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Procedure : 2014/2156(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0057/2015

Texts tabled :

A8-0057/2015

Debates :

PV 30/04/2015 - 3
CRE 30/04/2015 - 3

Votes :

PV 30/04/2015 - 10.7
CRE 30/04/2015 - 10.7
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2015)0183

Texts adopted
PDF 220kWORD 108k
Thursday, 30 April 2015 - Strasbourg Final edition
European Investment Bank annual report 2013
P8_TA(2015)0183A8-0057/2015

European Parliament resolution of 30 April 2015 on the European Investment Bank - Annual Report 2013 (2014/2156(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the 2013 Activity Report of the European Investment Bank,

–  having regard to the 2013 Annual Financial Report of the European Investment Group,

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

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 October 2012 on innovative financial instruments in the context of the next Multiannual Financial Framework(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 February 2013 on the 2011 Annual Report of the European Investment Bank(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 March 2014 on the European Investment Bank (EIB) – Annual Report 2012(3),

–  having regard to the report by the President of the European Council of 26 June 2012, entitled ‘Towards a genuine economic and monetary union’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 July 2012 on the attractiveness of investing in Europe(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 February 2014 on long-term financing of the European economy(5),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication on Long-Term Financing of the European Economy (COM(2014)0168) of 27 March 2014,

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 28 and 29 June 2012, which notably proposed to increase the EIB capital of EUR 10 billion,

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 27 and 28 June 2013, which call for the creation of a new investment plan to support SMEs and boost the financing of the economy,

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 22 May 2013, which set out the objective of mobilising all EU policies in support of competitiveness, jobs and growth,

–  having regard to the Commission communications on innovative financial instruments: ‘A framework for the next generation of innovative financial instruments’ (COM(2011)0662) and ‘A pilot for the Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative’ (COM(2011)0660),

–  having regard to the capital increase of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), notably in relation to the question of relations between the EIB and the EBRD,

–  having regard to the decision on extending the scope of the EBRD to the Mediterranean area(6),

–  having regard to the new Memorandum of Understanding between the EIB and the EBRD signed on 29 November 2012,

–  having regard to Decision No 1080/2011/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011(7) on the EIB External Mandate 2007-2013,

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

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A8-0057/2015),

A.  whereas all possible resources from the Member States and the EU, including those of the EIB, need to be efficiently mobilised without delay to encourage and enhance public and private investments, boost competitiveness, re-establish sustainable and inclusive growth and promote the creation of quality jobs and infrastructure, in line with the Europe 2020 strategy and taking into account that the EIB is an instrument designed to support social cohesion and is able to provide valuable assistance to Member States facing difficulties in the critical social and economic situation currently confronting us;

B.  whereas the economic and financial crisis, coupled with austerity policies, has seriously undermined economic growth in many Member States, leading to rapidly worsening social conditions, steadily growing inequalities and imbalances between European regions and failure to achieve the objective of social cohesion and real convergence, thereby destabilising European integration and democracy;

C.  whereas the EIB is not a commercial bank and should continue to play the essential role of catalyst for financing sound public and private long-term investments, while continuing to implement best prudential banking practices in order to maintain its very strong capital position, with subsequent positive impacts on lending conditions;

D.  whereas particular efforts should be made to expand joint interventions (combining EIF or other guarantee tools) for financing SMEs or tangible and intangible sustainable infrastructures, recognising that one of the reasons for the fall in investment and credit is the loss of competitiveness of the economies of Member States;

E.  whereas the EIB should continue to fulfil its mandate for the financing of projects which are part of EU external action, while respecting high social and environmental standards;

F.  whereas the selection of EIB investments should be made independently and on the basis of their viability, added value and impact on economic recovery;

G.  whereas the EIB should evolve towards the development bank model in the context of improved macroeconomic coordination with the Member States;

H.  whereas the EIB should be not only a financial institution but also a bank of knowledge and good practice;

I.  whereas the relatively small and highly concentrated European Union securitisation market, providing limited SME loan securitisation, has shrunk still further as a result of the crisis;

Investment

1.  Takes note of the 2013 EIB Annual Report, the increase in the Group’s financing activities by 37 % to EUR 75,1 billion and the implementation of the capital increase of the EIB which took place in 2013; is concerned at the current situation of economic stalling in the EU, and in particular the significant decline in public and private investment – around 18 % below 2007 levels – and by the staggering 35 % drop in lending to SMEs between 2008 and 2013; underlines that such a decline represents a massive hurdle for a sustainable recovery as well as for genuine progress towards the Europe 2020 objectives;

2.  Points out, in that perspective, that national projections demonstrate that nearly half of all Member States will not achieve their national targets on education schemes and greenhouse gas reductions by 2020 and that trends regarding employment and poverty reduction are even worse;

3.  Concludes that the enhancement of EIB financing instruments is no substitute for national economic policy and structural reforms oriented towards sustainable growth and job creation;

4.  Takes note of the Commission Communication on an Investment Plan for Europe (COM(2014)0903) which involves existing funds and seeks to leverage private capital at a ratio of 1:15; notes the aim to revitalise the EU economy through the mobilisation of EUR 315 billion over the next three years under the new European Fund for Strategic Investments; draws attention to the fact that implementation of the Investment Plan will require the EIB to take on additional human resources in order to fulfil its mandate;

5.  Takes note in that context of the establishment of a Task Force, led by the Commission and the European Investment Bank, and takes note of the legislative proposals to be adopted under the ordinary legislative procedure to establish the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI); underlines the need to specify in these legislative proposals a high quality governance and selection process as well as a democratically accountable monitoring and evaluation framework underpinning the fund, which should be as transparent as possible in setting out the criteria that it will use to determine the projects that will be deemed suitable for inclusion in the pipeline;

6.  Expects the Commission’s investment plan to foster and facilitate access to finance in Member States and regions; recalls that it is essential that the EIB cooperate with the European funds in these Member States and regions in particular, so that productive public investments and essential infrastructure projects can be carried out;

7.  Believes that projects with European added value and a positive cost-benefit analysis should be prioritised; stresses the importance of implementing projects which could have a maximum impact in terms of job creation; underlines the need to focus on higher-risk projects that do not easily qualify for finance by banks; warns that the Task Force could face political pressure to foster projects favoured by special interest groups, leading to funds being misallocated to unprofitable investments that are not in the public interest;

8.  Emphasises that guarantees which the Commission foresees for the EFSI do not correspond to new money but to reallocated resources; underlines that it is of paramount importance to identify the opportunity costs of such reallocation and therefore to establish explicitly to what extent the overall returns from the foreseen additional investments to be co-financed by the EFSI are expected to exceed those that would have been generated had the reallocated resources been allocated as originally planned;

9.  Points out that the project selection process should aim at avoiding crowding-out and reshuffling effects and should therefore focus on projects of European added value with a high innovation-based potential, which meet the additionality criterion; emphasises the need to take into account the employment potential of the projects selected in those EU countries suffering from mass unemployment;

10.  Asks the Commission, in this respect, to carefully assess in its forthcoming legislative proposal the parts of the EU budget framework which are expected to provide guarantees to the EFSI, with a view to minimising the opportunity costs related to the redeployment of such resources; also calls on the Council, the Commission and the EIB Board of Governors to duly assess the redistribution effects the investment plan entails, namely a possible increase in investor profits at the cost of customers who have to pay for the use of new infrastructure in order to ensure an appropriate return on investment; calls on the EIB and the Commission to further assess the investment gap in the EU in terms of its composition, namely whether private or public investments are lacking, and to specify what kind of investments, private or public, are intended to be the subject of support and the expected scale of productive effects of the investment;

11.  Notes that the European Central Bank has expressed its readiness to purchase, on the secondary market, bonds issued by the EFSI, if the Fund should issue such bonds itself or if the EIB should do so on its behalf;

12.  Points out that it is necessary to strike a new balance between better evaluation and the best possible investment, and to steer the economy towards a path of sustainable growth and a job-rich recovery;

13.  Recalls the importance of the Europe 2020 strategy; underlines that the future ‘package’ of investments should better take into account the general objectives of cohesion policy, sustainability and energy efficiency; calls on the Commission and the EIB Council of Governors to enhance their performance indicators for quality investments with that perspective;

14.  Underlines that the EIB is called on to play an instrumental role in financing the Investment Plan for Europe by committing EUR 5 billion to the establishment of the new European Fund for Strategic Investments; calls, therefore, on the Council, the Commission and the EIB Board of Governors to duly assess the consistency between the new tasks assigned to the EIB within such a plan and the resources of the EIB;

15.  Is of the opinion that, in this respect, appropriate EIB involvement in the Investment Plan will require a substantial increase in EIB lending and borrowing ceilings within the next five years with a view to significantly increasing its balance sheet size; believes that an excessive level of leverage will undermine the objectives of the investment plan;

16.  Believes that promotion of the institutional framework for the operation of the single capital market will contribute positively to the faster implementation of the investment plan;

17.  Points out, however, that the current EIB operational corporate plan foresees a reduction in lending flows to EUR 67 billion in 2014 and 2015, while the middle of the targeted range for 2016 is expected to be EUR 58,5 billion;

18.  Stresses that the extra lending capacity resulting from the recent EUR 10 billion EIB capital increase has been underused; urges stakeholders involved to promote as far as possible actions to extend EIB lending;

19.  Calls on the Commission to encourage 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;

20.  Calls on the Commission and the EIB to foster the inclusion of investment with a clear social benefit, including increased levels of employment, within its scope of action, to boost, by lending, activities designed to reduce unemployment, with a particular focus on creating employment opportunities for young people, and to support public and productive investments and indispensable infrastructure projects, especially in Member States with high levels of unemployment and below-average GDP;

21.  Reiterates its cautious support to the development of public-private partnerships (PPPs) which, if well designed, can play an important role in long-term investment, the digital economy, research and innovation, human capital, and European transport, energy or telecommunications networks; regrets that flawed PPPs have turned into an expensive system of public financing of the private sector, generating public debt; points out, moreover, that such operations often face problems of opacity as well as asymmetric information in the execution clauses between the public and private agents, normally in favour of the private sector;

22.  Suggests that the EIB enhance its sectoral analysis capacities and its macroeconomic analytical work;

Risk-sharing instruments and project bonds

23.  Points out that risk-sharing instruments ultimately involving the provision of public subsidies should only be foreseen where there are market failures generating external costs or for the execution of missions of general interest such as the provision of public goods and services of general economic interest, bearing in mind that such a take always bears the risk of the socialisation of losses and the privatisation of returns; notes that in the event of failure this will lead to the public sector having to cover the losses;

24.  Points out that any involvement of public resources in risk-sharing instruments and more specifically in first-loss tranches of investment vehicles should either be explicitly linked to the reduction of measurable external negative costs, the generation of measurable positive external costs or the implementation of public services obligations and services of general economic interest; points out that Article 14 TFEU provides a legal basis for establishing such a link by means of an ordinary legislative proposal;

SMEs

25.  Emphasises that SMEs are the backbone of the European economy, and as such should be a principal target for investment; is concerned that access to finance remains one of the most pressing difficulties facing SMEs in Europe; stresses the need for more efficient allocation of SME funding, with a broad spectrum of private investors for the provision of such funding;

26.  Urges the EIB to fully analyse the drop in funding to SMEs and to come forward with a comprehensive plan to ensure SMEs across Europe are encouraged to apply for funding under the auspices of the EIB wherever possible; calls on the Commission and the EIB to assess the effect of the economic crisis on the banking system and the final recipients of EIB funding, in particular regarding SMEs, the social economy sector and public companies; asks the EIB to evaluate and report in detail on the impacts of its support to SMEs in Europe on the real economy and results for the years 2010-2014;

27.  Draws attention to the high proportion of microenterprises in the European economy and welcomes the steps taken by the EIB towards microfinance lending in Europe; calls for further investment in this sector in view of the importance of microenterprises in creating jobs;

28.  Highlights, in particular, the real benefits of using the risk-sharing mechanism in the promotion of funding for SMEs and innovation in Europe;

29.  Takes note of the increased support for SMEs in the European Union which amounted to EUR 21,9 billion, thus providing access to financing for more than 230 000 SMEs;

30.  Calls on the EIB to further increase its lending capacities to SMEs and innovative start-ups; stresses the importance of strengthening other EIB instruments, such as the European Progress Microfinance Facility;

31.  Welcomes the implementation and development of new activities in the trade finance area in the countries impacted by the economic crisis, especially with the SME Trade Finance Facility or tailor-made financial solutions such as the European Progress Microfinance Facility dedicated to financial inclusion; encourages the EIB to extend the benefits of these new instruments to new beneficiaries at European level;

32.  Insists that the evaluation carried out by the Commission in December 2014 take into account both the negative and the positive impacts of projects in the Project Bond Initiative (PBI) Pilot Phase; considers it regrettable that the EIB has supported some infrastructure projects that turned out to be unviable and unsustainable; considers that the EIB should invest in projects which bring tangible economic benefits, are climate-friendly and meet the needs and interests of the population they are intended to serve;

33.  Regrets the role played by the EIB and the Commission in the Castor project, which is funded in the framework of the PBI, involving a risk assessment which did not take account of the risk of increased seismic activity associated with the injection of gas, despite the existence of studies clearly warning of the potential dangers(8); urges the Commission and the EIB to take action in order to avoid Spanish citizens having to pay, through a higher public deficit or by raising energy costs, EUR 1 300 million in compensation over a disastrously assessed project; asks the Commission to follow the recommendations of the European Ombudsman and investigate whether the Spanish Government decisions on Castor could be considered prohibited state aid;

34.  Regrets that the EIB financed the highway bypass ‘Passante di Mestre’, after the Italian authorities publicly announced the arrest of the CEO of its main subcontractor for fiscal fraud; in light of the still ongoing investigations by the Italian authorities into the corruption scandal related to the construction and management of the ‘Passante di Mestre’, calls on the EIB not to finance the ‘Passante di Mestre’ project through the PBI or any other financial instrument, and to ensure that it implements its zero tolerance to fraud policy when considering the use of project bonds;

35.  Calls on the EIB to increase its risk-taking capacity by promoting lending towards those sectors of the economy which have the potential to generate growth and jobs but have difficulties in obtaining financing without proper guarantees;

36.  Calls, therefore, for a comprehensive evaluation of the pilot projects on the basis of an inclusive and open consultation process involving public, national and local bodies; also highlights the need for funded projects to be evaluated in terms of added value, the environment, productivity and jobs; points out that the PBI is still only at the pilot stage; also calls on the Commission to submit, via the ordinary legislative procedure, a legislative proposal which will better frame the future project bond strategy, including an enhancement of the EIB performance indicators framework for quality investment, so as to identify and measure both the impact of the funded projects in terms of external costs and their social and environmental returns as broadly as possible;

37.  Is concerned by the potential generalisation of PBIs as a means to reduce costs for private investment, either through lower interest rates or socialisation of losses, rather than the more limited scope of providing support to investments of public interest where private investment can be shown to provide indispensable expertise or know-how that is not available to the public sector;

Energy and climate

38.  Calls on the EIB to ensure proper implementation of its new energy lending criteria and to periodically and publicly report on their implementation;

39.  Calls on the EIB to step up its investment efforts with a view to reducing significantly its carbon footprint, and to work on policies which would help the Union to reach its climate targets; welcomes the fact that the EIB will be carrying out and requesting the publication of a climate assessment and review of all its activities in 2015, which may lead to a renewed climate protection policy; hopes that the EIB energy policy will be concretely supported by its Emissions Performance Standard, to be applied to all fossil fuel generation projects in order to screen out investments with projected carbon emissions exceeding a threshold level; calls on the EIB to keep the Emissions Performance Standard under review and to apply stricter commitments;

40.  Welcomes all steps taken by the EIB towards a shift to renewable energy; calls for the rectification of regional imbalances in renewable energy lending, particularly with a view to supporting projects in Member States which are reliant on non-renewable energy sources and taking into account differences in the economies of Member States, and for more attention to be paid in the future to smaller-scale, off-grid decentralised renewable energy projects involving citizens and communities; considers that these energy sources would reduce Europe’s high level of external energy dependency, improve security of supply and stimulate the creation of green growth and jobs; stresses the importance of funding for energy efficiency, energy networks and related R&D;

41.  Calls on the EIB to increase its lending volume to energy efficiency projects in all sectors, notably where relating to process optimisation, SMEs, buildings and the urban environment; calls on the EIB to give more priority to very deprived areas in line with cohesion policy;

42.  Urges the EIB to present an evaluation of the possibility of phasing out its lending to non-renewable energy projects;

Infrastructure

43.  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; points out that EIB financing should focus primarily on those countries which are lagging behind in terms of infrastructure quality and development;

44.  Encourages an increased focus on social sustainability in the EIB’s urban investment activities; acknowledges the improvement in EIB funding for social housing but emphasises the need to further develop research and activity on social sustainability in the context of sustainable urban regeneration;

Research and innovation

45.  Welcomes the launch of the first Growth Financing Initiative (GFI) operations and stresses the importance of adequate financing for research and innovation projects and innovative start-ups;

Employment and social affairs

46.  Notes the launch of the ‘Skills and jobs – Investing for Youth’ initiative and urges the EIB to accelerate implementation of this initiative and consider its broadening;

Governance, transparency and accountability

47.  Calls on the EIB to monitor more closely the implementation of projects in cooperation with Member States, in order to ensure greater efficiency and sound management of the allocated resources;

48.  Points out that the geographical distribution of the financing provided by the EIB reveals significant discrepancies in lending to various Member States; calls, therefore, on the EIB to assess the reasons for such discrepancies and to ensure that financial institutions in all Member States are fully capable of managing and implementing EIB programmes; calls, furthermore, for specific information campaigns in all Member States with the aim of raising awareness about specific EIB programmes; also calls for stronger cooperation between the EIB and national authorities in order to address the bottlenecks that hinder the signing and implementation of EIB projects;

49.  Recalls that the Council and Parliament agreed that the time was ripe to study the rationalisation of the system of European public financial institutions(9);

50.  Urges the EIB to improve the independence and effectiveness of its Complaint Mechanism Office; calls on the EIB Management Committee to take on board the recommendations of that office; calls on the EIB to act on the opinions of the European Ombudsman and to practise greater cooperation in order to avoid situations like the inquiry into complaint 178/2014/AN against the European Investment Bank(10);

51.  Believes that there are still considerable margins for manoeuvre for improving transparency, and assessing the economic and social impact of the loans and the effectiveness of the implementation of due diligence; reiterates its demand to the Bank to provide details on its approach to accelerate measures addressing these issues and asks for a stringent list of criteria for selection of these financial intermediaries to be established by the EIB jointly with the Commission and be made publicly available;

52.  Regrets the outcome of the transparency policy review of the EIB; the new transparency policy is weaker than the original policy and does not fully overcome the EIB’s past culture of secrecy, and urges the EIB to operate on the basis of the ‘presumption of disclosure’ rather than the ‘presumption of confidentiality’; draws attention to the fact that the EIB is required to make sure that its transparency policy is consistent with the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 on public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents; regrets the fact that the 2013 aid transparency index(11) shows that the EIB fares poorly on transparency and accountability;

53.  Calls on the EIB to refrain from cooperation with financial intermediaries having a negative track record in terms of transparency, tax evasion or aggressive tax planning practices, or use of other harmful tax practices such as ‘tax rulings’ and abusive transfer pricing, fraud, corruption or environmental and social impacts, or with no substantial local ownership, and to update its policies on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism; highlights the need for more comprehensive transparency regarding global loans, to ensure rigorous scrutiny of the impact of this type of indirect lending; encourages the EIB to make both direct funding and funding via intermediaries contingent upon the disclosure of both country-by-country tax-relevant data along the lines of the CRD IV provision for credit institutions, and beneficial ownership information; to this end, calls on the EIB to establish a new responsible taxation policy, starting from the review of its policy on non-cooperative jurisdictions (NCJ policy) in 2015;

54.  Urges the EIB not to cooperate with entities operating out of secrecy jurisdictions ‘characterised notably by no or nominal taxes, a lack of effective exchange of information with foreign tax authorities and a lack of transparency in legislative, legal or administrative provisions, or as identified by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development or the Financial Action Task Force’(12);

55.  Urges the EIB to take a leading and exemplary role on issues of tax transparency and responsibility; calls in particular on the EIB to collect precise 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;

56.  Welcomes the creation of a public register of documents in 2014 in line with Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006;

57.  Regrets the fact that in the context of a recent case (Mopani/Glencore), the EIB is refusing to publish the findings of its internal inquiry; notes with attention the recommendations of the European Ombudsman in complaint 349/2014/OV(13) for the EIB to reconsider its refusal to grant access to its report on the investigation into the Glencore tax evasion allegations in relation to the financing of the Mopani copper mine in Zambia; asks the EIB to follow the recommendations of the European Ombudsman;

58.  Regrets the lack of diversity in the management committee, the board of governors and the board of directors of the EIB, in particular with regard to gender; calls upon the EIB to implement the spirit of the Capital Requirements Directive, Article 88(2) of which obliges banks to ‘decide on a target for the representation of the underrepresented gender in the management body and prepare a policy on how to increase the number of the underrepresented gender in the management body in order to meet that target. The target, policy and its implementation shall be made public’;

59.  Recalls that it was agreed that the Governor of the EBRD for the Union shall ensure annual reporting to Parliament on the use of capital, on measures to ensure transparency with regard to how the EBRD has contributed to the Union’s objectives, on risk taking, and on cooperation between the EIB and the EBRD outside the Union; regrets that the Governor and the Commission have not been proactive regarding the implementation of this legal provision(14);

60.  Welcomes the fact that the EIB signed the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and started disclosing information in accordance with this framework about its lending outside of the European Union;

External policies

61.  Recalls that the external policy of the EIB, and in particular the regional technical operational guidelines, should be consistent with the external action goals of the EU as defined in Article 21 TEU; calls for full respect of the legislation of the beneficiary countries;

62.  Welcomes the establishment of the Results Measurement Framework (REM) for activities outside the EU and the reports on its implementation;

63.  Calls on the EIB to assess the possibility of increasing external financing towards the EU’s Eastern and Southern Mediterranean neighbourhood within the current mandate;

64.  Welcomes the fact that the new External Lending Mandate for 2014-2020 requires the EIB to publish project completion reports; expects the EIB to deliver on this requirement as early as 2015;

65.  Reiterates its request that the European Court of Auditors (ECA) produce a special report on the performance and alignment with EU policies of EIB external lending activities before the mid-term review of the EIB’s external mandate, and to compare their added value with regard to the own resources used by the EIB; asks the ECA, furthermore, to differentiate in its analysis between the guarantees granted by the EU budget, the investment facility guaranteed by the EDF, the various forms of blending used in the EU-Africa infrastructural trust fund, the Caribbean investment fund and the investment facility for the Pacific, and the usage of reflows for these investments; also asks the European Court of Auditors to include in its analysis the management by the EIB of funds derived from the EU budget in the context of the investment facility via the European Development Fund and through the various forms of blending via EU blending facilities, and the usage of reflows for these investments;

Further recommendations

66.  Calls for the EIB and Parliament to set up a platform for dialogue between the EIB and the relevant Parliament Committees; asks, on this basis, for the EIB to come to Parliament to report and discuss on EIB progress and activities on a quarterly basis; proposes that regular structured dialogue between the President of the EIB and Parliament, similar to the quarterly monetary dialogue between the ECB and Parliament, be set up to ensure increased parliamentary oversight of the EIB’s activities and facilitate enhanced cooperation and coordination between the two institutions;

67.  Notes that complaints, especially from small businesses, persist regarding the lack of access to funding originating from the EIB’s external lending capacities, and to funding supported by the EIF; requests, therefore, an annual survey of how many SMEs, and in particular microenterprises, have benefited from these facilities and what measures the EIB has taken in respect of the policies of intermediaries used by the EIB to improve effective access to funding for SMEs;

68.  Calls for a thorough assessment and a report on risks and control systems associated with blended finance with the European Commission, considering the impact of blending activities not only in terms of oversight but also in terms of governance options;

69.  Welcomes the strong asset quality of the EIB, with a rate of impaired loans close to 0 % (0,2 %) of the total loan portfolio; considers it essential to ensure that the EIB keeps its triple-A credit rating in order to preserve its access to international capital markets under the best funding conditions, with subsequent positive impacts on project life and for stakeholders and the EIB’s business model;

70.  Notes that the Tripartite Agreement mentioned in Article 287(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, governing cooperation between the EIB, the Commission and the Court of Auditors with respect to the methods for controls exercised by the Court regarding the EIB’s activity in managing Union and Member State funds, is up for renewal in 2015; calls upon the EIB to update the remit of the European Court of Auditors in this respect, by including any new EIB facilities involving public funds from the EU or the European Development Fund;

71.  Welcomes the approval by the EIB Board of an updated anti-fraud policy in 2013, confirming the bank’s zero tolerance approach;

72.  Calls for greater effectiveness, less regulation and more flexibility in the allocation of EIB funds;

73.  Calls on the EIB to engage in a structured communication process with parliaments, governments and social partners in order to pinpoint on a regular basis those job creation initiatives that could help achieve a sustainable increase in Europe’s competitiveness;

74.  Welcomes the support provided to SMEs in areas with youth unemployment rates of above 25 %;

75.  Welcomes the focus on mid-caps (companies with between 250 and 3 000 employees), through the Mid Cap Initiative and the Growth Finance Initiative, both of which stimulate loans, in particular to innovative mid-caps;

76.  Welcomes the EIB’s new ‘Skills and Jobs - Investing for Youth’ initiative, focusing on financing facilities for vocational training and student/apprentice mobility to provide young people with lasting employment opportunities, and calls for an even greater focus on vocational training and increased investments in this lending programme in the coming years; believes, however, that this programme should not divert funding away from the current grants system, in particular as regards the Erasmus+ programme; stresses that mobility must be treated as an opportunity and remain voluntary, and not become an instrument which contributes to the depopulation and marginalisation of areas affected by unemployment; calls for attention to be paid to those projects which will enable quality jobs creation, with a special focus on projects related to youth employment creation, increasing the share of the labour market held by women, reducing long-term unemployment and improving the possibilities of disadvantaged groups to secure jobs;

77.  Welcomes the extensive experience of the EIB in financing education and training through student loans operations conducted in Europe, especially in view of the rendering operational by the EIB Group of the Erasmus Master Mobile Student Loans Guarantees in 2015; stresses the importance of advantageous repayment rules in order to ensure complete ease of access to loans by students, irrespective of their economic background;

78.  Calls on the EIB to pay special attention to the first pillar criterion of contribution to growth and employment, and in particular to youth employment, when selecting its projects under the three-pillar assessment method; stresses the importance of jobs, training and apprenticeships for young people as part of a move towards a sustainable, job-creating model;

79.  Recalls Vice-President Katainen’s commitment to increase the EIB’s potential in relation not only to infrastructure but also to youth employment and education, and calls on the EIB to report on progress made in this area in its next annual report; believes that youth employment measures already initiated should be implemented more rapidly and expanded progressively;

80.  Believes that the EIB should invest substantially in measures that create sustainable jobs for the younger generations, in addition to those already launched under the Youth Employment Initiative;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 72 E, 11.3.2014, p. 51.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0057.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0201.
(4) OJ C 349 E, 29.11.2013, p. 27.
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0161.
(6) OJ L 177, 7.7.2012, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 280, 27.10.2011, p. 1.
(8) See: Observatori de l’Ebre (CSIC, URLL). Evaluación de Impacto Ambiental (SGEA/SHG; Ref.: GAD/13/05) - ‘Almacenamiento subterráneo de gas natural Amposta (Permiso Castor) Tarragona); IAM 2109-07 - Estudio elaborado por la Dirección General de Política Ambiental y Sostenibilidad del Departamento de Medio Ambienta y Vivienda de la Generalitat de Catalunya sobre el estudio de impacto ambiental del Proyecto de almacén subterráneo de gas natural Castor’; and Simone Cesca, Francesco Grigoli, Sebastian Heimann, Álvaro González, Elisa Buforn, Samira Maghsoudi, Estefania Blanch y Torsten Dahm (2014): ‘The 2013 September–October seismic sequence offshore Spain: a case of seismicity triggered by gas injection?’, Geophysical Journal International, 198, 941–953.
(9) Recital 8 of Decision No 1219/2011/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 November 2011 concerning the subscription by the European Union to additional shares in the capital of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as a result of the decision to increase this capital (OJ L 313, 26.11.2011, p. 1).
(10) Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 178/2014/AN against the European Investment Bank - http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/cases/decision.faces/en/58171/html.bookmark
(11) http://newati.publishwhatyoufund.org/2013/index-2013/results/
(12) Recital 13 of Decision No 1219/2011/EU ).
(13) http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/cases/draftrecommendation.faces/en/58471/html.bookmark
(14) Article 3 of Decision No 1219/2011/EU.

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