The EIB needs to support the transformation of EU mobility, not undermine it

(EurActiv, 19 Apr 2021) The upcoming review of the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) transport policy provides an opportunity to shift public spending away from high-carbon and polluting projects to more sustainable transport modes such as trains, public transport, and cycling, writes Clara Bourgin.

Clara Bourgin, is policy and advocacy officer at Counter Balance, a collection of NGOs campaigning to reform public finance institutions.

An analysis published today by Counter Balance examines EIB transport investments and proposes a real change of course.

The EIB is the largest multilateral lender in the world, and also the financial arm of the European Union. The transport sector is a major area for EIB investments, but has until now been far from climate friendly. From 2016 to 2020, the EIB has invested more than €4 billion in loans for the expansion of airports, €12.6 billion for roads, highways and motorways, and almost €3 billion in polluting investments for the maritime sector.

This is quite paradoxical at a time when the EIB is transforming itself into the “EU Climate Bank” and has been tasked to play a pivotal role in the European Green Deal and EU recovery plans.

In November 2020, the EIB approved a Climate Roadmap aiming at aligning all its operations with the 1.5°C objective of the Paris Agreement. A welcome step was taken with an announced ban on airport capacity expansion, with the Bank rightfully identifying such investments as being non-Paris Aligned.

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EurActiv, 19 Apr 2021: The EIB needs to support the transformation of EU mobility, not undermine it