Amato, Dario Tamburrano, Janusz Wojciechowski

10.12.2015

OPINION of the Committee on Budgets

for the Committee on Budgetary Control

on the European Investment Bank (EIB) – Annual Report 2014

(2015/2127(INI))

Rapporteur: Eider Gardiazabal Rubial

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Budgets calls on the Committee on Budgetary Control, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Welcomes the launch of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and urges the EIB to ensure the additionality of its financing operations over ongoing EU programmes and traditional EIB activities; is worried that many projects selected during the warehousing phase would have found access to financing under normal conditions and do not meet the additionality requirement; recalls that the EFSI guarantee was meant to enable the EIB to take more risks while maintaining its triple-A-rating; stresses that it will be extremely vigilant in monitoring compliance with this criterion; highlights the need for more transparency, which requires improved reporting practices; calls, furthermore, on the EIB to make a transparent and sound use of the scoreboard;

2.  Welcomes the cooperation between the EIB and National Promotional Banks and Institutions (NPBIs), notably in the framework of the EFSI, in view of their special skills in, and knowledge of, the provision of funding to micro, small and medium-sized firms and to innovative start-ups; recalls the need for full transparency and to prioritise result-orientation with regard to the involvement of NPBIs in EFSI projects;

3.  Emphasises that SMEs are the backbone of the European economy and should remain the principal target of the EIB’s lending activities by enforcing instruments such as the SME Trade Finance Facility or tailor-made financial solutions such as the InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility;

4.  Welcomes the new information provided by the working document on financial instruments accompanying the draft budget; regrets, however, the lack of a global overview of the annual commitments and payments to the EIB and expects further details;

5.  Stresses the importance of avoiding geographical imbalances in the EIB’s lending activities so as to ensure a broader geographical and sectorial allocation;

6.  Expects the EIB group to be particularly watchful with regard to compliance with Article 140(6) of the Financial Regulation, which provides that financial instruments ‘shall not generate undue advantages, in particular in the form of undue dividends or profits for third parties’, given fears that EFSI could in some way contribute to the ‘socialisation of risks and privatisation of profits’ in the light of financing experiences in cases such as the Castor project in Spain or the Passante di Mestre project in Italy;

7.  Considers that beyond the EIB and NPBIs, involvement of all relevant actors is needed to address different needs and market conditions in the Member States and to achieve genuine additionality;

8.  Strongly encourages the EIB to use all means, including the European Investment Advisory Hub, to actively promote the participation of NPBIs in the financial instruments it is entrusted to implement; expects in particular that NPBIs, or associations thereof, contribute a fair number of projects, and not only finance;

9.  Expresses its intention to scrutinise closely the implementation of the EIB’s external mandate ahead of the mid-term review, while bearing in mind the potential activation of an additional EUR 3 billion; confirms its commitment to examine closely the first ‘project completion reports’ to be published under the external lending mandate for the period 2014-2020;

10.  Calls, in this connection, for enhancing the EIB’s external mandate in order to respond to the current challenges which the EU is facing; stresses the importance of the EIB’s financing activities in the Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood countries; recalls that the main financing activities should also aim at addressing both urgent needs and longer-term challenges such as rebuilding infrastructure, ensuring adequate housing and emergency-response infrastructure and combating youth unemployment;

11.  Encourages the EIB to strengthen its activities so as to help address the external dimension and root causes of the current refugee and migration crisis; calls on the EIB, in this connection, to focus its activities on supporting investment needs in urban, health, educational and social infrastructure, stimulating economic activities that create new job opportunities and promoting cross-border cooperation between Member States and third countries;

12.  Fully supports an effective check that all projects are aligned with EU objectives and policies at the earliest stages of the EIB’s selection process, so that only fully compliant projects are included in the pipeline; calls on the EIB to further enhance transparency and access to information both internally and for the public, in particular in connection with the selection, monitoring and evaluation of activities and programmes; calls, furthermore, for as much information as possible to be published on the contracting and subcontracting system and, at all events, for Parliament to be given access to financial information and documentation on that system;

13.  Points to the dramatically high unemployment rates in many Member States, in particular among young people, and urges the EIB to take this situation into consideration when implementing its policies;

14.  Emphasises the need to include in EIB annual reports a more comprehensive and detailed analysis of investment requirements by sector in the EU, in order to be able to identify any areas in which investment falls short of what is required for the pursuit of the EU’s priorities; believes that the EIB should assess the ability of its investment instruments to rectify such shortfalls.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

10.12.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

20

4

2

Members present for the final vote

Jean Arthuis, Richard Ashworth, Lefteris Christoforou, Gérard Deprez, José Manuel Fernandes, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Monika Hohlmeier, Bernd Kölmel, Vladimír Maňka, Ernest Maragall, Clare Moody, Siegfried Mureşan, Liadh Ní Riada, Jan Olbrycht, Paul Rübig, Petri Sarvamaa, Eleftherios Synadinos, Isabelle Thomas, Inese Vaidere, Monika Vana, Marco Zanni, Auke Zijlstra

Substitutes present for the final vote

Mercedes Bresso, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Andrey Novakov, Marco Valli

8.12.2015

OPINION of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

for the Committee on Budgetary Control

on European Investment Bank (EIB) – Annual Report 2014

(2015/2127(INI))

Rapporteur: Dimitrios Papadimoulis

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs calls on the Committee on Budgetary Control, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Takes note of the EIB Annual Report 2014 and welcomes the increase of 6.92 %, to EUR 80.3 billion, in the EIB Group’s lending, in an economic context characterised by limited and fragile growth and in some cases recession; is deeply concerned at the still high, and, in some Member States, increasing levels of unemployment, inequality and poverty , as well as, weak investment in Europe; points out the uncertainty in the financial markets; underlines that in these economic and social circumstances many Member States are falling far behind with regard to their economic and Europe 2020 targets;

2.  Takes note of the 2012 increase of EUR 10 billion in the EIB’s capital, and calls on the Member States to consider once again increasing the capital of this European institution;

3.  Regrets the fact that in 2013 overall investment in the EU decreased by 13 % compared with the pre-crisis period, with investment in some Member States decreasing by 25 % or even as much as 60 %, creating a dangerous investment imbalance in the EU; is of the opinion that growth-enhancing and job-creating investments remain a major challenge for the EIB, including a more efficient allocation of funds from the EU and Member States for the years to come; believes that the EIB has an important role to play in supporting investments for sustainable, convergent and inclusive growth, as part of an overall EU effort in this direction;

4.  Calls for an increase in EIB investment activity, paying particular attention to strategic infrastructure, research, innovation, SMEs, R&D, and innovative start-ups in a substantial and prudent way, in order to meet the needs of the real economy and address the considerable investment gap that European economies face; calls for the improvement of its activity in line with Protocol (No 28) on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion; stresses the importance of creating new investment tools that increase the risk-bearing capacity of the EIB and promote efficient and effective investments, preferably by not crowding out private investments; welcomes the increase in signatures to the highest levels since 2009, but stresses that signature levels have further potential; notes the urgent need for access to finance, especially in the case of SMEs;

5.  Calls on the EIB to re-examine its strategic planning programme in line with its mandate; urges the EIB to finance investment projects that have the highest economic and social impact ;

6.  Emphasises that in order for the EIB to be able to support set economic goals, trust in the soundness of the financial situation of the institution itself as well as in the projects it supports are key; stresses, therefore, that the bank’s lending activities have to be of high quality;

7.  Emphasises that expanding the EIB’s financing activities is no substitute for consolidated budgets and structural reforms in the Member States;

8.  Emphasises that investment, structural reforms and sound budgetary policies must be part of an overall strategy;

9.  Considers that the EIB should be not only a financial institution but also a knowledge and good practices bank;

10.  Suggests that the EIB enhance its sectoral analysis capacities;

11.  Calls on the EIB and other EU investment bodies to enforce cooperation in order to avoid risks of overlapping of investments;

12.  Recalls that Parliament has welcomed the establishment of the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI); emphasises the need for the EFSI to function in an effective, transparent and fair way in line with the criteria of its mandate and regulation; calls on the EIB to implement and further develop the EFSI in close cooperation with the co-legislators, including through a timely and mandatory conclusion of the pending agreement between Parliament and the EIB;

13.  Welcomes the improvements to the EIB’s advisory services, which will make for more efficient use of EU funds and more effective preparation and implementation of projects;

14.  Stresses that the EIB should consider the viability of projects as the core criterion for lending; calls on the EIB to focus on investments in the real economy in order to stimulate jobs and growth in the EU;

15.  Calls on the EIB to adopt an effective and up-to-date Responsible Taxation Policy, to be overseen by a Tax Unit and detailed within an Annual Tax Report of the EIB; calls for this policy to involve the EIB actively, using its relocation clause and systematically publishing the domicile of funds which benefit from EIB support; calls on the EIB to refrain from funding beneficiaries or financial intermediaries and from cooperating with financial partners with a proven negative track record, and to enforce prevention measures and regular tax assessments against non-cooperative tax jurisdictions officially declared to be tax havens by the Commission, tax and fiscal fraud and tax evasion, as well as illegal and aggressive tax avoidance; calls on the EIB to deal more effectively with risks of corruption and organised crime infiltration in EIB projects; calls on the EIB to reclaim loans where they were not spent according to the rules, and requests a list of outstanding EIB transactions, especially those featuring in the Commission’s list of ‘top 30’ tax havens globally;

16.  Calls on the EIB to evaluate private-public partnerships in terms of their growth, jobs and productivity input and added value for the relevant economies and societies and the influence on public budgets, in a cost-efficient and effective way, notably given the present outlook of low long-term interest rates; calls the EIB to strengthen the know-how base for participation of governments, regions and municipalities in PPP structures;

17.  Underlines in this context that Member States where private-public partnerships are less developed could consider guidelines to encourage more efficient use of this type of contracts;

18.  Notes that the EIB bonds are the only example of Union debt issuances;

19.  Welcomes the EIB’s policy of increasing the financing of SMEs and investing for youth, but is concerned for the time being that the results for the real economy and employment remain limited; welcomes the capital increase for the European Investment Fund (EIF) from EUR 3 billion to EUR 4.5 billion, and calls on the EIF to provide an analytical report of its achievements based on this substantial increase; asks the EIB, similarly, to report on the results of the EIB Group Risk Enhancement Mandate for the benefit of innovative and high-risk SMEs;

20.  Welcomes the fact that in 2014 the EIB was the biggest issuer with EUR 4.3 billion in the Green Bond market, which was increased significantly reaching issuance of EUR 28 billion, and calls on the EIB to further enforce policies for environment-friendly renewable energy; also welcomes the fact that the EIB will be carrying out and requesting the publication of a climate assessment, and calls on the EIB to follow the recommendations of the Commission and the Waste Framework Directive and to prioritise investment in projects placed at the top of the waste hierarchy and in any other form of energy recovery;

21.  Stresses the importance of regional development, and calls on the EIB to enhance dialogue and cooperation with regional and local authorities, banks and agencies; considers that, in this framework, cross-border cooperation should be also supported;

22.  Calls on the EIB to pay attention to third countries and regions outside the EU suffering from conflict and extreme poverty, the main goal being to reduce the development gap between the EU and those regions, with a special focus on the Southern Mediterranean and Eastern European Neighbourhood countries; calls for full respect for the legislation of the beneficiary countries; calls on the EIB to further increase the efficiency of the Results Measurement Framework (REM) for activities outside the EU; requests that the European Court of Auditors produce a special report on the performance and alignment with EU policies of EIB external lending activities; welcomes the fact that EU grants are increasingly blended with EIB lending in order to achieve better project results in EU partner countries;

23.  Calls on the EIB to further enhance transparency and access to information both internally, for the European Parliament and other institutions, as well as for the public, especially regarding the contracting and subcontracting system, the results of internal investigations and the selection, monitoring and evaluation of activities and programmes, on the basis of clear and measurable indicators, as well as the methodology and results of the ex ante impact assessment and ex post reporting for each project financed, provided that no sensitive business information is involved; urges the EIB to enforce the independence and efficiency of the Complaint Mechanism Office and to take further steps to reduce bureaucracy, increase its capacity for macroeconomic analysis and enhance gender representation in its senior positions; regrets the lack of diversity in the management committee, board of governors and board of directors of the EIB, in particular with regard to gender equality;

24.  Requests the EIB to increase its reporting to Parliament and other stakeholders regarding its decisions, progress achieved and the impact of its lending activities within and outside the EU, through regular structures for dialogue increasing parliamentary oversight, including on the implementation of its Non-Compliant Jurisdiction Policy, and to fully comply with the EFSI regulation, notably concerning interinstitutional cooperation with Parliament; calls on the EIB to apply to its ordinary activities the same reporting and accountability provisions as set out in the EFSI regulation; in this spirit, asks the EIB to agree to sign an agreement with Parliament to allow direct questions to its President, as already happens with the ECB President, and to improve the selection process for its posts of Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

1.12.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

48

5

4

Members present for the final vote

Gerolf Annemans, Burkhard Balz, Hugues Bayet, Pervenche Berès, Udo Bullmann, Esther de Lange, Fabio De Masi, Anneliese Dodds, Markus Ferber, Jonás Fernández, Sven Giegold, Roberto Gualtieri, Brian Hayes, Gunnar Hökmark, Danuta Maria Hübner, Petr Ježek, Othmar Karas, Georgios Kyrtsos, Werner Langen, Sander Loones, Bernd Lucke, Olle Ludvigsson, Ivana Maletić, Costas Mavrides, Bernard Monot, Luděk Niedermayer, Stanisław Ożóg, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Sirpa Pietikäinen, Dariusz Rosati, Pirkko Ruohonen-Lerner, Alfred Sant, Molly Scott Cato, Peter Simon, Renato Soru, Theodor Dumitru Stolojan, Marco Valli, Tom Vandenkendelaere, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Jakob von Weizsäcker, Marco Zanni, Sotirios Zarianopoulos

Substitutes present for the final vote

Matt Carthy, Philippe De Backer, Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz, Marian Harkin, Sophia in ‘t Veld, Barbara Kappel, Verónica Lope Fontagné, Paloma López Bermejo, Thomas Mann, Alessia Maria Mosca, Michel Reimon, Maria João Rodrigues

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Agnes Jongerius, Anneleen Van Bossuyt, Igor Šoltes

13.11.2015

OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development

for the Committee on Budgetary Control

on the European Investment Bank (EIB) – Annual Report 2014

(2015/2127(INI))

Rapporteur: Ivan Jakovčić

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Regional Development calls on the Committee on Budgetary Control, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Welcomes the increase in the EIB Group’s total financing activities in 2014, including over EUR 50 billion in additional lending and more than EUR 150 billion in mobilised investment, which is essential for complementing cohesion policy and the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds);

2.  Recognises that the economic and financial crisis and its impact on traditional credit systems as well as existing financial and non-financial barriers resulted in a lack of investment which undermines the full growth potential of the European economy and jeopardises the potential of MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises) development; welcomes, in this regard, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and its potential to enhance private investments;

3.  Recalls that the EFSI must also contribute to cohesion and stresses the need to ensure consistency and complementarity between the EFSI and other EU policies and instruments, in particular the ESI Funds, which may lead to the creation of a stable and friendly investment and business environment; recommends Member States to designate National Promotional Banks;

4.  Considers that there is a need to develop a communication policy on EIB activities to ensure that all levels of government are kept informed of these programmes; firmly believes that there is a need to simplify the rules governing the support given by the ESI Funds to financial instruments under the EIB; calls on the EIB to better promote their planning consultancy activities, by aiding the managing authorities of the ESI Funds to better spend the resources available to them, for the benefit of all European citizens;

5.  Welcomes the launch of new tools and services under InnovFin that foster research and innovation;

6.  Takes note of the EIB Operational Plan for 2015-2017; welcomes the fact that it recognises that speeds of recovery differ between the Member States and that it has set economic and social cohesion as a cross-cutting policy goal;

7.  Believes that the EIB’s own rules and procedures, including on horizontal and sector policies, should apply to all its actions that involve the EU budget, including the EFSI; believes the selection of EIB/EIF financing operations should be transparent, accountable and based on quality criteria; underlines the need for the regular assessment of the functioning of such instruments, as well as effectiveness in the implementation of due diligence;

8.  Welcomes the enlarged role the EIB Group will play in implementing cohesion policy for the 2014-2020 programming period; believes this is a step in the right direction towards improving synergies between the EIB and ESI Funds; considers that there is a need to use the financial instruments taking account of the territorial aspect and diversity in towns, cities and rural areas also with a view to improving cohesion within the regions; emphasises the importance of maintaining a constant dialogue with the managing authorities of operational programmes in order to establish synergies to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, amongst other things, in supporting MSMEs and ensuring their access to financial instruments; expresses its concern, however, about the low rate of disbursement of cohesion policy funding in financial instruments to final beneficiaries in the 2007-2013 programming period;

9.  Emphasises the EIB’s role in financing works to assure the basic needs of third country populations;

10.  Calls on the EIB to demand greater transparency from its financial intermediaries when it comes to allocating loans to candidate projects;

11.  Considers administrative burdens and a lack of administrative capacity a serious obstacle to successfully achieving cohesion policy goals; considers it important to review the administrative procedures and reduce such burdens; stresses the importance of the EIB’s advisory role and recognises the efforts undertaken in this context; welcomes the partnership between the Commission and the EIB in setting up the fi-compass advisory platform; calls on the EIB to provide the Commission and the Member States with a set of suggestions regarding administrative streamlining and capacity-building, given its acquired experience with public funding;

12.  Likewise considers that there is a need to strengthen cooperation between the Commission, the EIB and local and regional bodies to ensure that the financial instruments are used effectively to boost territorial development and cohesion policies;

13.  Calls on the EIB to increase its support to projects covered by the EU macro-regional strategies; stresses the importance of continuing to support sustainable innovative as well as traditional economic sectors in the EU; underlines the need to interconnect Europe by means of intermodal transport as well as place-based investments; calls, furthermore, for the establishment of financial and investment platforms in order to enable the bundling of funds from various sources and the mobilisation of investments needed for such macro-regional projects;

14.  Emphasises the results-oriented approach for cohesion policy for the 2014-2020 programming period; calls for more information, within the context of EIB annual reporting, on the results and the contribution of EIB activities to cohesion policy objectives; calls, in this context, on the Commission and the Member States to make full use of the possibilities afforded by Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 to increase the use of the financial instruments, where appropriate, for the period up to 2020 and calls on the EIB to further promote its instruments and the beneficiaries’ good practices, in order to enhance their attractiveness;

15.  Recalls the importance of multilateral cooperation between the EIB and the national promotional banks in order to foster synergies, share risks and costs, and ensure appropriate lending to EU projects with a positive impact on productivity, job creation, environmental protection and quality of life;

16.  Recalls that Parliament must play a fundamental role in monitoring the impact of these strategies and projects in terms of employment and economic growth; calls for a strengthened dialogue and constant exchange of information between the EIB and the Parliament, via regular meetings, with regard to EIB activities which have an impact on economic, social and territorial cohesion in the EU; believes that regular updates on the management costs and fees incurred by the EIB and on the impact of financed projects in terms of employment and added economic value would be useful.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

12.11.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

34

2

2

Members present for the final vote

Pascal Arimont, Victor Boştinaru, Andrea Cozzolino, Rosa D’Amato, Michela Giuffrida, Anna Hedh, Krzysztof Hetman, Ivan Jakovčić, Andrew Lewer, Louis-Joseph Manscour, Martina Michels, Iskra Mihaylova, Younous Omarjee, Mirosław Piotrowski, Stanislav Polčák, Julia Reid, Terry Reintke, Fernando Ruas, Monika Smolková, Maria Spyraki, Ruža Tomašić, Monika Vana, Matthijs van Miltenburg, Lambert van Nistelrooij, Derek Vaughan, Kerstin Westphal, Joachim Zeller

Substitutes present for the final vote

Andor Deli, Josu Juaristi Abaunz, Ivana Maletić, Jan Olbrycht, Demetris Papadakis, Tonino Picula, Claudia Schmidt, Hannu Takkula, Damiano Zoffoli, Milan Zver

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Stanisław Ożóg

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

23.2.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

22

0

3

Members present for the final vote

Nedzhmi Ali, Louis Aliot, Inés Ayala Sender, Zigmantas Balčytis, Ryszard Czarnecki, Dennis de Jong, Tamás Deutsch, Martina Dlabajová, Ingeborg Gräßle, Bogusław Liberadzki, Verónica Lope Fontagné, Monica Macovei, Dan Nica, Georgi Pirinski, Petri Sarvamaa, Claudia Schmidt, Bart Staes, Michael Theurer, Marco Valli, Derek Vaughan, Tomáš Zdechovský, Joachim Zeller

Substitutes present for the final vote

Cătălin Sorin Ivan, Benedek Jávor, Markus Pieper, Julia Pitera, Marco Zanni

(1)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0201.

(2)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0183.

(3)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0161.

(4)

OJ L 169, 01.07.2015, p. 1.

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