The European Investment Bank in Luxembourg faces allegations of maladministration
Photo: European Investment Bank
Three NGOs have complained about the European Investment Bank’s lack of transparency and its attempts to block public scrutiny.
The EU ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, has decided that the complaint was admissible and opened an official case on 27 February.
The EIB, a multilateral development bank owned by EU member states, invests around €80 billion annually in projects which focus on economic development and climate change investment.
ClientEarth, CEE Bankwatch Network and Counter Balance filed a complaint because the EIB blocked a challenge to its new transparency policy. The EIB policy keeps all information about investigations confidential, including those of corruption and fraud.
ClientEarth was concerned about the accountability of the bank. It argued that it creates illegal exceptions to people’s right to scrutinise it. James Thornton, ClientEarth chief executive, said the complaint mechanism is in place to make sure the bank is accountable for every euro of public money spent.
“It is wrong to say that the EIB has dismissed the complaint from the NGOs in question overall. The complaint has two elements. The first is about the implementation by the EIB of its transparency policy. The EIB’s complaint mechanism is currently dealing with this and the investigation is ongoing. The second element is about possible issues around the legality of the EIB’s transparency policy itself. Here, the EIB’s Complaint Mechanism took the view that it was not in a position to deal with issues concerning the legality of the EIB Transparency Policy, which was approved by the EIB Board of Directors. (…) The EIB’s complaint mechanism is independent from EIB management and looks at each issue on individual merit.”
If the ombudsman finds the bank guilty of maladministration, she will make recommendations to improve its transparency.