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Publication / 5 January 2010

Citizens' Guide to the European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the world's biggest public lender and one of the largest development financiers operating in the Global South. It is the house bank of the European Community and with more than EUR 53 billion of approved loans in 2006 the EIB it is also the biggest international public financial institution operating globally.

An ever increasing amount of the EIB's operations now takes place outside the EU, where its absence of binding operating standards is compounded by the non-applicability of the EU laws that guide the EIB in Europe. Essentially, the EIB is becoming a major EU development body, without any of the expertise, capacity or operating principles that such a body must have.

The Citizens' Guide is a publication of Counter Balance: Challenging the European Investment Bank, a campaign involving a range of environment and development NGOs. The Guide starts by laying out the basic facts about the EIB and then it moves on to look at what it should be doing: the obligations of the EIB under EU law and EU development goals and treaties. Next the guide provides an analysis of the EIB as an EU body in a framework of democratic institutions.

This Citizens' Guide also provides alternatives: the human rights, environmental and sustainable development cases for a different approach to development by the EIB. And in the end there is a short practical guide, for people affected by EIB-backed projects and the interested public alike, on how to deal with the EIB.

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