26 July, 2019. Kirchberg, Luxembourg. Today the European Investment Bank published a draft policy that, if accepted by EU finance ministers in September, will end the bank’s financing of fossil fuel production and infrastructure. Following years of civil society pressure from across Europe, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has signalled its willingness to help tackle the climate crisis and align itself with the Paris Agreement by cutting funding for all fossil fuels around the world, diverting billions of Euros each year away from dangerous new projects.
Following the recent announcement that it wants to channel funding towards decarbonisation and energy efficiency, the EIB has now said that it wants to phase out support to all energy projects reliant on fossil fuels and that these types of projects should not be presented for approval to the EIB Board beyond the end of 2020. The EIB has been criticised for financing massive new fossil fuel projects, such as the €1.5 billion spent on the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, but this shift in policy means that now only the finance ministers from EU member states can stand in the way of progress.
“For years now communities across Europe, like the community of Melendugno, Italy, have been taking to the streets, petitioning and using online platforms to challenge the EIB over its dangerous lending practices that have supported fossil fuels in Europe and around the world, driving environmental and social injustice. These people have organised and taken action to help channel billions of Euros away from fossil fuels, but it still depends on EU ministers approving this proposal at the meeting of the board in September, and ensuring that the bank doesn’t allow any loopholes that allow for fossil fuel expansion.” Nicolò Wojewoda, 350.org Europe Managing Director.
It is fitting that this proposal comes as temperature records are being broken across Europe, demonstrating that there really is no time to lose to tackle the climate crisis. The EIB proposal should send a message to other multilateral banks and lenders, telling them that they need to follow suit. It will also add further momentum to the waves of climate protests that have been growing across Europe in recent months, as people see the impact of their campaigns on the biggest financial institutions.
“This is the result of increasing pressure from European citizens who have mobilized to demand that the EIB stop using our money to finance the development of destructive fossil fuel projects. This news redoubles our determination. Actions are being organized across Europe to ensure that the finance ministers of the Member States take decisions in line with national and international commitments.” Clemence Dubois, 350.org France Team Leader.
Mark Raven – Senior Communications Specialist, 350.org