European Investment Bank (EIB)

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is a multilateral investment bank founded in Brussels in 1958. It was created by the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community (EEC). The EIB was originally headquartered in Brussels before moving to Luxembourg in 1968. It has remained headquartered in Luxembourg, even as the EEC was ultimately absorbed into European Union (EU).

The Bank’s mission is defined by its relationship to the EU. The EIB’s website explains, “The EIB is the European Union’s bank. We are the only bank owned by and representing the interests of the European Union Member States. We work closely with other EU institutions to implement EU policy.” More than 90% of its financing is for activities in Europe; however, the EIB is also active in 160 countries around the world.

In 1988, the Bank’s lending stood at 10 billion European currency units (ECU). This increased to 45 billion euro in the mid-2000s. Lending rapidly expanded in response to the 2008 financial crisis, with 79 billion euro in 2009. By 2016, lending had decreased to 76.358 billion euro. These financing levels make the EIB the world’s largest multilateral borrower and lender. By comparison, the World Bank Group—including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Development Association, the International Finance Corporation, and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency—committed $61 billion in 2016.

The Environmental and Social Principles and Standards, adopted in 2009, are the focus of the Bank’s policies for responsible financing. The Bank also considers responsible borrowing, management of its internal environmental footprint, and other factors as components of its corporate responsibility.

To ensure accountability to these standards, the EIB has a Complaints Mechanism (CM), which is supported by the possibility of appeal to the European Ombudsman. Allegations of fraud and corruption are not handled by the CM. Instead, they are handled by the Inspectorate General in line with the EIB’s Anti-Fraud Policy and the Procedures for the Conduct of Investigations.

Access to information about the EIB’s activities is governed by the current Transparency Policy, which was adopted in March 2015 after public consultation.

Please follow the links to learn more about the EIB’s CM and our work to improve accountability at the EIB.


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