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Procedure : 2021/2203(INI)
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PV 06/07/2022 - 17
CRE 06/07/2022 - 17

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PV 07/07/2022 - 9.8

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Texts adopted
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Thursday, 7 July 2022 - Strasbourg
Financial activities of the European Investment Bank – annual report 2021

European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2022 on the financial activities of the European Investment Bank – annual report 2021 (2021/2203(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 EIB’s approval of the ratification of the Paris Agreement by the EU of 7 October 2016,

–  having regard to the EIB Group’s Complaints Mechanism Procedures, published on 13 November 2018,

–  having regard to the EIB’s energy lending policy, published on 14 November 2019,

–  having regard to the adoption of the Climate Bank Roadmap 2021-2025 by the EIB Board of Directors on 11 November 2020 and to the EIB’s new climate strategy of 15 November 2020,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Operational Plan 2021, published on 20 January 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Investment Report 2020/2021: Building a smart and green Europe in the COVID-19 era, published on 21 January 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Financial Report 2020, published on 3 May 2021, and its report on EIB financing and borrowing activities 2020, published on 5 May 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Operations Evaluation Activity Report 2020 and Work Programme 2021-2023, published on 3 June 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB publication of 14 June 2021 entitled ‘A partnership with Africa: How the European Investment Bank delivers on EU policies in Africa and our future plans for development and partnership across the continent’,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Charter for Internal Audit, published on 29 July 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Group anti-fraud policy, published on 5 August 2021, and its EIB Fraud Investigations Activity Report 2020, published on 29 July 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Risk Management Disclosure Report 2020, published on 9 August 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Group evaluation policy, published on 19 August 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Diversity and Inclusion 2020 Progress Report, published on 12 October 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Cohesion Orientation 2021-2027, published on 13 October 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Climate Adaptation Plan, published on 26 October 2021,

–  having regard to the Tripartite Agreement between the European Commission, the European Court of Auditors and the European Investment Bank, which came into force in November 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Group transparency policy, published on 18 November 2021, and to its whistleblowing policy, published on 24 November 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Investment Survey 2021 – European Union overview, published on 2 December 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Corporate Governance Report 2020, published on 9 December 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Impact Report 2020: climate action, environmental sustainability and innovation for decarbonisation, published on 20 December 2021, to its report entitled ‘The path to a better planet: Adapting to climate change and aligning with the Paris Agreement’, published on 28 October 2021, and to the EIB Climate Adaptation Plan: supporting the EU adaptation strategy to build resilience to climate change, published on 26 October 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Group PATH Framework – Supporting the counterparties on their pathways to align with the Paris Agreement (Paris Alignment for Counterparties), published on 26 October 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Investment Report 2021/2022 – Key Findings: Recovery as a springboard for change, published on 12 January 2022,

–  having regard to the EIB’s 2020 activity report entitled ‘Crisis Solutions’, published on 20 January 2021, and its 2021 activity report entitled ‘The Innovation Response’, published on 27 January 2022,

–  having regard to the judgment of the General Court (First Chamber) of 30 March 2022 in Case T-299/20, KF v EIB,

–  having regard to the comments issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in August 2021 on the Draft Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework (ESSF) of the EIB Group,

–  having regard to cases 1065/2020/PB, 1251/2020/PB and 1252/2020/PB concerning the EIB, which were decided by the European Ombudsman on 21 April 2022,

–  having regard to the European Ombudsman’s recommendation in case 2168/2019/KR on how the European Banking Authority handled the move of its former Executive Director to become CEO of a financial industry lobby, and its decision in case OI/3/2021/KR on how the European Defence Agency handled the application by its former Chief Executive to take on senior positions at Airbus,

–  having regard to the European Court of Auditors Special Report of 26 May 2021 entitled ‘Gender mainstreaming in the EU budget: time to turn words into action’,

–  having regard to the Environmental and Social Policy of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development of April 2019,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Operational Plan 2022-2024, published on 27 January 2022,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework, adopted on 2 February 2022,

–  having regard to the EIB’s Ukraine Solidarity Urgent Response, adopted on 4 March 2022,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 14 October 2020 entitled ‘Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability – Towards a Toxic-Free Environment’ (COM(2020)0667),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 December 2019 on the European Green Deal (COM(2019)0640) and to Parliament’s resolution of 15 January 2020 thereon(1),

–  having regard to the Commission communications of 20 May 2020 entitled ‘EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 – Bringing nature back into our lives’ (COM(2020)0380) and ‘A Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system’ (COM(2020)0381),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 March 2020 entitled ‘A new Circular Economy Action Plan for a cleaner and more competitive Europe’ (COM(2020)0098),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 12 May 2021 entitled ‘Pathway to a Healthy Planet for All – EU Action Plan: “Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil”’ (COM(2021)0400),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 8 March 2022 entitled ‘REPowerEU: Joint European Action for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy’ (COM(2022)0108),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2021/523 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 March 2021 establishing the InvestEU Programme(2),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2021/1056 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 June 2021 establishing the Just Transition Fund(3) and to Regulation (EU) 2021/1229 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 July 2021 on the public sector loan facility under the Just Transition Mechanism(4),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2021/947 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 June 2021 establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe(5),

–  having regard to the UN Sustainable Development Goals,

–  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 its resolution of 16 January 2020 on institutions and bodies of the Economic and Monetary Union: preventing post-public employment conflicts of interest(6),

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

–  having regard to the European Ombudsman’s inspection report of 18 May 2022 in case OI/1/2021/KR on how the Commission handles the challenge of ‘revolving door’ situations involving its (former) staff members,

–  having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A9-0165/2022),

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

B.  whereas the EIB signed loans for approximately EUR 95 billion in 2021 and supported circa 430 000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps, which are the backbone of the EU single market; whereas EUR 75 billion was linked to EIB Group operations and the remaining loans were in the framework of the European Guarantee Fund; whereas EUR 20,7 billion of the EIB Group’s financing supported innovation, including investment in digitalisation and the promotion of skills and training for the digital world, making a substantial contribution to EU global competitiveness and employment; whereas the total signature amount is more than any other multilateral bank and a record for the EIB;

C.  whereas Russia attacked Ukraine on 24 February 2022, creating a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and fundamentally impacting the economic and security situation in the EU and its neighbourhood; whereas the EIB’s Board of Directors approved a EUR 668 million Emergency Solidarity Package for Ukraine on 4 March, followed by subsequent payments to the Government of Ukraine for the most urgent needs; whereas the EIB pledged EUR 4 billion at Stand Up For Ukraine, a global fundraising event to support the victims of the Russian invasion and support Ukrainian war refugees in Member States, with a view to financing key social infrastructure, including housing, schools, hospitals and kindergartens;

D.  whereas the coronavirus pandemic has been a severe global shock with far-reaching social and economic consequences; whereas during the pandemic, the EIB signed around EUR 6,3 billion worth of loans as part of the COVID-19 response in the health sector, including projects for health and hospital infrastructure and medical equipment, as well as strengthening the medical health system with pandemic preparedness interventions; whereas resources mobilised during the pandemic have been an attractive target for fraud and corruption, as underlined in the EIB Fraud Investigations Activity Report 2020; whereas the EIB should take the necessary measures to ensure that resources reach their intended beneficiaries;

E.  whereas the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis and the illegal, unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against and invasion of Ukraine have had a major impact on fair, inclusive and sustainable growth, investment, resilience, employment, education and socio-economic inequalities; whereas high inflation and rising energy, fuel and food prices disproportionately affect the most disadvantaged households in society;

General remarks

1.  Stresses the fundamental role of the EIB as the EU’s public bank and the only international financial institution that is entirely owned by Member States and fully guided by EU policies and standards in supporting the social and economic recovery and targeting investments for attaining the EU’s objectives; takes note of the EIB Investment Report 2021/2022 and the EIB Group Operational Plan 2022-2024; welcomes the EIB’s record investment of almost EUR 95 billion of financing in 2021 and the bank’s focus on the EU’s long-term challenges of climate change, social cohesion and digital transformation;

2.  Condemns in the strongest possible terms the Russian Federation’s illegal, unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against and invasion of Ukraine, as well as the involvement of Belarus in this aggression; underlines the fact that the war has created a severe humanitarian crisis and has had a fundamental impact on the economic and security situation in the EU and its neighbourhood, which needs to be reflected in the EIB’s activities and investment plans more broadly;

3.  Welcomes the EIB’s reaction to the Russian invasion in Ukraine by approving the Emergency Solidarity Package, which consists inter alia of immediate financial support of EUR 668 million to the Ukrainian authorities by accelerating disbursements under existing loans and a commitment to accelerate the delivery of an additional EUR 1,3 billion; notes that this package includes both immediate financial support and support to infrastructure in the medium and longer term, including rebuilding efforts as soon as a free and independent Ukraine is re-established after the war; calls on the EIB to work on action plans for incentivising EU direct investments in Ukraine, including new post-war economic and social projects, such as schools, social housing and hospitals; highlights the importance of coordinated efforts in the response to the Ukraine crisis;

4.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to swiftly put in place a reporting mechanism to inform competent authorities about any and all assets held in European financial institutions by Russian and Belarusian natural and legal persons with links to the Putin and Lukashenka regimes, including in the EIB Group where relevant; calls on the EIB to be highly vigilant and closely follow new sanctions and measures agreed by the Council; recalls that the EIB ceased its operations in Russia following the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014; expects the EIB, furthermore, to halt the involvement of any Russian direct or indirect partners involved in investment projects, including through financial intermediaries;

5.  Calls on the Member States, in their capacity as shareholders, to increase the EIB’s capitalisation to enable more long-term loans and innovative instruments to finance projects with great potential for sustainability, social and innovation gains in key EU policy areas like digitalisation and the green transformation while maintaining the EIB’s current high credit rating;

6.  Welcomes the fact that the EIB supported more than 430 000 SMEs employing 4,5 million people in 2021; calls on the EIB, however, to provide additional growth capital to enable SMEs to scale up their operations; notes that the current high energy prices also impact SMEs’ competitiveness; invites the EIB to assess whether the current level of support for SMEs is sufficient in the context of high energy prices and rising costs of raw materials;

7.  Applauds the fact that a record EUR 20,7 billion of the EIB’s financing went to supporting innovation in 2021, including investment in digitalisation and the promotion of skills and training for the digital world; considers that this kind of investment is of paramount importance to maintain Europe’s competitiveness and pursue the EU’s strategic autonomy and is particularly relevant to employees in sectors requiring significant adjustment and requalification;

8.  Welcomes the new Cohesion Orientation, which commits to increasing EIB lending activities to 45 % of total EU-27 lending in cohesion regions by 2025 and to 23 % in least developed regions; stresses the importance of increased climate action in the regions concerned, with a view to promoting economic, social and territorial convergence and a just transition leaving no one behind, and stresses that investments should be selected on the basis of financial, economic and technical merit; calls on the EIB to continue to address systemic deficiencies that prevent certain regions or countries from taking full advantage of EIB financial opportunities, inter alia by strengthening its efforts to expand its loan activities by providing technical assistance, capacity-building and advisory support, especially in innovation, digitalisation, infrastructure, SME support and projects aimed at generating high-quality employment, and by prioritising projects that reduce inequalities and promote social diversity and inclusion; calls, in this regard, for increased support for advisory services such as the Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions (JASPERS), the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) and Fi-Compass;

9.  Applauds the timeliness of the European Guarantee Fund to help mitigate the negative social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including by supporting SMEs; notes that as of 31 December 2021, the EIB approved EUR 23,2 billion in European Guarantee Fund operations (95 % of the EUR 24,4 billion available), which represents about one third of what the EIB Group normally invests in a year; notes that without transparency regarding its final beneficiaries, it is difficult to draw conclusions about the fund’s impact on the European economy; calls, therefore, for a thorough assessment of the fund, evaluating to what extent the EIB’s involvement brought added value and to what extent the fund delivered on its objectives as the instrument is phased out, and the level of transparency in its implementation; calls for the assessment to be made public; welcomes the fact that an evaluation of the European Guarantee Fund is on the way and looks forward to receiving it;

10.  Takes note of the new Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework (ESSF); welcomes the adoption of sustainable finance as an operating model; calls for its swift implementation and for the EIB to establish clear and stringent procedures on how to carry out due diligence; calls, in addition, for all provisions in the ESSF to be properly reflected in contracts and for the application of the do no significant harm principle in all EIB operations;

11.  Welcomes the signature of the InvestEU agreement between the EIB and the Commission on 7 March 2022 and the fact that the European Investment Fund is a separate implementing partner; calls for the swift implementation of the new InvestEU Advisory Hub and underlines the need to speed up negotiations with other implementing partners;

Climate bank

12.  Welcomes the fact that 43 % of lending in 2021 was climate and environment related – up from 40 % in 2020 – and applauds the intention to meet the climate landing target in 2022; further welcomes the fact that – excluding the European Guarantee Fund mandate, which specifically targets SMEs hit by the pandemic – the EIB’s green financing share actually rose to 51 %; reiterates that all of the EIB’s financial flows should be fully consistent with net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest and with the EU’s increased climate objective for 2030; underlines that the climate transition must be inclusive and fair; stresses that green investments must be viable and the EIB must maintain a high credit standing (AAA); calls on the EIB, in this regard, to leverage its lending, financial instruments, technical assistance and advisory services to support people and regions facing socio-economic challenges deriving from the transition towards a carbon-neutral economy; highlights that the Climate Bank Roadmap (CBR) is a good starting point, but further action will be needed to ensure alignment with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, while keeping the 1,5 ºC objective within reach, and a just transition; reiterates that large-scale change can only be achieved if industry is taken on board and the necessary incentives are provided for innovative climate solutions and for creating high-quality jobs; calls for all action plans for the implementation of the CBR to be made public as soon as possible in order to provide an overview of the actions planned to achieve the targets and to assess their adequacy;

13.  Looks forward to the CBR’s mid-term review and stresses that it must serve to boost the transformation of the institution into a genuine climate bank which facilitates the preservation of natural resources and the protection of the environment; expects all lending to be harmonised with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, while keeping the 1,5 ºC objective within reach, and the EU’s climate and environmental commitments; calls for the CBR mid-term review to include a solid assessment of less carbon-intensive alternatives and ‘Scope 3’ emissions for each project; expects detailed annual progress reports on the CBR for all operations as of 2023, including the degree to which it is aligned with the EU’s climate objectives;

14.  Welcomes the Paris Alignment for Counterparties and expects it to be implemented in full; reiterates its call for financial intermediaries and not only corporate clients to have decarbonisation plans as soon as possible and by the end of 2025 at the latest; stresses that such new requirements must not be to the detriment of access to finance for SMEs; calls for a focus on the credibility of short-term decarbonisation plans; calls for stringent implementation of those plans and greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and for an evaluation to ascertain whether these can be included in contractual clauses between the EIB and its clients; expects the EIB to systematically check and ensure compliance, in particular as regards ESSF implementation;

15.  Welcomes the EIB’s increasing investments in energy in Europe, rising from EUR 10 billion in 2018 to over EUR 14 billion in 2021; calls on the EIB, in the light of the recent geopolitical developments, to speed up and increase investments in the EU’s energy security and reaffirms that enhancing EU energy security is compatible with the EIB’s role as a climate bank, as well as the aim of reducing energy poverty, which is becoming especially acute due to rapidly rising energy and fuel prices; reiterates its call on the EIB to implement the principle of energy efficiency in full and to set an objective of tackling energy poverty in its energy lending; reiterates its support for the EIB’s 2019 energy lending policy; calls on the EIB to prioritise funding for renewable energy investments, energy efficiency and energy security, which will increase the EU’s independence from third countries; calls on the EIB to scale up lending for such projects to help quickly reduce dependence on energy and raw material imports from Russia and other third countries;

16.  Welcomes the EIB Climate Adaptation Plan and the commitment to increase the share of climate action for adaptation to 15 % of the overall climate target by 2025; reiterates its call for harmonised screening methods to assess physical climate risk for all EIB lending activities, including those conducted through financial intermediaries;

17.  Recalls, in view of the upcoming mid-term review of the energy lending policy, the statement made by President Hoyer at the EIB Group’s annual press conference on 27 January 2022: ‘We believe that we have a mission to concentrate on sustainability and achieving the Paris goals with the means of a long-term investor institution. [...] Therefore I don’t see a change in our energy lending policy’; calls on the EIB to respect the recommendations of the Platform on Sustainable Finance and stop financing stranded assets and activities that are incompatible with the goals of the European Green Deal and related EU strategies; calls on the EIB to particularly focus on investments in projects that increase the security of energy supply by diversifying energy sources and suppliers, as well as reducing the EU’s dependence on energy from third countries; encourages the EIB to cooperate with local and regional authorities and facilitate financing for smaller projects, including community-led initiatives that focus on renewable energy sources; calls on the EIB to ensure that its investments in social and affordable housing, which are to be welcomed, also contribute to improvements in energy efficiency;

18.  Regrets the delays in the transport lending policy review; expects a proposal to be devised that is fully aligned with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, while keeping the 1,5 ºC objective within reach, including a vision for the EIB’s role in decarbonising mobility with a specific focus on company level transition; expects EIB loans to reduce the environmental impact of transport, while improving the quality and affordability of the services provided, and expects no new loans to be granted that hinder transport decarbonisation or the transition towards more sustainable and affordable zero-emission mobility; stresses the major risk of stranded assets in the transport sector; believes that more funding should be directed at zero-emission mobility, especially cycling and the development and modernisation of public transport, multimodal services, including as part of sustainable urban design projects, and better transport services for underserved communities and localities; calls for more funding to decarbonise the maritime sector;

Biodiversity and sustainability

19.  Welcomes the updated ESSF standard 4, namely the inclusion of ‘halt and reverse biodiversity loss’ as a principle, and limiting offsetting, in particular in high biodiversity areas, and calls for its diligent implementation; welcomes the efforts made to strengthen biodiversity risk assessment and due diligence through the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool; expects the data used to be up to date; is concerned, however, at the use of outdated data; expects the EIB to comply with Articles 11 and 191 TFEU and to stop disbursing funds, and to withdraw them if necessary, if evidence or a serious risk of adverse impacts on the climate, the environment or local communities is formally established, inter alia via environmental impact assessments;

20.  Recalls the target of the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 to unlock at least EUR 20 billion per year for spending on nature; underlines that society as a whole benefits from nature restoration, which is critical for a wide range of economic sectors, and that the cooperation of Member States with the EIB and other financial institutions can be key to closing the financing gap; acknowledges the challenges and progress achieved during the implementation of the Natural Capital Financing Facility; reiterates its call for a grant component to be provided under the facility or any successor instrument, taking the model of the Just Transition Mechanism as inspiration, to support initial scaling-up of local projects and facilitate revenue generation; calls for the launch of an independent public evaluation embedded within a broader assessment of supporting ecosystem and biodiversity restoration; notes that new instruments are due to replace the Natural Capital Financing Facility under the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework; urges the EIB, therefore, to exclude biodiversity offset projects in protected areas and high biodiversity areas from new instruments;

21.  Notes that Ukraine and Russia are major producers of food crops including wheat, corn and barley; notes that the war has severely impacted the Ukrainian agriculture sector; notes, furthermore, that Russia and Belarus are major producers of fertilisers; regrets that the war may have major spill-over effects on cross-border supply chains, food and fertiliser prices, the affordability of food in the EU, and the security and affordability of food globally; encourages the EIB to use its operations to facilitate the implementation of the goals of the European Green Deal, the farm to fork strategy and the biodiversity strategy for 2030, as well as all relevant and upcoming EU regulations on deforestation-free products and restoration stemming from these strategies; calls on the EIB not to support activities that hinder the transition towards a fully sustainable agriculture sector and natural resource management projects that do not respect planetary boundaries; calls for the EIB not to support any form of industrial farming or farming practices that do not comply with EU animal welfare standards, as set out in Parliament’s recommendation of 20 January 2022 to the Council and the Commission following the investigation of alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to the protection of animals during transport within and outside the Union(7);

22.  Reiterates its call for the EIB to support the goals of the EU chemicals strategy for sustainability as part of its new operations, by boosting innovation for safe and sustainable-by-design chemicals, materials and products, the circular economy action plan based on non-toxic material cycles and the action plan towards zero pollution for water, air and soil; welcomes the doubling of the Clean Oceans initiative (from EUR 2 to 4 billion by 2025) to reduce plastic waste; underlines that emphasis should be placed on projects aimed at finding sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics; calls on the EIB not to fund or contribute in any way to the development of deep sea mining; welcomes the EIB’s decision to provide technical assistance and project financing to the Global Methane Commitment;

23.  Welcomes the ongoing multi-currency issuance of climate awareness bonds and sustainability awareness bonds; welcomes, moreover, the commitment to aligning with the EU Green Bonds Standard and any future ‘Social Bond Standard’, to increasing transparency in particular, and to improving bond allocation and impact reporting; insists that any such steps taken must not lead to standards being lowered;

Social responsibility, health and gender

24.  Welcomes the inclusion of labour rights in ESSF standard 8 and calls for the stringent implementation of the latter; calls on the EIB to ensure that labour rights are better accounted for in its operations through the inclusion of contractual clauses requiring promoters to assess labour risks, and to ensure that labour rights are fully protected throughout the entire supply chain; calls on the EIB to help support an inclusive recovery following the pandemic through investments in the social sector, including in energy-efficient social housing, education, health and skills, and underlines the importance of developing fair, safe and healthy working conditions and respecting labour rights;

25.  Welcomes the fact that the EIB has played a key role in supporting the EU’s response to the health crisis; calls on the EIB to continue investments in making the public health sector more resilient, curbing the long-term negative impacts of the pandemic and enhancing preparedness for future pandemics;

26.  Underlines that development investments which involve women and take their needs into account are more effective and sustainable; calls on the EIB to contribute to the full implementation of the EU’s gender commitments including the third gender action plan, by systematically collecting targeted gender-disaggregated data and making it public; urges the EIB to assess the gender impact of projects within and outside the EU, and to report on the results of its assessments; considers that data should be collected on projects to demonstrate how they are contributing to gender equality and women’s empowerment; urges the EIB to assess the gender impact of projects and to liaise with independent experts to this end; calls on the EIB to ensure its advisory and technical assistance is equipped to advance gender equality and inclusive development, notably by having the necessary expertise, with a particular focus on training; highlights the need to step up lending to female-led SMEs to promote a gender-equal recovery;

27.  Regrets that the EIB failed to meet its original gender balance targets for 2021 and that women remain underrepresented in senior positions at the EIB; calls on the EIB, therefore, to step up its efforts to improve the gender balance across all levels of the organisation;

28.  Underlines the role of the EIB in contributing to the fulfilment of European priorities; expects the bank to support projects that deliver on the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals and the social recommendations identified in the country-specific recommendations under the European Semester; stresses the importance of dialogue and consultation with civil society organisations and encourages the EIB to strengthen its commitment to such activities; welcomes the EIB’s investment in education and reiterates its call on the EIB to increase its investment in education in order to help mitigate the severe impacts of the coronavirus crisis on education systems globally;

NDICI – EIB Global

29.  Expresses its support for EIB Global and considers that the EIB can play a key role in supporting the EU’s strategic interests; recalls that the EIB’s geographical scope is aligned with that of the World Bank; expects EIB investments in third countries to be fully aligned with EU climate, biodiversity and social standards applicable to intra-EU lending and with EU external action policies, including investments made as an implementing partner in the Global Gateway initiative; calls on the EIB to increase its engagement in less developed countries and those experiencing conflict and extreme poverty; calls for public consultation and full transparency on the strategies linked to EIB Global with a particular focus on the role of recipient countries and specific chapters on human rights due diligence; calls for full accountability and transparency of EIB Global’s governing body and Advisory Council, including proactive publication of the agendas and minutes of meetings of its new Advisory Council; calls for staff to be given suitable training in development matters to help them implement EU Global and Team Europe initiatives; calls on the Commission to clarify the use of the guarantees under the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus managed by the EIB and other financial institutions in the implementation of the Global Gateway initiative;

30.  Recalls the EU’s global commitment to defending and promoting human rights, which are indivisible, universal and interdependent; views the new ESSF as a good starting point, but reiterates its repeated request that additional action will be needed to ensure further improvements in the protection of human rights and in procedures to prevent human rights violations; recalls that the EIB is directly bound by the Charter of Fundamental Rights; points to the comments made by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the EIB’s draft ESSF and urges the EIB to take them fully and promptly into account, particularly those on human rights due diligence and the integration of human rights into its due diligence procedures, human rights impact assessments, and the need for the EIB’s general human rights commitment to be anchored in a responsibility to respect human rights; calls for these issues to be addressed in the upcoming statement on human rights; strongly believes that the EIB should not disburse loans in the event of clear human rights retaliations; calls for the EIB to make every effort to protect local communities, including by withdrawing funding where appropriate; expects, furthermore, immediate action to be taken when a client or beneficial owner is involved in reprisals against a human rights or environmental rights defender; expects the EIB to implement Parliament’s long-standing requests for it to avoid such situations, notably by establishing contractual requirements, including a requirement to obtain free, prior and informed consent from local communities, where applicable under international law, including for projects financed through financial intermediaries; expects the EIB to request that its clients conduct human rights impact assessments of their projects, as well as continuously monitoring the implementation of those projects on the ground, in order to prevent any abuse, unfair expropriation or violence against local populations; calls, in this regard, for the EIB to actively engage with local communities and inform them of their rights accordingly, with a particular focus on implementing free, prior and informed consent, including their access to the Complaints Mechanism;

31.  Believes that the implementation of EIB Global should be able to rely on an adequate level of staff based outside its Luxembourg headquarters to ensure a presence on the ground and effective cooperation with the European External Action Service and its delegations, as on-site expertise and follow-up of projects is key to supporting local communities; calls for a reinforcement of staff on the ground, especially local workers, in order to meet local needs with strengthened technical skills, including expertise on human rights and gender equality; expects a concrete human resources plan to be published in 2022 for the implementation of EIB Global and calls on the EIB to urgently strengthen mechanisms to fight fraud, corruption and other prohibited conduct, especially as part of efforts to increase its presence outside the EU; urges the EIB to expand its cooperation with national authorities in partner countries; recalls that the Nairobi regional headquarters has been in operation since 2019; welcomes the decision of November 2021 to upgrade it into the EIB’s new Nairobi Hub, facilitating cooperation with Kenyan, African, Team Europe and global partners, contributing to a better reflection of private and public investment priorities, and expanding expertise on climate action, innovation and digital investment;

32.  Stresses the importance of coherence, additionality and efficiency of development finance; calls on the EIB, in this regard, to strengthen cooperation with key partners; calls on the EIB to facilitate the participation of smaller development finance actors in its operations; calls on the EIB, furthermore, to place greater emphasis on crowding in private investment and on mobilising domestic resources in less developed countries;

Transparency and governance

33.  Recalls the overall goal of publishing information about projects three weeks before they are approved by the EIB Board; is concerned by the fall in transparency, specifically with regard to making information about projects publicly available in a timely manner; recalls that in 2010, 96,1 % of all projects were published three weeks before Board approval, falling to just 60 % in 2020; notes that according to the EIB, this downward trend is a consequence of the EIB’s greater engagement with companies in the private sector; regrets the increasing use of provisions on business confidentiality; acknowledges, in this context, the particular importance of both provisions on business confidentiality, in particular for SMEs, and transparency as a core element in protecting democratic principles, including human rights, and calls on the EIB to strike a balance between the two, bearing in mind that EIB funds are public money and should always be subject to public scrutiny and accountability; calls for more transparency and accountability, including towards EU institutions and Parliament in particular; highlights, in addition, that some recent projects that have required an environmental impact assessment have only been published after approval; recalls, furthermore, that the best standard with regard to private investors is to publish all projects at least 30 days before approval and that the International Finance Corporation (a member of the World Bank Group), which only finances projects in the private sector, publishes environmental impact assessments 60 days before financing decisions are taken; recalls that companies listed on the stock exchange have to operate under applicable capital market regulations, which include provisions on information sharing; points to the European Ombudsman’s recent recommendations on the need for the EIB to adopt a ‘more ambitious approach to its disclosure practice’, to act in line with EU transparency laws, and to be more transparent with regard to the potential environmental impact of the projects it finances; urges the EIB to implement these recommendations as soon as possible;

34.  Reiterates its request for an interinstitutional agreement between Parliament and the EIB 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 organisation of hearings and economic dialogues;

35.  Calls on the EIB to step up its reporting to Parliament regarding its decisions, progress achieved and the impact of its lending activities, notably through regular structured dialogues;

36.  Considers the new transparency policy a missed opportunity; calls on the EIB to reflect on critical assessments and regrets the fact that the EIB has partly ignored Parliament’s very clear demands to improve its transparency policy in line with other financial institutions’ best practices and standards; welcomes the publication of additionality impact statements for the EIB’s operations as part of its additionality and impact measurement framework; regrets the fact that the new policy makes only minor advances for proactive publication, including for projects of more than EUR 50 million implemented by financial intermediaries, despite the need for the EIB to operate on the basis of ‘presumption of disclosure’ to fulfil its mission as the EU’s public bank; notes that the new policy does not create an obligation for the EIB to proactively publish information on project selection, in particular due diligence information, before the decision by the EIB Board, in line with the practices of international financial institutions; is also concerned about the exceptions for access to documents based on third-party commercial interests and the Market Abuse Directive(8); regrets, in addition, that the policy fails to provide for timely disclosure of the minutes of the Board and Management Committee; calls for these shortcomings to be urgently addressed; calls for the transparency policy to be aligned with that of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on mandatory disclosure for intermediaries of projects with high environmental risks and reiterates its calls for transparency requirements aligned with those for hydropower to be extended to all infrastructure projects, including those financed by financial intermediaries;

37.  Calls, in this regard, for an ambitious standard for financial intermediaries following stringent tax, transparency, environmental and social standards; calls for the EIB to amend, as soon as possible, its template for contractual clauses on environmental matters and, accordingly, the contracts with financial intermediaries setting requirements on what environmental information must be collected and published; stresses, however, that such new requirements must not be to the detriment of access to finance for SMEs;

38.  Takes note of the updated code of conduct and welcomes the more stringent rules on conflicts of interest and the commitment for a periodic review; regrets that, despite repeated requests, there is no provision excluding vice-presidents from overseeing operations in their countries of origin and insists that this be addressed in the next review;

39.  Expresses serious concerns at the lack of social dialogue at the EIB, in particular to address concerns about harassment, the working environment and working conditions; expects the EIB management to ensure zero tolerance of all forms of misconduct and to implement the necessary changes to prevent misconduct as a matter of urgency; urges the EIB management to engage in genuine dialogue with staff in order to address their concerns and to foster trust and a culture of accountability; encourages the bank to launch surveys and consultations of its staff;

40.  Asks the Commission to publish the rationale for its opinion under the Article 19 procedure;

Zero tolerance against fraud

41.  Takes note of the new anti-fraud policy and underlines the importance of inclusive cooperation when developing key anti-fraud policy tools; is concerned that the EIB’s policy on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism fails to address major shortcomings, namely the inclusion of the requirements from the EU’s fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive(9), in particular publication of ‘know your customer’ checks before any project is approved; deplores, moreover, the lack of improvement in transparency standards, namely making the granting of direct and indirect loans subject to publication by the beneficiaries of tax and accounting data of the beneficiaries and financial intermediaries involved in financing operations; regrets the fact that the EIB has not commissioned independent audits of its application of anti-money laundering standards; expects the EIB to align itself with the EU’s evolving regulatory framework and practices on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism in order to enable the bank to effectively prevent involvement in prohibited conduct and to take corrective action, notably by excluding entities, recovering funds and availing itself of other contractual and legal remedies;

42.  Calls on the EIB to commit to strengthening its policy against tax fraud, tax evasion and tax avoidance, including by refraining from funding beneficiaries or financial intermediaries and from cooperating with financial partners with a proven negative track record; calls on the EIB to enforce prevention measures and regular tax assessments against non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, tax and fiscal fraud and tax evasion, as well as illegal and aggressive tax avoidance; calls on the EIB to subject the granting of direct and indirect loans to the publication of country-by-country tax and accounting data by the beneficiaries and to the sharing of beneficial ownership data on the beneficiaries and financial intermediaries involved in financing operations, by including a specific clause in the contracts it signs with its clients; calls on the EIB Group to align its policy towards weakly regulated, non-transparent and non-cooperative jurisdictions and tax good governance with evolving European and international regulatory developments in the area of tax integrity as well as tax good governance standards and policies; underlines that international cooperation is key in combating fraud, corruption and other prohibited conduct effectively; calls on the EIB to refer suspected prohibited conduct to authorities within and outside the EU for further investigation and criminal prosecution, and to provide assistance as requested;

43.  Reiterates its call for the suspension of funding where local authorities have been notified 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;

44.  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 Parliament to have full access to this information; expects thorough monitoring that fully takes into account concerns expressed by relevant parties and stakeholders, in particular for human rights and rule of law violations;

45.  Reiterates its demand for the EIB to strengthen the autonomy and efficiency of its Complaints Mechanism Office and Fraud Investigation Division; is concerned that there has been at least one very clear EIB Complaints Mechanism report concluding that the EIB’s environmental and social standards had been breached; welcomes, therefore, the fact that the bank took action following a Complaints Mechanism report to suspend disbursement; believes, however, that there are lessons to be learned about improving the screening of project compliance with the bank’s own policies and in informing the public about projects; recommends that for complex projects, the bank should seek assistance from local environmental and social experts in order to assess projects more thoroughly and acquire a better understanding of specific contexts; calls on the EIB, furthermore, to ensure that standards are upheld throughout the entire project cycle and to take corrective action where standards are not complied with, either by taking effective, meaningful and immediate remedial action, where possible, or by bringing the project to a swift halt; expresses concern that, where a project might involve a conflict of interest, it still remains unclear how the harm caused will be mitigated; calls on the EIB to commit to reinforcing its transparency culture by further strengthening ethical interest representation, notably by introducing a transparency register requiring the management committee members to disclose their meetings with interest representatives; urges the EIB, furthermore, to avoid post-public employment without a sufficient cooling-off period, which should be established with due regard for the recent European Ombudsman recommendations in relation to the European Banking Authority and the European Defence Agency, as it constitutes a risk not only to the EIB’s reputation but also its independence;

46.  Welcomes the working arrangement with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office and calls for its full and diligent implementation, in particular as regards reporting;

47.  Welcomes the signing of the working arrangement between the EIB and Europol on 29 October 2021, which seeks to facilitate the sharing of information and expertise in the fight against fraud and corruption; expects this arrangement to be implemented in full;

48.  Reiterates its call on the EIB to enhance its relationship with the European Ombudsman and the European Anti-Fraud Office;

49.  Welcomes the renewed tripartite agreement between the European Court of Auditors, the EIB and the Commission, which strengthens the court’s auditing rights with regard to EU revenue and expenditure managed by the EIB, while paying due respect for existing data confidentiality provisions; notes, however, that data relating to the activities of the EIB’s own funds remains outside the scope and mandate of the court’s audits;

o   o

50.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the European Investment Bank.

(1) OJ C 270, 7.7.2021, p. 2.
(2) OJ L 107, 26.3.2021, p. 30.
(3) OJ L 231, 30.6.2021, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 274, 30.7.2021, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 209, 14.6.2021, p. 1.
(6) OJ C 270, 7.7.2021, p. 113.
(7) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2022)0015.
(8) Directive 2014/57/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on criminal sanctions for market abuse (OJ L 173, 12.6.2014, p. 179).
(9) 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 (OJ L 141, 5.6.2015, p. 73).

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