EU bank urged to put brakes on Germany’s motorway millions

(EurActiv, 22 Oct 2020) The European Investment Bank’s decision to loan Germany €264 million to build a new stretch of autobahn has provoked outcry from environmental activists and raised doubts about whether the Luxembourg-based lender can yet claim to be the ‘EU climate bank’.

Under a deal finalised in September, the EIB will fund about 20% of the costs to build a 31km-long section of the A49 highway in the state of Hesse, central Germany. The total cost of the project is estimated to be about €1.3 billion.

According to the bank, the project “bridges a current gap in the motorway network” and will help provide “an efficient network for the next generation of electricity-fuelled vehicles”. An environmental impact assessment concluded that it is in line with the EIB policies.

But the motorway will cut through 27 hectares of the Dannenröder forest and has prompted environmental campaigners, including Greenpeace, to take up residence in the woodland in order to prevent the start of construction.

At the start of October, protestors tried in vain to stop bulldozers from clearing trees in an adjacent woodland, local police were called in and a number of arrests were made.

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EurActiv, 22 Oct 2020: EU bank urged to put brakes on Germany’s motorway millions