Procedure : 2020/2124(INI)
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Document selected : A9-0200/2021

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A9-0200/2021

Debates :

PV 05/07/2021 - 16
CRE 05/07/2021 - 16

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PV 06/07/2021 - 14
PV 07/07/2021 - 2

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2021)0331

<Date>{11/06/2021}11.6.2021</Date>
<NoDocSe>A9-0200/2021</NoDocSe>
PDF 256kWORD 109k

<TitreType>REPORT</TitreType>

<Titre>on the financial activities of the European Investment Bank – annual report 2020</Titre>

<DocRef>(2020/2124(INI))</DocRef>


<Commission>{ECON}Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs</Commission>

Rapporteur: <Depute>Pedro Silva Pereira</Depute>

Rapporteur for opinion (*): David Cormand, Committee on Budgets

(*) Associated committee – Rule 57 of the Rules of Procedure

AMENDMENTS
MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON DEVELOPMENT
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON BUDGETS
 INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the financial activities of the European Investment Bank – annual report 2020

(2020/2124(INI))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to Articles 15, 126, 174, 175, 177, 208, 209, 271, 308 and 309 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and to Protocol No 5 to the Treaties on the Statute of the European Investment Bank (EIB),

 having regard to the climate strategy and new lending policy in the energy sector adopted by the EIB in November 2019,

 having regard to the Commission communication of 11 December 2019 on the European Green Deal (COM(2019)0640),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 14 January 2020 entitled ‘Sustainable Europe Investment Plan – European Green Deal Investment Plan’ (COM(2020)0021),

 having regard to the Commission proposal for a regulation of 14 January 2020 establishing the Just Transition Fund (COM(2020)0022),

 having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Green Deal[1],

 having regard to the EIB Financial Report for 2019, published on 5 May 2020,

 having regard to the EIB Activity Report for 2019 entitled ‘The Green Thread’, published on 7 May 2020,

 having regard to the adoption of the Climate Bank Roadmap by the EIB Board of Directors on 11 November 2020 and to the EIB’s new climate strategy of November 2020,

 having regard to the report on EIB Operations Inside the European Union 2019, published on 3 September 2019,

 having regard to the report on EIB-supported projects outside the EU in 2019 entitled ‘Global reach: the impact of the EIB beyond the European Union’, published on 10 December 2020,

 having regard to the EIB’s Financial Report and Statistical Report for 2019, published on 5 May and 7 May 2020,

 having regard to the EIB’s Audit Committee Annual Reports, Fraud Investigations Activity Report and Complaints Mechanism Report for 2019,

 having regard to the EIB Group Risk Management Disclosure Report for 2019, published on 6 July 2020,

 having regard to the EIB’s approval of the ratification of the Paris Agreement by the EU of 7 October 2016,

 having regard to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 13 March 2020 on a coordinated economic response to the COVID-19 outbreak (COM(2020)0112),

 having regard to Regulation (EU) 2020/460 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 March 2020 amending Regulations (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013 and (EU) No 508/2014 as regards specific measures to mobilise investments in the healthcare systems of Member States and in other sectors of their economies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak (Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative)[2],

 having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2020 on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences[3],

 having regard to its resolution of 13 November 2020 on the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan – How to finance the Green Deal[4],

 having regard to the European Council conclusions of 11 December 2020 on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) and Next Generation EU, COVID-19, climate change, security and external relations,

 having regard to special report no 03/2019 of the European Court of Auditors (ECA) entitled ‘European Fund for Strategic Investments: Action needed to make EFSI a full success’, published on 29 January 2019,

 having regard to the EIB Activity Report for 2020 entitled ‘Crisis Solutions’, published on 20 January 2021,

 having regard to special report no 12/2020 of the ECA entitled ‘The European Investment Advisory Hub – Launched to boost investment in the EU, the Hub’s impact remains limited’, published on 12 May 2020,

 having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2020 on institutions and bodies of the Economic and Monetary Union: preventing post-public employment conflicts of interest[5],

 having regard to the letter from the Ombudsman to the President of the EIB of 22 July 2016 on conflict of interest issues and the reply from the President of the EIB of 31 January 2017,

 having regard to the decision of the Ombudsman in case 2168/2019/KR on the European Banking Authority’s decision to approve the request from its Executive Director to become CEO of a financial lobby group,

 having regard to the 2019 report by Counter Balance entitled ‘Is the EIB up to the task in tackling fraud and corruption? Challenges for the EU Bank’s governance framework’,

 having regard to Rule 57 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas under Article 309 of the TFEU and in line with the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the EIB is tasked with contributing to the achievement of the Union’s objectives, including through various investment instruments such as loans, equities, guarantees, risk-sharing facilities and advisory services;

B. whereas under Article 18 of its Statute, the EIB must ensure that its funds are employed as rationally as possible in the interests of the Union;

C. whereas the EIB is the public lending arm of the European Union and one of the biggest multilateral financial institutions in the world; whereas, as a consequence, the EIB is the EU’s natural partner for the implementation of financial instruments, in close cooperation with national and multilateral financial institutions;

D. whereas the EIB took on a significant role in mobilising finance for the economy, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), following the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which began in 2020;

E. whereas the EIB plays an important role in the EU’s strategy to tackle climate and environment related challenges, as outlined by the Commission, with EUR 350 billion of additional investment needed annually to achieve the updated 2030 climate and energy targets;

F. whereas the EIB committed in 2019 to support the objectives of the European Green Deal, align all its financing activities with the goals of the Paris Agreement and become the ‘EU Climate Bank’;

G. whereas the EIB Board of Directors has approved the Climate Bank Roadmap  for 2021-2025;

H. whereas the EIB has started the review process of its 2011 transport lending policy, with the goal of supporting accessible, efficient, green and safe transport;

I. whereas support for SMEs and mid-caps (companies of medium-size value) is a fundamental public policy goal of the EIB; whereas in 2020 alone, the EIB Group supported over 425 000 SMEs and mid-caps with new financing; whereas support for SMEs accounted for 40 % of overall EIB signature volume;

J. whereas EIB investment has the capacity to support the social sector, including health, education and housing;

K. whereas in 2020 the EIB approved loans worth EUR 10.23 billion for projects outside the Union, including EUR 2.3 billion in least developed countries (LDCs);

L. whereas the high-level group of wise persons on the European financial architecture for development released its final report on 7 October 2019, in which it outlined the three following possible options for building the future European Climate and Sustainable Development Bank: a) building on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the external financing activities of the EIB; b) pulling together the external activities of the current EU financial institutions in a new financial institution with mixed ownership; c) transferring all external activities of the EIB into an EIB subsidiary with significant other shareholders; whereas the Council conclusions of December 2019 indicated that only options a) and c) should be explored; whereas the results of feasibility studies on each option, which were supposed to be delivered in autumn 2020, still have not been delivered;

M. whereas the EIB Group is currently working to develop counterparty alignment guidelines with environmental and sustainability objectives;

General considerations

1. Expresses serious concerns about the severe macroeconomic imbalances deriving from the COVID-19 crisis and their related impact on sustainable economic growth, investment, resilience, employment rates, education and socio-economic inequalities; stresses that the economic and social crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly harmed economic growth in the EU and that one of the main fallouts is the decline in investment, which is currently insufficient to fulfil EU’s objectives; underlines that the fall in public and private investment has reached alarming levels;

2. Highlights the fundamental role of the EIB as the EU’s public bank – being the only international financial institution that is entirely owned by EU Member States and fully guided by EU policies and standards – in supporting the economic recovery in the post-pandemic context and targeting investments for the materialisation of European priorities;

3. Underlines the EIB’s crucial role in supporting the economic recovery in the short and medium term in conjunction with the European Green Deal, the European Climate Law, the European Industrial Strategy, the Next Generation EU (NGEU) Recovery Instrument, the EU’s long-term budget, InvestEU  and other European financial instruments; welcomes the EIB’s financial engagement in InvestEU  as a way to help overcome the investment gap in the EU, the root causes of which still need to be addressed; welcomes, moreover, the EIB’s central role in supplying advisory support under the InvestEU Advisory Hub;

4. Supports the European Council’s conclusion that the EIB should have the necessary capital to implement Union policies and the invitation to the EIB Board of Governors to review the capital adequacy of the EIB in view of the instruments included in the MFF and NGEU, as well as the Bank’s contribution to the Union’s ambitions in fighting climate change and digitalising Europe’s economy;

5. Takes the view that a capital increase is justified in order to allow the Bank to provide long-term finance, foster inclusive sustainable growth, social and regional cohesion and support key real economy investments which otherwise would have not taken place, while keeping the current AAA status, which is an important asset for the Bank;

6. Notes that the EIB is a highly leveraged institution; calls on the shareholders of the EIB to reflect on the optimal equity structure and agree on a capital increase, both cash-in and callable in nature; emphasises that a capital increase should go hand in hand with greater transparency, democratic accountability, efficiency in the management structure and environmental sustainability;

7. Calls on the Commission, in this context, to study the possibility of being represented on the EIB Board of Governors through the subscription of EIB capital using funds from the EU budget;

8. Notes that, according to the Commission’s 2030 Climate Target Plan, over the period 2021-2030 the EU will need to invest EUR 350 billion more annually than it did over the period 2011-2020; stresses that an even larger role for the EIB is required to meet this climate investment gap; calls on the Board of Governors to seize the opportunity of favourable lending conditions for the EIB to increase issuance and maturity of bonds while preserving its strong capital position;

9. Welcomes the recent capital increase of the of the European Investment Fund (EIF)[6];

10. Asks the EIB as the EU’s public bank to make the utmost concerted efforts to deliver strong and policy-driven financing activity in line with the respective legal provisions that deliver economic efficiencies, support sustainable growth and do not hamper access to high-quality public services; calls on the EIB to  give priority to public purpose projects that promote EU policy objectives and sustainable economic growth, in particular those that would not otherwise be ‘bankable’, both within and outside the EU, with a view to addressing the unprecedented global challenges of the decades to come, in particular combating climate change;

11. Calls on the EIB to further strengthen its in-house capacity and expertise to ensure a mission-driven long-term commitment in its partnerships, promote coordination among national and regional actors, and further develop conditions for higher risk taking in innovation and growth-inducing investments;

12. Emphasises the importance of the additionality factor to be provided by the EIB to investments across the EU; underlines the need to coordinate strategies with other European institutions and multilateral and National Development Banks;

13. Commends the EIB’s efforts in  setting out targets and encourages it to strengthen implementation on the ground of its environmental and social standards and to improve evaluations of the economic, social and environmental impacts of projects supported, as well as their additionality and sustainability;

14. Stresses that the EIB must seek to avoid crowding out private investments through its activities;

15. Stresses the importance of avoiding further geographical imbalances in the EIB’s lending activity so as to ensure a broader geographical and sectoral allocation of investments, address regional disparities, namely those resulting from long-term investment deficits and geographical disadvantages, and enhance economic and social convergence and cohesion;

16. Welcomes the efforts already made by the EIB in this regard but stresses that more needs to be done, as recent reports demonstrate a persistently high level of geographical concentration of projects;

17. Calls for the EIB to contribute to addressing systemic deficiencies that prevent certain regions or countries from taking full advantage of EIB financial opportunities by, inter alia, strengthening its efforts to expand its loan activities, providing technical assistance and advisory support, especially in regions which attract low investment and which did not benefit significantly from the derogation from the State-aid rules during the pandemic crisis because of a lack of financial capacity or room for manoeuvre of the state;

Mobilising funds to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic

18. Welcomes the EIB’s rapid mobilisation of up to EUR 40 billion of emergency financing to fight the crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, through the setting up of loans, credit holidays and measures to alleviate the liquidity of SMEs and mid-caps;

19. Welcomes, in addition, the subsequent creation of the EUR 25 billion European Guarantee Fund (EGF) in response to the COVID-19 crisis, not least its positive impact in providing financial support to SMEs and the health sector; regrets, however, the slow roll-out of the EGF, with the first funds only approved in late 2020 due to late submission from Member States and State aid clearing processes; stresses that the EGF was set up to be temporary in nature; suggests that the EGF should remain operational beyond 2021 given the prolonged impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the repeated lockdowns in many Member States;

20. Notes that support guaranteed by the EGF to financial intermediaries should be subject to a number of assessment criteria, such as environmental, social and corporate governance policies;

21. Calls on the EIB to consider proposing additional incentives for projects and credit lines already approved in order to get the projects off the ground as soon as possible and ensure the swift implementation of funds;

22. Welcomes the creation of a EUR 6 billion investment instrument to support the financing of the healthcare sector, namely medical infrastructure, research, and the development of vaccines; calls on the EIB to prioritise the strengthening of public health systems;

23. Notes that in the context of the COVID-19 response and as of 30 September 2020, the EIB has approved 84 operations within the EU for a total investment of EUR 23.5 billion; notes also that 88 % of the approved operations were allocated to SMEs and mid-caps and the health sector; highlights the importance of supporting SMEs, as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are particularly hard for these companies;

24. Welcomes the creation of a targeted financing initiative of up to EUR 5.2 billion in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to support countries outside the EU;

25. Welcomes the EIB’s participation in COVAX, with an investment of EUR 400 million in the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment;

26. Underlines that in the light of the successive and unpredictable waves of COVID-19 infections, these instruments will need to be further strengthened, enforced, and extended; asks the EIB to stand ready to upscale existing instruments and launch new supportive financial initiatives, as appropriate;

Becoming the EU Climate Bank

27. Welcomes the fact that in 2020, 40 % of the EIB’s lending was environment and climate related;

28. Welcomes the fact that the EIB is the world’s largest issuer of green bonds which have raised EUR  34.6 billion of Climate Awareness Bonds and Sustainability Awareness Bonds over 12 years; calls on the EIB to continue and to expand the issuance of green bonds to enhance the liquidity of that market and to remain involved in the development of an EU green bond standard;

29. Welcomes the new Climate Risk Assessment (CRA) system established to assess the physical climate risk in direct lending and suggests that the EIB propose harmonised screening methods in its action plans , using, where appropriate the Taxonomy Regulation[7];

30. Welcomes the EIB’s commitment to support the Commission’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan, in particular by aligning with the EU taxonomy for tracking climate action and environmental sustainability finance, and by adopting the ‘Do No Significant Harm’ criteria as a basis on which to evaluate projects;

31. Calls on the EIB to uphold its commitment to align all of its operations with the objectives of the Paris Agreement as soon as possible, and in a timeframe that is coherent with the EU’s objective of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest; highlights that developing advanced alternative and sustainable fuels will require significant investments in order to overcome the current technological frontier; calls on the EIB to establish and conclude green transition contracts for high emitting sectors in order to ensure that they align their business models with climate neutrality objectives;

32. Recognises  the need for the EU and its Member States to redirect capital flows towards climate adaptation and mitigation in order to make our economies, businesses and societies more resilient to climate and environmental shocks and risks;

33. Welcomes the adoption by the EIB Board of Directors of the ambitious EIB Climate Bank Roadmap for 2021-2025, and the inclusion of the shadow carbon pricing mechanism in particular, which provides a crucial framework to support the transition and implementation of the European Green Deal and marks a decisive step towards making the EIB the EU Climate Bank, promoting sustainable investments and protecting the environment during the critical decade ahead;

34. Welcomes the EIB’s climate leadership and the decision to increase EIB financing for climate action and environmental sustainability, including renewable energies, from around 30 % to at least 50 % by 2025;

35. Notes that the roadmap envisages the introduction of a transition period until the end of 2022, which causes a delay in the alignment with the objectives of the Paris Agreement; calls on the EIB to strive for maximum compliance with the Paris Agreement in the ongoing appraisal procedures, and full compliance as of 2023 at the latest;

36. Notes that the EIB will structure future work on the implementation of the Roadmap around ten new action plans, which will build on the first five years of implementation of the EIB’s 2015 climate strategy; demands, in this context, to be regularly and fully informed on the implementation of the Roadmap;

37. Calls on the EIB to take into account the inputs from relevant stakeholders, local authorities, trade unions and NGOs in its investment strategy as the EU’s Climate Bank and in the context of the implementation of the Roadmap;

38. Welcomes the EIB’s development of a biodiversity risk assessment and the adoption of the Environmental, Climate and Social Guidelines on Hydropower Development; recalls that biodiversity protection is fundamental for EU sustainability, with critical effects for European economic, health and food conditions; calls on the EIB to further develop biodiversity-proofing components in its financial instruments in order to avoid adverse effects on biodiversity;

39. Acknowledges the challenges and progress achieved during the implementation of the Natural Capital Financing Facility (NCFF); calls on the EIB to consider providing a grant component under the NCFF to support the initial scaling up of local projects and facilitate generating revenues; believes that an evaluation of the NCFF should be embedded in a broader assessment of the EIB on how to support ecosystem and biodiversity restoration in the EU;

40. Welcomes the commitment by the EIB in the Climate Bank Roadmap to focus support on sustainable rearing and dairy industries, and in particular to address animal welfare;

41. Calls on the EIB Group to use its new operations as a way of supporting the goals of the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, since they would boost innovation for safe and sustainable-by-design chemicals, materials and products, the Circular Economy Action Plan based on non-toxic material cycles and the upcoming Zero Pollution Action Plan for water, air and soil;

42. Welcomes the upcoming review of the EIB’s transport lending policy and the EIB’s commitment to end support to airport expansions by the end of 2022; stresses the importance of aligning the EIB’s transport portfolio and transport lending policy with the Paris Agreement as soon as possible;

43. Calls for the swift adoption of a new transport financing policy strategy aimed at decarbonising the EU transport sector by 2050 at the latest and promoting accessible, efficient, green and safe means of transport; underlines, in this context, that the EIB should continue its engagement in financing innovation and green technology for aviation; requests in this context that the new transport policy also take into account the geographical features of EU regions, such as insular, innermost and outermost regions;

44. Calls on the EIB to increase support for modal shifts towards low-carbon transportation, such as cycling and public transport, in particular for underserved communities and localities;

45. Highlights the crucial role of the EIB in meeting the goals of the Just Transition Mechanism and asks for more commitment and concrete action in this respect, namely through structural programme loans, InvestEU and as a financing partner for the public sector loan facility; invites the EIB to use its role as financing partner for the public sector loan facility as an opportunity to strengthen its capacity to finance smaller projects and community-led initiatives and to build partnerships with municipalities and other public entities so that no one is left behind in the process of economic transition;

46. Underlines that Member States and regions have different starting points; notes that the transition towards a carbon-neutral economy must be inclusive and fair, and must leave no one behind; emphasises that special attention should be paid to the protection of the citizens and workers that will be most affected by the transition; suggests that the EIB proactively work with Member States with a view to supporting regions where jobs are highly dependent on high-emitting industries;

47. Welcomes the new EIB energy lending policy and its commitment to end investments in fossil fuel by the end of 2021; calls on the EIB to assess the compatibility of investments made in 2021 towards high-carbon projects with the updated 2030 climate targets; insists that the EIB implement the principle of energy efficiency and set the objective of tackling energy poverty in all its energy lending;

48. Welcomes the Smart Finance for Smart Buildings initiative that facilitates investments in energy efficiency projects; calls for the reinforcement of housing investments promoting energy efficiency and tackling energy poverty, and for further investments in social and affordable housing, also to contribute to the renovation wave strategy;

Support for innovation, SMEs, industry and digitalisation

49. Considers that mistakes of the past should not be repeated and that efficient investment in innovation, infrastructure, education and skills are crucial elements to recover from the economic and social crisis, ensure sustainable and inclusive  growth and create high-quality jobs and long-term competitiveness; emphasises, in addition, that a regulatory environment composed of predictable rules, a level playing field and administrative efficiency also contributes to crowding in private investment;

50. Welcomes the fact that in 2020 the EIB supported innovation and skills with EUR 14.43 billion; calls on the EIB to further enhance its support for innovation and skills;

51. Highlights the importance of the EIB’s role in the success of the InvestEU programme in the post-pandemic recovery; underlines that the EIB will continue to be the main investment partner for the implementation of the InvestEU programme;

52. Hopes that the new InvestEU programme will enable further risk-taking by the EIB in real economy projects and support for SMEs in particular, including through capital support;

53. Recalls that SMEs are the backbone of Europe’s economy, representing 99 % of all businesses in the EU and employing around 100 million people; welcomes the fact that in 2020 the EIB provided financing for SMEs and mid-caps, with investment totalling EUR 30.56 billion and supporting 425 000 companies;

54. Reiterates that supporting microenterprises,  SMEs and mid-caps must remain a key objective for the EIB, and one that should be further strengthened during the current  economic crisis, notably to assist them with financing, internationalisation, decarbonisation and access to ICT tools; stresses that SMEs often have limited administrative resources available and thus should benefit from easily accessible financing channels; welcomes efforts made to provide online assistance and counselling to SMEs in accessing EIB lending and calls for this advisory capacity to be extended;

55. Calls on the EIB to complement efforts to build a data-driven society in a transparent, trustworthy, interoperable and inclusive manner, with a particular focus on the adaptation of SMEs to enhance their competitiveness;

56. Stresses, in this regard, that European SMEs are lagging behind in embracing digital technologies with only 66 % of manufacturing companies in the EU adopting at least one digital technology;

57. Highlights the need to upscale lending to female-led SMEs to promote a more gender equal recovery;

58. Calls on the EIB to mobilise sufficient support for infrastructure towards delivering faster internet speed to all regions in the EU and bridging the existing digital divide, and also requests that the EIB continue its support for advancing digital skills, in particular for employees in sectors of the economy in need of adjustment and requalification;

59. Notes that the COVID-19 outbreak revealed the fragility of the EU’s supply chains and the insufficiency of IT networks; calls on the EIB to align its investment strategy to help ensure greater resilience of the internal market’s value chains and strengthen the European industrial sector, especially in strategic areas;

60. Calls on the EIB to play a role in assisting and financing the creation of innovation ecosystems and knowledge economies throughout the EU, and in promoting place-based industrial transformation, where universities, businesses, SMEs and start-ups can develop long-lasting partnerships for the common good and which can make a meaningful contribution to achieving the objectives of the Green Deal and the digitalisation of the economy;

61. Highlights the need for the EIB to have a strong focus on projects directed towards young people, especially for start-ups and projects directed towards tackling the increasingly significant problem of youth unemployment and young people in precarious jobs;

Investment in social infrastructure and welfare

62. Notes that during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, social welfare systems in the Member States have come under unprecedented strain; calls on the EIB to partner with the Commission and the Member States to increase investment in the social sector;

63. Acknowledges that the COVID-19 crisis has had a disproportionate impact on certain parts of society; urges the EIB to assist Member States in projects that address inequalities, including gender inequalities, and those affecting marginalised communities;

64. Welcomes the EIB’s commitment to invest in the social sector, thereby fostering well-being, access to education, health and housing, as well as the acquisition of skills required in a modern knowledge-based economy;

65. Calls on the EIB to support projects in Member States which deliver on the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the SDGs and the social reforms identified in country specific recommendations under the European Semester;

66. Notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has had negative impacts on children’s education and well-being across the globe, with millions of children still without access to education due to lockdown measures and therefore at risk of regression and suffering potential lifelong effects; welcomes the EIB’s investment in education, as it helps to fight poverty and inequalities, boosts economic growth and improves gender equality; calls on the EIB to increase its investment in education to help mitigate the severe impact of the COVID-19 crisis on education systems globally;

Supporting development and sustainability outside the EU

67. Welcomes the fact that the EIB is the largest multilateral lender in the world that strives to support EU external cooperation and development policies; notes that the EIB has been active outside the EU for over 50 years, with EUR 150.1 billion in loans granted in 150 different countries as of the end of 2020, of which EUR 10.23 billion were signed in 2020;

68. Calls on the EIB to apply a suspension to its pending loans, to carefully assess the debt impact of its future operations, and to express public support for the creation of a multilateral debt workout mechanism to address both the impact of the crisis and the financing requirements of the 2030 Agenda, given that all EIB shareholders are committed to the G20 commitment to suspend the debt of 77 countries following the debt crisis linked to the COVID-19 outbreak;

69. Stresses the need for full alignment of EIB investments in third countries with EU external action and sustainable development priorities;

70. Acknowledges that the EIB will further reinforce its support to green investment outside the EU; insists that the EIB should apply the same standards and criteria to assess and evaluate projects inside and outside the Union, including those recently agreed in the Climate Bank Roadmap;

71. Considers, in this context, that the EIB should enhance its monitoring of and reporting on projects outside the EU and improve its analysis of their economic, social and environmental impacts and increase the efficiency of the Results Measurement Framework (REM), while strengthening human rights due diligence for projects in non-EU countries;

72. Takes the view that tailored indicators to measure the reduction of inequalities, tax revenue generation for host countries, and the impact on gender balance and marginalised groups should also be considered;

73. Notes that private sector investment will be essential to fill the funding gap for the SDGs; recalls the crucial role of the EIB in de-risking private investment, particularly in fragile contexts; is concerned, however, about the use of EU development funds for de-risking private investment given the lack of evidence as to the capacity of this financial modality to demonstrate additionality and fulfil development objectives, as recently reported in the final review of EFSD as well as the opinion of the European Court of Auditors (No 7/2020); stresses the need for donors to prioritise grant-based financing as the default option, especially for LDCs, and for them not to favour blending, guarantees or any loans over grants, since they fall short of the SDGs and could increase countries’ burden of debt;

74. Welcomes the agreement reached between the European Council and Parliament on the regulation setting up the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument; notes in particular the role that the EIB will play in the context of the European Fund for Sustainable Investment;

75. Highlights that climate change is a crucial challenge to achieving sustainable development, as it threatens to worsen living conditions and poverty; calls therefore for the EIB to prioritise investment in projects that helps third countries to realise the UN Sustainable Development Goals and that delivers on social and environmental justice, food security, public services and fair economic opportunities for citizens; appreciates that the EIB will further reinforce its support to green investment outside the EU, which will help underline the EU’s role as a global leader on climate and environmental sustainability;

76. Calls on the EIB, while respecting its external lending mandate, to increase its engagement in least developed countries and those experiencing conflict, enhance cooperationwith EU delegations, and increase its presence on the ground with additional staff focusing on development issues;

Delivering on governance, accountability, transparency and integrity

77. Recalls its request for an interinstitutional agreement between the EIB and Parliament in order to improve access to EIB documents and data and enhance democratic accountability, including the ability to submit questions for written answer to the EIB, and the specification of the rights of Parliament and its Members as regards access to documents and data, and the organisation of hearings and economic dialogues;

78. Proposes, in addition, and in the meantime, the establishment of a protocol for an interim Memorandum of Cooperation between the EIB and Parliament, applicable with immediate effect, in order to improve interinstitutional dialogue and enhance the EIB’s transparency and accountability;

79. Calls on the EIB to increase its reporting to Parliament regarding its decisions, progress achieved and the impact of its lending activities, notably through regular structured dialogues, and to apply the same reporting and accountability provisions as set out in the EFSI Regulation[8];

80. Calls on the EIB to step up its efforts in terms of communication; believes it is vital that it should engage with EU citizens in order to better explain the aims of its policies and illustrate its contribution to the daily lives of its citizens;

81. Welcomes the EIB’s launch of a public consultation on the review of its transparency policy in December 2020; notes, however, that the current proposal falls short of meeting the demands made by Parliament and civil society organisations  to step up its transparency policy in line with the best practices and standards employed by other financial institutions;

82. Calls on the EIB to ensure the timely publication of more ample information on all its financing activities in line with international best practices, including environmental and social assessments, in order to make them accessible to potential beneficiaries, affected groups and local civil society organisations;

83. Reiterates its call on the EIB to operate on the basis of the ‘presumption of disclosure’; calls notably for the timely publication of the agendas and minutes of meetings of the Management Committee and welcomes the publication of the agenda and minutes of the meeting of the Board of Directors; underlines that the future transparency policy should reinforce the transparency requirements for all its operations and require project promoters to make environmental impact assessments (EIAs) publicly available, by including stringent, yet proportionate, transparency obligations in the specific contractual clauses signed with all EIB clients;

84. Reiterates its call for the disclosure of the opinions issued by the Commission within the framework of the procedure in accordance with Article 19 of the EIB Statute on the EIB financing operations for the purpose of assessing their compliance with the relevant EU legislation and EU policies; calls on the Commission and the EIB to reach an agreement to ensure full transparency on such opinions and their underlying rationale;

85. Notes that the appointment of the former EIB vice-president as a member of Iberdrola’s Board of Directors raised serious concerns regarding risks of conflicts of interest, despite the fact that the move was duly notified in advance and has complied with the provisions applicable to former members of the EIB Management Committee; notes further that a binding opinion from the EIB Ethics and Compliance Committee issued prior to the nomination did not raised any objection to the case and asks for further explanation to be provided regarding this opinion; calls on the EIB to evaluate the need to further improve rules and practices regarding conflicts of interest;

86. Expresses its concern that the eight EIB vice-presidents, in addition to their sectoral responsibilities, oversee project proposals from their home countries, alongside other country responsibilities; regrets the failure of the EIB to act on Parliament’s request to include in the Code of Conduct of the Management Committee a provision excluding the possibility of their Members overseeing lending or the implementation of projects in their home countries;

87. Welcomes the EIB’s internal review and the revision of its anti-fraud policy and its intention to elevate the policy to group level, thereby applying it to both the EIB and the EIF; urges the EIB to take an ambitious and broad approach to this review and address the existing weaknesses in its due diligence and internal control mechanisms and to strengthen its policy against fraud and corruption, in line with the repeated demands of Parliament;

88. Stresses the importance of the EIB’s anti-fraud investigative office having robust competences, sufficient resources and independence; calls on the EIB to enhance its cooperation with the European Ombudsman, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) where appropriate, and to report criminal cases to national authorities; urges the EIB to strengthen the autonomy and efficiency of the Complaint Mechanism Office and the Fraud Investigation Division;

89. Recalls that the Commission asked the EIB to share more information on the effective application of contractual clauses enabling the EIB to halt or withdraw funding[9] and expects that Parliament will have full access to this information;

90. Welcomes the progress achieved with the implementation of the EIB’s Group Strategy on Gender Equality and Gender Action Plan; takes note of the 2019 Progress Report on Diversity and Inclusion; notes that women represent 51.4 % of the EIB workforce;

91. Regrets the fact that women are still not sufficiently represented in managerial and senior office positions; believes that more needs to be done in this regard during the implementation of the second phase of the action plan in 2021, and calls, therefore, on the EIB to further encourage the participation of women and actively promote balanced gender representation in its senior positions; calls on the EIB to further enhance the promotion of all forms of diversity and inclusion within its organisation and to set ambitious targets;

92. Urges the EIB to collect, where possible, gender-disaggregated data and to develop tools and methodologies to conduct gender analysis and gender impact assessment for EIB projects and operations both inside and outside the European Union, and to consult with independent experts to this end;

93. Expresses serious concerns about allegations regarding harassment and the working environment at the EIB; recognises that recent efforts have been made by the EIB to address these and other relevant staff issues; urges the EIB to ensure that a policy of zero tolerance towards all types of harassment is effectively implemented, including preventive and protective measures as well as proper and reliable complaint and victim support mechanisms; urges the EIB management to genuinely engage in dialogue with staff representatives in order to address their concerns;

94. Welcomes the fact that the EIB will review its environmental and social standards and calls for a wide and inclusive public consultation on these issues; highlights the potential for the EIB to include further standards on other policy priorities; calls on the EIB to include social considerations when evaluating adverse impacts of potential investments;

95. Reiterates that sustainability, as defined in EU law[10], is a broad concept and that investments are sustainable only if they take into account the ‘do no significant harm’ (DNSH) principle in connection with social or environmental sustainability objectives; welcomes the fact that the EIB committed to fully aligning its tracking methodology for climate action and environmental sustainability objectives with the framework defined by the EU Taxonomy, including the incorporation of the DNSH[11] in all its operations;

96. Calls on the EIB to take this opportunity to strengthen its human rights policy; expects notably that human rights due diligence obligations be reinforced and that the human rights dimension in its project planning be made more prevalent, in particular for projects in non-EU countries;

97. Expects the EIB to conduct thorough monitoring that fully takes into account concerns expressed by concerned parties and stakeholders, in particular those pertaining to human rights violations;

98. Highlights that investee companies of the EIB should follow good governance principles, including in tax matters; welcomes the fact that the EIB does not enter into new or renewed operations with entities incorporated or established in jurisdictions listed for tax and anti-money laundering/combating financing of terrorism (AML-CFT) purposes and that a case-by-case risk assessment is carried out when contracting counterparties are incorporated or established in jurisdictions which are generally cooperative but have not yet solved outstanding tax good governance deficiencies (jurisdictions listed in Annex II to the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions);

99. Highlights that extensive checks are required to ensure that counterparties do not benefit from other legal links to such jurisdictions; calls on the EIB to enforce prevention measures and regular assessments against the use of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, and of harmful tax practices by partners;

100. Encourages the EIB Group to update in the future its non-cooperative jurisdiction (NCJ) policy on the basis of future developments to tax good governance in the EU or at international level; recalls that the policy provides for a general prohibition from entering into operations with contracting counterparties incorporated or established in NCJs, except under strict conditions;

101. Takes note of the December 2020 Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism Framework of the EIB; is concerned that the framework outlined is not detailed on specific procedures to align the Bank’s activities with EU law, namely on customer due diligence and in particular when enhanced due diligence takes place;

102. Reiterates previous concerns expressed by Parliament about the lack of control over the funds managed by financial intermediaries and the difficulty of monitoring final beneficiaries and compliance with eligibility criteria;

103. Welcomes the fact that the EIB is currently working to develop counterparty alignment guidelines; invites the EIB to develop an ambitious action plan for a ‘counterparts alignment framework’ and ensure that the guidelines provide for greater transparency and stricter due diligence over its partners and their eligibility to disburse EIB-backed funds under strict conditionality, comprising ethical, integrity, social and environmental criteria; reiterates that this framework should also include future requirements for all financial intermediaries and corporate clients to have in place a forward-looking decarbonisation plan aligned with the Paris Agreement using science-based emissions targets as soon as possible and no later than 2025, without prejudice to the ability of the EIB to offer technical assistance on devising such decarbonisation plans;

104. Asks the EIB, while preserving commercially sensitive data, to publish more regular, in-depth and comprehensive information on the financial intermediaries responsible for leveraging EIB funds (198) and to include contractual clauses concerning mandatory disclosures from these institutions on lending activity;

105. Stresses that the EIB should reinforce and make full use of contractual clauses enabling it to suspend disbursements or other mitigating measures to protect the integrity and reputation of its operations in cases of projects’ non-compliance with environmental, social, human rights, tax and transparency standards;

106. Calls for a stringent exclusion policy for the exclusion of entities found engaged in fraud, corruption, money laundering or other forms of wrongdoing from EIB financing;

107. Welcomes the European Court of Auditors’ (ECA) work with respect to Union budget funds managed by the EIB and calls on the institutions to agree on enhancing ECA audit rights within the limits of the EU Treaties;

108. Takes note of the ECA’s criticism in its special report no 12/2020 entitled ‘The European Investment Advisory Hub – Launched to boost investment in the EU, the Hub’s impact remains limited’ and calls on the EIB to draw the necessary conclusions for its work going forward;

109. Invites the ECA to produce a special report with recommendations on the performance of the EIB’s activities and their alignment with EU policies and objectives;

110. Takes note of the ECA’s special report no 3/2019 entitled ‘European Fund for Strategic Investments: Action needed to make EFSI a full success’, in particular its observations on the need for comparable performance and monitoring indicators for all EU financial instruments and budgetary guarantees; calls on the Commission to ensure proper follow-up in collaboration with the EIB, as a major implementer in the context of InvestEU;

°

° °

111. 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.


 

 

 

OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON DEVELOPMENT (16.3.2021)

<CommissionInt>for the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs</CommissionInt>


<Titre>on the financial Activities of the European Investment Bank – annual report 2020</Titre>

<DocRef>(2020/2124(INI))</DocRef>

Rapporteur for opinion: <Depute>Charles Goerens</Depute>

 

 


 

SUGGESTIONS

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

A. whereas in 2019 the European Investment Bank (EIB) approved loans worth EUR 7.8 billion for projects outside the Union, including EUR 1.1 billion for least developed countries (LDCs) and fragile states; whereas in 2020 the EIB’s financing for countries outside the Union was EUR 10.2 billion and it lent EUR 4.7 billion to African countries alone;

B. whereas the high-level group of wise persons on the European financial architecture for development released its final report on 7 October 2019, in which it outlined the three following possible options for building the future European Climate and Sustainable Development Ban :a) building on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the external financing activities of the EIB; b) pulling together the external activities of the current EU financial institutions in a new financial institution with mixed ownership; c) transferring all external activities of the EIB into an EIB subsidiary with significant other shareholders; whereas the Council conclusions of December 2019 indicated that only option a) and c) should be explored; whereas the results of feasibility studies on each options, which were supposed to be delivered in autumn 2020, still have not been delivered;

1. Recognises the important role that the EIB, the world’s largest multilateral lender, despite dedicating only around 10 % of its overall annual disbursements for activities outside the European Union, can play in contributing to the Union’s development policy objectives, and in particular in promoting sustainable development, tackling poverty and the food crisis, promoting climate action and environmental sustainability and social and human rights, and in supporting recovery from shocks such as COVID-19;

2. Believes that the projects financed by the EIB in developing countries must be consistent with the EU’s policy coherence for development, promote the achievement of the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement and the green deal and must respect the core conventions of the International Labour Organization;

3. Stresses the ‘policy first’ principle and the notion of ‘open architecture’ underpinning the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+) - External Action Guarantee, which should further enhance coherence and coordination among the EIB, EBRD, European Development Finance institutions, national development agencies, the Commission and Member States in identifying and implementing investment operations that can contribute to sustainable development, and respond to the increasing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic;

4. Notes that private sector investment will be essential to fill the funding gap for the SDGs; recalls the crucial role of the EIB in de-risking private investment, particularly in fragile contexts; is concerned, however, about the use of EU development funds for de-risking private investment given the lack of evidence as to the capacity of this financial modality to demonstrate additionality and fulfil development objectives, as recently reported in the final review of EFSD as well as the opinion of the European Court of Auditors (No 7/2020); stresses the need for donors to prioritise grant-based financing as the default option, especially for LDCs, and for them not to favour blending, guarantees or any loans over grants, since they fall short of the SDGs and could increase countries’ burden of debt;

5. Calls on the EIB to maximise additionality and the development impact of its operations outside the Union by increasing its engagement in LDCs, enhancing the transparency of operations carried out by financial intermediaries notably by disclosing the name of the final beneficiary, the amount received, the type of project and related environmental information, cooperating with EU delegations, and increasing its presence on the ground with additional staff focusing on development issues in partnership with local institutions, authorities and initiatives, and by responding adequately to local needs;

6. Stresses that the EIB should only finance clients that demonstrate willingness and experience in positive sustainable development impacts, and that it should refrain from supporting transnational companies and financial intermediaries that do not prioritise development projects and primarily seek profit maximisation, such as investment and private equity funds;

7. Underlines the priority to support partner countries, particularly developing countries, in their post pandemic recovery by strengthening public services and infrastructure, notably education and health systems, supporting local development and actors and domestic resource mobilisation, focusing on the fight against growing inequalities and enabling in particular the lower 40 % of the population to participate and contribute to a decent and future oriented process of re-building their communities; calls on the EIB to continue supporting specific investments to guarantee equal access to education, employment and financial services of women and girls, who are more vulnerable to the effects of poverty and food and economic crises;

8. Points out that the agriculture, food, forestry and fisheries sectors are key players for growth and development in rural areas; calls on the EIB to boost its investment and to support innovation in these relevant sectors, which can significantly contribute to food security, heathy diets as well as sustainability and resilience of global food systems; recalls the need for cooperation in the framework of the UN Food Systems Summit to achieve more progress on all 17 SDGs;

9. Expects the EIB to further develop its analytical and operational tools in order to support the UN 2030 sustainability agenda; stresses the importance of further enhancing the existing monitoring framework of the EIB to better assess and track the inputs and outputs of different projects, to monitor technical assistance activities and results, to facilitate financing and to strengthen technical advice operations;

10. Recalls the need for robust and publicly available ex ante impact assessments to mitigate the risks of EIB operations on human rights and on environmental, labour and social standards, and the need for regular and meaningful consultations with stakeholders, including civil society organisations; believes that ex ante impact assessments on human rights should be carried out for every project funded by the EIB, especially when implemented by financial intermediaries, and that continuous monitoring of operations on the ground should be ensured; stresses that the EIB needs to deal with complaints in a transparent and effective manner ensuring that local communities have access to independent entities such as a reinforced EIB complaint mechanism with effective redress and the European Ombudsman; calls on the revision of the EIB’s environmental and social standards in 2021 to address these major issues;

11. Welcomes the commitments made by the EIB towards countering tax evasion of beneficiary companies for development projects; calls on the EIB to prevent companies controlled by entities located in countries listed on the EU blacklist of prohibited jurisdictions from accessing EIB financing; calls on the EIB to require potential beneficiary companies to disclose information about their tax payments in each country in which they operate as a precondition for accessing EIB financing;

12. Reiterates its longstanding calls for the European Court of Auditors to be empowered to audit all EIB operations, and that these audits be made publically available;

13. Calls on the Commission to regularly disclose the rationale behind its opinions on the projects financed by the EIB, given that making such information public would clarify the decision-making process for EIB operations covered by the EU guarantee and the contribution of such operations to the Union’s development policy objectives;

14. Calls on the EIB to apply a suspension to its pending loans, to carefully assess the debt impact of its future operations, and to express public support for the creation of a multilateral debt workout mechanism to address both the impact of the crisis and the financing requirements of the Agenda 2030, given that all EIB shareholders are committed to the G20 commitment to suspend the debt of 77 countries following the debt crisis linked to the COVID-19 outbreak;

15. Calls on the EIB to engage in closer and transparent dialogue with Parliament, notably in the context of the EFSD+ and the ongoing discussions on the future European financial architecture for development, the future development and climate bank and on to the role of the EIB in this new framework.


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

16.3.2021

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

21

2

1

Members present for the final vote

Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou, Hildegard Bentele, Dominique Bilde, Udo Bullmann, Catherine Chabaud, Antoni Comín i Oliveres, Ryszard Czarnecki, Gianna Gancia, Charles Goerens, Mónica Silvana González, György Hölvényi, Rasa Juknevičienė, Beata Kempa, Pierfrancesco Majorino, Erik Marquardt, Norbert Neuser, Janina Ochojska, Jan-Christoph Oetjen, Christian Sagartz, Marc Tarabella, Tomas Tobé, Miguel Urbán Crespo, Bernhard Zimniok

Substitutes present for the final vote

Barry Andrews

 


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

21

+

ECR

Ryszard Czarnecki, Beata Kempa

NI

Antoni Comín i Oliveres

PPE

Anna‑Michelle Asimakopoulou, Hildegard Bentele, György Hölvényi, Rasa Juknevičienė, Janina Ochojska, Christian Sagartz, Tomas Tobé

Renew

Barry Andrews, Catherine Chabaud, Charles Goerens, Jan‑Christoph Oetjen

S&D

Udo Bullmann, Mónica Silvana González, Pierfrancesco Majorino, Norbert Neuser, Marc Tarabella

The Left

Miguel Urbán Crespo

Verts/ALE

Erik Marquardt

 

2

-

ID

Gianna Gancia, Bernhard Zimniok

 

1

0

ID

Dominique Bilde

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

 

 


 

OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON BUDGETS (4.2.2021)

<CommissionInt>for the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs</CommissionInt>


<Titre>on the financial activities of the European Investment Bank – annual report 2020</Titre>

<DocRef>(2020/2124(INI))</DocRef>

Rapporteur for opinion: <Depute>David Cormand</Depute>

 

SUGGESTIONS

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

1. Calls on the Member States to urgently agree on capital increase, both cash-in and callable in nature; welcomes the role the European Investment Bank (EIB) has been playing in the economic recovery linked to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; calls, in this context, for an expansive investment approach in the area of green and digital innovation in order to catalyse the just and digital transitions with a particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); calls on the EIB to stop financing stranded assets; calls on the EIB to ensure additionality of investment, in particular through its lending policies and in the context of a capital increase, while maintaining its high-credit standing (AAA) and to therefore prevent any crowding-out effects, notably as regards the recovery and resilience facility (RRF);

2. Notes the increasing economic role played by the EIB, in particular in the context of the economic recovery from the shock created by the COVID19 pandemic and welcomes its efforts to support the economic recovery after the pandemic by setting up a nearly EUR 25-billion strong Pan-European Guarantee Fund to mobilise up to EUR 200 billion in order to provide support for companies and SMEs in particular; expresses its regret that only 21 Member States contributed to the fund; calls for its swift roll-out and for unnecessary delays in its implementation to be avoided; underlines the pivotal role of SMEs as the backbone of Europe’s economy, since they represent almost 99 % of all businesses and provide around three quarters of all jobs, while being key drivers of innovation; points out that SMEs have been severely hit by the COVID-19 crisis and that many of them are facing unprecedented challenges, especially liquidity challenges; calls on the EIB to further enhance its support for SMEs. and to provide capital support to SMEs under the InvestEU regulation, as long as they were not already in difficulty according to State-aid terms at the end of 2019; calls on the EIB to prioritise lending, thereby enhancing job creation and retention, and to monitor and measure the impact of the funds to ensure real outcomes in all its lending policies, including InvestEU;

3. Welcomes the increasing EIB support provided to the health sector and stresses the need to reinforce public health systems and not to contribute towards their privatisation; welcomes the investment the EIB is fostering in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, which is currently estimated to the amount of EUR 770 million, and its active involvement in financing the development of treatments and vaccines; underlines, however, the dire need for transparency on this matter, and asks the EIB to disclose, while respecting relevant legal provisions, the past and upcoming contracts it has with pharmaceutical companies;

4. Notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge negative impact on children’s education and well-being across the globe, with millions of children still without access to education due to lockdown measures and therefore at risk of regression and suffering potential lifelong effects; welcomes the EIB’s investment in education, as investing in education helps to eradicate poverty, boost economic growth and improve gender equality; calls on the EIB to increase its investment in education to help mitigate the severe impact of the COVID-19 crisis on education systems globally;

5. Recalls the need to make the geographical distribution of EIB financing more balanced, in particular as the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated disparities in the EU; calls for the EIB to address systemic deficiencies that prevent certain regions or countries from taking full advantage of EIB financial opportunities, by, inter alia, strengthening its efforts to expand its loan activities by providing technical assistance and advisory support, especially in regions with low investment capacity and that did not benefit significantly from the derogation to the State-aid rules during the pandemic crisis because of the lack of financial capacity of the State, and by advising on the development of projects, with a view to promoting inclusive growth and economic, social and territorial convergence and cohesion and considering the demand-driven nature of EIB financing; believes that the current annual target for cohesion lending of 30 % of all new operations can serve as a solid stepping-stone for increased investment activities, therefore leading to economic, social and territorial cohesion and helping to narrow the economic development gap between the Member States;

6. Reiterates that all financial flows of the EIB Group should be fully consistent with the goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest and the Union’s new climate objective for 2030; recalls that large-scale change can only be achieved if industry is taken on board, the necessary incentives are given for innovative climate solutions and – if it is socially just – simultaneous support to the transition and to socio-economic development is ensured; welcomes the adoption of the Climate Bank Roadmap (CBR) 2021-25 of 11 November 2020, which reconfirms the EIB’s lasting commitment to align all its operations with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, and in particular welcomes the inclusion of the shadow carbon pricing mechanism; underlines, however, that the CBR’s provisions alone will not be enough for the EIB to be aligned with the Paris Agreement's objectives; recalls that the EIB decided to allow the non-Paris aligned projects that were already in the pipeline before November 2020 to be approved only until the end of 2022; calls, however, on the EIB to strive for a maximum compliance with the Paris Agreement in the ongoing appraisal procedures; welcomes the commitment of the EIB to prepare annual progress reports to update its governing bodies on the implementation of the CBR; believes that the progress reports should be published in due time and be easily accessible; calls for all the EIB group’s financial intermediaries and corporate clients to have a decarbonisation plan in place as soon as possible and by the end of 2025 at the latest, and for the EIB to provide assistance to enable this; warns the EIB against potential double-standards with regard to CBR implementation both within and outside the EU, and calls on the EIB to apply the same level of climate ambition for all its loans[12]; looks forward to the implementing document of the CBR to strengthen the ambition of the EIB; stresses that such new requirements must not be at the detriment of access to finance for SMEs;

7. Calls on the EIB Group to use its new operations as a way of supporting the goals of the EU Chemical Strategy for Sustainability, since they would boost innovation for safe and sustainable-by-design chemicals, materials and products, the Circular Economy Action Plan based on non-toxic material cycles and the upcoming Zero Pollution Action Plan for water, air and soil;

8. Welcomes the EIB’s support for the development and expansion of renewable energy sources, including geothermal; calls, however, for it to refrain from supporting projects that carry an increased risk of doing harm to the environment and biodiversity-rich areas and for it to improve disclosure of information and due diligence on the projects it supports;

9. Encourages the EIB to harness its operations as a way of facilitating the implementation of goals set within the European Green Deal, as well as its Farm to Fork strategy and Biodiversity Strategy for 2030; calls on the EIB and the Member States to follow the precautionary principle, apply necessary safeguards and support operations delivering the transition towards sustainable agriculture and management of natural resources while respecting planetary boundaries;

10. Acknowledges the challenges and progress achieved during the implementation of the Natural Capital Financing Facility (NCFF); calls on the EIB to consider providing a grant component under the NCFF to support the initial scaling up of local projects and facilitate generating revenues; believes that an evaluation of the NCFF should be embedded in a broader assessment of the EIB on how to support ecosystem and biodiversity restoration in the EU;

11. Expects the EIB to comply with Article 11 and Article 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, to apply the precautionary principle and to put on hold the disbursement, and, if necessary, withdraw funding if possible within the legal remits established for financing, if there is evidence or serious risk of adverse impacts on climate and/or the environment and/or local communities; calls for the suspension of funding within the legal remits where local authorities have been notified by a relevant court or prosecutor and/or engaged in legal procedures against possible violations of the relevant legislation, at least until investigations and judicial processes at national level are concluded; expects the inclusion of human rights due diligence obligation in all projects and demands that the EIB take immediate and firm action once it is provided with concrete evidence, coming from, for instance, human rights and environmental activists or whistle-blowers, of the matters relating to, inter alia, the involvement of a client or beneficial owner in a human rights and environment defenders reprisal, and to withdraw funding when such involvement is proven; recalls that the Commission asked the EIB to share more information on the effective application of contractual clauses enabling the EIB to halt or withdraw funding and expects that Parliament will have full access to this information; calls for thorough monitoring that fully takes into account concerns expressed by concerned parties and stakeholders, in particular for violations of human rights and the rule of law; calls for the EIB to conduct human rights impact assessments at project level, and to continuously monitor the implementation of projects on the ground, in order to prevent any abuse, unfair expropriation or violence against local populations; calls in this regard on the EIB to engage actively with local communities, and to make sure that complaints mechanisms are made known to the public and are easily accessible, even to remote or marginalised communities; recalls the need for the continued full application of the principle of free, prior and informed consent for indigenous peoples, and calls for its full and transparent implementation;

12.  Calls for the EIB’s revised transport lending policy to be prepared with the involvement of stakeholders and Parliament in particular, and to be fully aligned with the Paris Agreement objectives and the EU climate goals and to take into account the recommendations of the Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance[13], to fully apply the principle of do no harm and to complement the recently adopted CBR; calls for no new loans to be granted that hinder the decarbonisation of transport or the transition towards a more sustainable and affordable zero carbon mobility and welcomes the EIB’s commitment to not financing existing airport capacity expansion and port infrastructure dedicated to the transport and storage of fossil fuels; believes that more funding should be directed at low-carbon transportation, especially cycling and public transport development and modernisation, also in the context of sustainable urban design projects, in order to meet the needs of underserved communities and municipalities;

13.  Welcomes the review of the EIB Environmental Social Standards and calls for a wide and inclusive public consultation; acknowledges that the EIB systematically reports on economic, social and environmental impacts and provides ex-ante as well as ex-post evaluations of the screening exercise regarding environmental and social impacts; expects all projects to include more comprehensive gender and human rights dimensions and due diligence obligations, as well as sound pollution prevention and biodiversity proofing; welcomes the progress achieved in the implementation of the EIB gender strategy, and requests an update of its current implementation; looks forward to an ambitious version of the upcoming Gender Action Plan II 2021-2024; welcomes the improvement in the EIB’s diversity when it comes to gender balance, with an increase of women holding senior officer and management level positions to 33 % and 30 % respectively in 2019; welcomes the targets set by the EIB for 2021 to further increase the share of women in these positions; calls on the EIB to continue to promote all forms of diversity and inclusion within its organisation and to set ambitious targets; suggests that the EIB draw from the example of the UK development finance institution CDC Group, who have a gender strategy and toolkit in place; calls on the EIB to collect gender-disaggregated data in order to assess and address gender inequality in lending; urges the EIB to assess the gender impact of projects on the ground and conduct gender impact assessments of projects, and to connect with independent experts to this end; suggests that gender mainstreaming become a permanent point on the EIB board agenda; asks the EIB to allocate more human resources in charge of human rights and gender equality, in order to fully implement its environmental and social standards and its gender strategy;

14. Looks forward in 2021 to the upcoming revision of the EIB transparency policy; believes that it should ensure the timely and systematic publishing of the content of the meetings of all the EIB’s governing bodies; calls specifically for more transparency concerning the meetings of the Management Committee and their outcomes, for the minutes of the Board of Directors meetings to be published directly after the meeting and for the inclusion of information that better reflects the discussions at these meetings in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents[14]; highlights further the importance of publishing information relating to direct loans subject to the approval of the EIB Management Committee, including by publishing for each project the opinion of the Commission and that of the Member State in which the project is located, as well as its three-pillar assessment, its Results Measurement sheets and/or the European Fund for Strategic Investments scoreboard, where applicable, along with the greenhouse gas carbon footprint assessment, and the overall environmental and social assessment form; expects the EIB to enhance transparency and access to information regarding the contracting and subcontracting system, the results of internal investigations and the selection, monitoring and evaluation of its activities and programmes; calls on the EIB to publish monitoring and promoters’ reports proactively without disclosing commercially sensitive information;

15. Notes that the EIB is still reviewing its anti-fraud policy and urges the EIB to swiftly adopt the updated policy; calls for the inclusion of the EIB within the scope of the Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing[15]; calls on the EIB to publish ‘Know Your Customer’ checks before approving any project; believes that the EIB should ensure the highest level of integrity of its financial intermediaries, and that its loans should become subject to the same transparency requirements as other types of loan; calls, in this regard, for new ambitious standards for financial intermediaries with specific benchmarks following stringent tax, transparency, environmental and social standards; calls on the EIB to require its clients to apply relevant EU legislation on publication of tax and accounting data and to monitor that this is done; calls on the EIB to regularly publish the allocation list of final beneficiaries of intermediary finance operations for those projects that have a significant effect on the environment, including information on whether the projects have been subject to environmental impact assessments and an appropriate assessment consistent with the provisions outlined in Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora[16]; calls on the EIB to publish more substantive aggregate information about its loans, broken down by country, sector and financial instrument; calls on the EIB to amend the ‘EIB template contractual clauses on environmental matters’ and accordingly the contracts with financial intermediaries so that there are clear requirements as to what environmental information needs to be collected by the financial intermediary and passed on to the EIB for publication; calls on the EIB to cease working with financial intermediaries with a negative track record as regards transparency, fraud, corruption, organised crime or money laundering, respect for human rights or environmental protection; stresses that such new requirements should not be to the detriment of access to finance for SMEs; underlines the importance of independent audits to reveal any shortcomings in the application of anti-money-laundering standards, and asks for more transparency, in particular, for the EIB to make public any decision made to address said shortcomings; demands that the European Court of Auditors be granted full auditing powers; is of the opinion that the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) should, in the future, have the mandate to prosecute criminal activity with regard to EIB funds in the Member States that are also members of EPPO;

16. Highlights that, in 2019, 12.5 % of EIB loans concerned projects outside of the EU, amounting to around a third of all EU institutions’ official development assistance; recalls the Commission's statement that the EIB should better align its External Lending Mandate operations with EU policies[17];

17. Calls for more accountability towards the EU institutions, especially towards Parliament, as transparency is one of the cornerstones of democracy; believes that Members of the European Parliament should be allowed to submit questions for written answer to the EIB, as already provided for the European Central Bank; recognises the added value of European Ombudsman investigations, which can lead to more effective and transparent administration; calls, in this regard, on the EIB to implement recommendations of the European Ombudsman in good time; recalls that EIB funds are public money and should always be subject to public scrutiny and accountability; expresses its regret at the lack of transparency in the use of EIB loans as underlined by the European Ombudsman in her decision of 28 November 2019, which stated that there had been a ‘serious misuse of public funds and misrepresentations by a leading European company as to their purpose’[18]; calls on the EIB to apply stricter checks and due diligence in order to avoid such cases in the future, and in particular to disclose any relevant information related to cases of serious misuses of public funds;

18. Notes that the lack of access to finance for SMEs and mid-caps, particularly in the innovation field, remains a structural market failure; calls on the EIB to enhance cooperation with financial intermediaries and national promotional banks and institutions in order to reach a wide array of SMEs and mid-caps; calls on the EIB to prioritise projects creating sustainable jobs and reducing inequalities as well as growth capital so as to enable SMEs to scale up their operations;

19. Notes that the EIB will play a key role in Europe’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; calls on the EIB to be prepared for an important advisory role when it comes to investment in the just climate and digital transitions, SMEs, cohesion, and the recovery; calls on the EIB to maximise investment levels to curb the long-term negative impacts of the pandemic.


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

1.2.2021

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

31

2

6

Members present for the final vote

Rasmus Andresen, Robert Biedroń, Anna Bonfrisco, Olivier Chastel, Lefteris Christoforou, David Cormand, Paolo De Castro, José Manuel Fernandes, Vlad Gheorghe, Valentino Grant, Elisabetta Gualmini, Francisco Guerreiro, Valérie Hayer, Eero Heinäluoma, Niclas Herbst, Monika Hohlmeier, Mislav Kolakušić, Moritz Körner, Joachim Kuhs, Ioannis Lagos, Hélène Laporte, Pierre Larrouturou, Janusz Lewandowski, Margarida Marques, Siegfried Mureşan, Victor Negrescu, Andrey Novakov, Jan Olbrycht, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Karlo Ressler, Bogdan Rzońca, Nicolae Ştefănuță, Nils Torvalds, Nils Ušakovs, Johan Van Overtveldt, Rainer Wieland, Angelika Winzig

Substitutes present for the final vote

Damian Boeselager, Petros Kokkalis

 


 

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

31

+

PPE

Lefteris Christoforou, José Manuel Fernandes, Niclas Herbst, Monika Hohlmeier, Janusz Lewandowski, Siegfried Mureşan, Andrey Novakov, Jan Olbrycht, Karlo Ressler, Rainer Wieland, Angelika Winzig

Renew

Olivier Chastel, Vlad Gheorghe, Valérie Hayer, Moritz Körner, Nicolae Ştefănuță, Nils Torvalds

S&D

Robert Biedroń, Paolo De Castro, Elisabetta Gualmini, Eero Heinäluoma, Pierre Larrouturou, Margarida Marques, Victor Negrescu, Nils Ušakovs

The Left

Petros Kokkalis, Dimitrios Papadimoulis

Verts/ALE

Rasmus Andresen, Damian Boeselager, David Cormand, Francisco Guerreiro

 

2

-

ID

Joachim Kuhs

NI

Ioannis Lagos

 

6

0

ECR

Bogdan Rzońca, Johan Van Overtveldt

ID

Anna Bonfrisco, Valentino Grant, Hélène Laporte

NI

Mislav Kolakušić

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

 


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

3.6.2021

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

49

6

3

Members present for the final vote

Gunnar Beck, Marek Belka, Isabel Benjumea Benjumea, Stefan Berger, Gilles Boyer, Francesca Donato, Engin Eroglu, Markus Ferber, Jonás Fernández, Raffaele Fitto, Frances Fitzgerald, José Manuel García-Margallo y Marfil, Luis Garicano, Sven Giegold, Valentino Grant, Claude Gruffat, José Gusmão, Eero Heinäluoma, Michiel Hoogeveen, Danuta Maria Hübner, Stasys Jakeliūnas, France Jamet, Othmar Karas, Billy Kelleher, Ondřej Kovařík, Georgios Kyrtsos, Aurore Lalucq, Aušra Maldeikienė, Pedro Marques, Fulvio Martusciello, Costas Mavrides, Jörg Meuthen, Csaba Molnár, Siegfried Mureşan, Caroline Nagtegaal, Luděk Niedermayer, Lefteris Nikolaou-Alavanos, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Piernicola Pedicini, Lídia Pereira, Kira Marie Peter-Hansen, Sirpa Pietikäinen, Dragoş Pîslaru, Evelyn Regner, Antonio Maria Rinaldi, Alfred Sant, Joachim Schuster, Ralf Seekatz, Pedro Silva Pereira, Paul Tang, Irene Tinagli, Ernest Urtasun, Inese Vaidere, Stéphanie Yon-Courtin, Marco Zanni, Roberts Zīle

Substitutes present for the final vote

Manon Aubry, Eugen Jurzyca, Ville Niinistö

 


 

 

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

49

+

ID

Francesca Donato, Valentino Grant, Antonio Maria Rinaldi, Marco Zanni

PPE

Isabel Benjumea Benjumea, Stefan Berger, Markus Ferber, Frances Fitzgerald, José Manuel García-Margallo y Marfil, Danuta Maria Hübner, Othmar Karas, Georgios Kyrtsos, Aušra Maldeikienė, Fulvio Martusciello, Siegfried Mureşan, Luděk Niedermayer, Lídia Pereira, Sirpa Pietikäinen, Ralf Seekatz, Inese Vaidere

Renew

Gilles Boyer, Luis Garicano, Billy Kelleher, Ondřej Kovařík, Caroline Nagtegaal, Dragoș Pîslaru, Stéphanie Yon-Courtin

S&D

Marek Belka, Jonás Fernández, Eero Heinäluoma, Aurore Lalucq, Pedro Marques, Csaba Molnár, Evelyn Regner, Alfred Sant, Joachim Schuster, Pedro Silva Pereira, Paul Tang, Irene Tinagli

The Left

Manon Aubry, José Gusmão, Dimitrios Papadimoulis

Verts/ALE

Sven Giegold, Claude Gruffat, Stasys Jakeliūnas, Ville Niinistö, Piernicola Pedicini, Kira Marie Peter-Hansen, Ernest Urtasun

 

6

-

ECR

Michiel Hoogeveen

ID

Gunnar Beck, France Jamet, Jörg Meuthen

NI

Lefteris Nikolaou-Alavanos

Renew

Engin Eroglu

 

3

0

ECR

Raffaele Fitto, Eugen Jurzyca, Roberts Zīle

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

 

[1] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0005.

[2] OJ L 99, 31.3.2020, p. 5.

[3] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0054.

[4] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0305.

[5] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0017.

[6] https://www.eib.org/en/press/all/2021-060-capital-increase-for-eif-boosts-finance-for-covid-19-impacted-companies-and-strengthens-support-for-green-and-digital-transformation-of-the-eu-economy.

[7] Regulation (EU) 2020/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2020 on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment, and amending Regulation (EU) 2019/2088. OJ L 198, 22.6.2020, p. 13.

[8] Regulation (EU) 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 — the European Fund for Strategic Investments. OJ L 169, 1.7.2015, p. 1.

[9] Executive summary of the evaluation of 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 (SWD(2019)0333), 13 September 2019.

[10] Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2019 on sustainability‐related disclosures in the financial services sector, Article 2. OJ L 317, 9.12.2019, p. 1.

[11] EIB Climate Bank Roadmap, p. 55.

[12] EIB Group Climate Bank Roadmap 2021-2025, November 2020, point 4.61

[13] https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/business_economy_euro/banking_and_finance/documents/200309-sustainable-finance-teg-final-report-taxonomy_en.pdf

[14] OJ L 145, 31.5.2001, p. 43.

[15] OJ L 141 5.6.2015, p. 73.

[16] OJ L 206 22.7.1992, p. 7.

[17] Executive summary of the evaluation of 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 {SWD(2019) 333 final} 13 September 2019

[18] Decision in case 805/2018/MIG on the European Investment Bank’s refusal to grant public access to documents regarding a loan to Volkswagen, 28 November 2019

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