Germany to sit out decisive EIB vote amid fossil fuel row

(EurActiv, 13 Nov 2019) Germany is preparing to abstain from a vote on the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) future energy lending policy on Thursday (14 November). Internal government disputes continue to scuttle attempts to form a common position on scrapping fossil fuel funding.

The Bundesrepublik’s finance, environment and justice ministries are in favour of a proposed update that would scrub the EIB’s loan books of fossil fuel projects by the end of next year, as part of the EU lender’s metamorphosis into a climate bank.

But the government has come up short in brokering a common position among its various ministries, meaning Germany is likely to abstain from a vote on the new policy scheduled for tomorrow, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Germany’s energy ministry is likely to be the main obstacle, given its opposition to the EIB’s proposal to end funding for natural gas projects.

Berlin’s reluctance comes despite a last-minute attempt by the EIB to make room for low-carbon gases like biomethane and hydrogen, as well as an extension to the 2020 cut-off point for projects that have already secured the European Commission’s blessing.

That is because Germany’s domestic plans to ditch coal and pick up the slack left by the nuclear power phase-out rely heavily on natural gas. The energy ministry is reportedly worried that a vote in favour of the EIB’s strategy would undermine its own planning.

The finance ministry has also struggled internally on which side of the argument to support before reportedly backing the EU lender’s position, according to documents obtained by Greenpeace’s Unearthed investigative journalism project, seen by EURACTIV.

External link

EurActiv, 13 Nov 2019: Germany to sit out decisive EIB vote amid fossil fuel row