MIL-OSI Europe: REPORT on the control of the financial activities of the European Investment Bank – annual report 2020 – A9-0173/2022

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Source: European Parliament

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the control of the financial activities of the European Investment Bank – annual report 2020

(2021/2235(INI))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to the European Investment Bank (EIB) Activity Report 2020, published on 20 January 2021,

 having regard to the EIB Financial Report 2020, published on 3 May 2021, and the EIB report on financing and borrowing activities 2020, published on 5 May 2021,

 having regard to the EIB Group Operational Plan 2020, which was approved by the EIB’s Board of Directors on 12 December 2019 and published on 30 January 2020,

 having regard to the 2020 European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) report from the EIB to the European Parliament and the Council on 2020 EIB Group financing and investment operations under EFSI,

 having regard to the EIB Group Climate Bank Roadmap 2021-2025, adopted by the EIB’s Board of Directors in November 2020 and published on 14 December 2020, and to the EIB Climate Strategy, adopted in November 2020 and published on 15 November 2020,

 having regard to the best banking practice guiding principles of the European Investment Bank, approved by the Board of Governors of the EIB in 2018 and published on 3 October 2018,

 having regard to the EIB Group Sustainability Report 2020, published on 27 May 2021, and the report entitled ‘EIB 2020 Sustainability Disclosures in accordance with SASB Framework (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board)’, published in April 2021,

 having regard to the EIB Group Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework, adopted on 2 February 2022,

 having regard to the guidance note to EIB promoters on environmental and social performance in EIB-financed operations in response to the COVID-19 outbreak crisis, adopted on 29 May 2020,

 having regard to the report on the implementation of the EIB Group Transparency Policy in 2020, published on 16 April 2021,

 having regard to the leaflet of 2 February 2021 entitled ‘European Investment Bank’s engagement with civil society – 2020 highlights’,

 having regard to the EIB Audit Committee Annual Reports for the year 2020, published on 8 October 2021,

 having regard to the EIB Fraud Investigations Activity Report 2020, published on 29 July 2021,

 having regard to the EIB Compliance Activity Report 2020, published on 10 May 2021,

 having regard to the 2020 Annual Report of the EIB Ethics and Compliance Committee, published on 29 September 2021, and to its operating rules,

 having regard to the codes of conduct for EIB Group staff, for members of its Audit Committee and for its Management Committee,

 having regard to the EIB Group’s Risk Management Disclosure Report 2020, published on 9 August 2021, and its high-level risk appetite statement,

 having regard to the EIB’s 2020 European Investment Advisory Hub Report, published on 15 July 2021,

 having regard to Articles 3 and 9 of the Treaty on European Union,

 having regard to Articles 15, 126, 174, 175, 208, 209, 271, 308 and 309 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), to Protocol No 5 thereto on the Statute of the EIB and to Protocol No 28 thereto on economic, social and territorial cohesion,

 having regard to the Rules of Procedure of the EIB,

 having regard to the Tripartite Agreement between the European Commission, the European Court of Auditors and the European Investment Bank (the Tripartite Agreement), which came into force in November 2021,

 having regard to its resolution of 7 July 2021 entitled ‘Control of the financial activities of the European Investment Bank – annual report 2019[1],

 having regard to Regulation (EU) 2020/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2020 on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment, and amending Regulation (EU) 2019/2088[2] (the EU Taxonomy Regulation),

 having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)[3],

 having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents[4],

 having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/843 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, and amending Directives 2009/138/EC and 2013/36/EU[5] (the Fifth AML Directive), –  having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

 having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A9-0173/2022),

A. whereas the EIB is treaty-bound to contribute to EU integration, economic and social cohesion and regional development, in accordance with Article 309 TFEU and Protocol No 28, as well as to the balanced and steady development of the internal market;

B. whereas the EIB Group remains committed to continuing to increase its share of financing dedicated to supporting climate action and environmental sustainability and remains focused on its statutory mission of supporting cohesion;

C. whereas public policy goals such as territorial and social cohesion, sustainable development, and tackling (youth) unemployment, poverty and social exclusion should be the core focus and targets of the EIB in its task of contributing to the balanced and steady development of the internal market;

D. whereas the EIB is bound by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and whereas human rights principles are integrated into its due diligence procedures and standards, including publicly available ex ante assessments;

E. whereas the EIB was at the forefront of tackling the COVID-19 crisis in the European Union, notably playing its part with a prompt support programme focused on those clients and sectors most affected by the crisis, and also established a new instrument called the Pan-European Guarantee Fund in 2020, which provides much-needed capital for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);

F. whereas in November 2019, the EIB expressed its ambition to align all its financing activities with the principles and goals of the Paris Agreement by the end of 2020 and to work in coordination with the European External Action Service and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development;

G. whereas the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 required a significant effort from the EIB to offer additional support to businesses and especially SMEs, which have been hit particularly hard by the effects of the crisis, and to contribute to EU objectives;

H. whereas the EIB’s AAA rating is necessary to ensure appropriate market sources of financing at most preferential rates and must, therefore, be preserved;

I. whereas the EIB should deliver added value with the highest level of integrity, good governance, transparency and accountability, and in accordance with the applicable best banking practice;

J. whereas combating all forms of money laundering, financing of terrorism, organised crime and harmful tax practices should remain a constant priority of the EIB;

K. whereas the EIB plays an important role outside the EU, through its external lending activities, as the biggest multilateral financial institution in the world;

Performance of the EIB’s financial operations

1. Notes that in 2020, the bank’s new lending signatures amounted to EUR 66.1 billion, in line with the target set in the 2020 operational plan and above those of both 2019 (EUR 63.3 billion) and 2018 (EUR 55.6 billion); points out that the biggest share was allocated in Italy, Spain and France (15 %, 13 % and 11 % of the total signatures respectively) and that the transport, global loans and energy sectors received the largest shares (29.3 %, 20.5 % and 14.9 % respectively);

2. Reiterates its call for a fair and transparent geographical distribution of projects and investment with a focus on less-developed regions, especially with regard to innovation, digitalisation and infrastructure, with a view to promoting inclusive growth and economic, social and territorial convergence and cohesion; calls for the EIB to address recurring shortcomings that prevent certain regions and countries from taking full advantage of the EIB’s financial activities;

3. Observes that as at 31 December 2020, the outstanding volume of signed loans had slightly decreased to EUR 558.7 billion (from EUR 560.3 billion at the end of 2019), of which 82.2 % was for projects within the EU (2019: 81.4 %); notes that the EIB’s disbursed loan portfolio amounted to EUR 444.6 billion compared to EUR 447.5 billion at the end of 2019;

4. Notes that the outbreak of COVID-19 considerably changed the EIB’s disbursement profile in 2020, with more than 50 % of the target reached in the first half of the year thanks to the bank’s fast-tracking and reprioritising of the existing disbursements pipeline to support clients’ liquidity needs; notes that disbursements reached EUR 58.3 billion in 2020;

5. Takes note of the net profit of EUR 1.7 billion reported by the EIB for 2020, in comparison to EUR 2.4 billion in 2019;

6. Observes with appreciation the EIB’s role as the largest supranational issuer of green and social use-of-proceeds bonds, as well as the growing interest of sustainable investors in this type of issuance in the context of the European Green Deal and the EU Taxonomy Regulation; notes that in 2020, the EIB marked a record of EUR 10.5 billion equivalent issuance in sustainability debt products;

7. Notes that as a result of the replacement of the United Kingdom’s share in the EIB’s capital, the EIB’s paid-in capital base has grown by EUR 0.5 billion and its callable capital has increased compared to the situation before Brexit;

8. Notes that the overall loan portfolio continued to perform well, with only 0.4 % impaired loans at the end of 2020 (compared with 0.4 % at the end of 2019); observes that the portion of payments overdue by more than 90 days remains very low, totalling EUR 117.1 million at the end of 2020 (compared with EUR 146.0 million at the end of 2019) and representing only 0.03 % of the risk portfolio;

9. Notes with appreciation that despite the general context of uncertainty in the global financial markets owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EIB continues to maintain a robust liquidity position; underlines that the bank’s total liquidity ratio remains well within internal limits, covering 78.1 % of projected net cash outflows (compared to 88.6 % in 2019);

10. Calls on the EIB to prioritise, through its lending activities for social, green and sustainable projects, the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;

11. Call on the EIB to play an active role in supporting projects that contribute to the just transition, such as research, innovation and digitalisation, SMEs’ access to finance and social investment and skills; reiterates its calls for the EIB to provide targeted financing for just transition initiatives as a matter of priority, while taking into account the additionality that EIB financing can provide in combination with other sources; stresses, moreover, that coordination with other financing instruments is crucial given that the EIB alone cannot finance all of these initiatives;

12. Notes that in the present difficult context (an ongoing pandemic and the Russian aggression against Ukraine), the gap between economic situations and the capacities of the Member States has widened, and underlines the importance of ensuring that the most affected regions and countries can adjust to the new circumstances so that no one is left behind;

Actions related to the COVID-19 pandemic

13. Congratulates the EIB Group, despite the COVID-19 outbreak, on its ability to remain fully operational and to continue conducting its activities in the normal course of business; points out that the COVID-19 pandemic did not have direct material adverse financial impacts on the EIB;

14. Notes that in March and April 2020, the Commission and the EIB Group redirected EUR 1 billion of available EFSI resources to existing guarantee instruments (InnovFin SMEG and COSME LGF) managed by the European Investment Fund (EIF) to the benefit of the hard-hit SME and mid-cap sector in the EU;

15. Acknowledges that the EIB has made available financing for investments in the healthcare sector, such as those by European companies involved in vaccine research and developing therapeutic and diagnostic solutions to combat COVID-19; notes that signatures of the EIB healthcare pipeline at the end of 2020 amounted to EUR 5.2 billion, of which EUR 175 million for applied research for COVID-19 vaccines;

16. Calls on the EIB to continue to prioritise investments in health infrastructure, personnel training and the quality of national health services in order to reduce inequalities between countries;

17. Welcomes the EIB’s role in the success of the BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine through the signature in June 2020 of a EUR 100 million loan facility, making it the first financial investor to back BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine programme;

18. Underlines that the EIB, at the same time, offered support to global programmes to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, especially in the developing world;

19. Stresses that the EIB Group pledged EUR 6.5 billion to support countries outside the EU, including over EUR 1 billion to Ukraine for infrastructure, environment, innovation and post-COVID-19 recovery and EUR 1.7 billion to support the social and economic recovery of the Western Balkans from the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a EUR 3.3 billion financial support package for the region announced by the Commission;

20. Points out that in March 2020, the EIB Group introduced a support action plan aiming to mobilise up to EUR 28 billion for SMEs hit by the COVID-19 outbreak; notes that between the pandemic’s outbreak and the end of 2020, the EIB approved 172 standalone operations for a total amount of EUR 33.9 billion (out of a total approved volume of EUR 82.8 billion) and that it also topped up 68 existing credit lines by a total of EUR 4.6 billion;

21. Welcomes the establishment of the Pan-European Guarantee Fund as a new instrument within the EIB’s portfolio that will provide up to EUR 200 billion of additional financing; notes that as at 31 December 2020, the EIB had approved EUR 2.7 billion of financing, with the aim of mobilising EUR 27.8 billion of total financing;

EIB support in key policy areas

22. Welcomes the adoption in October 2020 of the thematic report on the evaluation of EIB cohesion financing from 2007 to 2018; notes that for most of the period under review, the EIB attained its annual cohesion financing targets, although with increasing difficulty in the most recent years;

23. Notes that EIB cohesion lending from 2014 to 2020 totalled EUR 123.8 billion and that in 2020 alone, this lending amounted to EUR 19.5 billion; notes further that in 2020, 34 % of all EIB signatures within the EU-27 were for projects and beneficiaries located in EIB cohesion priority regions, selected from among less-developed regions and transition regions;

24. Is aware that the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have deepened the structural differences across Member States, making the EIB’s statutory mission to support cohesion all the more necessary; welcomes, in this regard, the adoption of the EIB cohesion orientation 2021-2027; notes that by 2025, the EIB aims to dedicate 45 % of its annual EU lending to cohesion regions and asks the EIB to report annually on the implementation of the cohesion orientation targets and priorities;

25. Notes that in 2020, the EIF launched the Skills & Education Guarantee Pilot to stimulate investments in education, training and skills, and that the initiative is well-suited to addressing the upcoming needs of labour markets, having specific regard to the digital and green transitions;

26. Reiterates its call for the strengthening of technical assistance for local and regional authorities, in line with the EIB’s policy of ‘lending, blending and advising’, and their financial expertise, especially in regions with low investment capacity, and for the strengthening of projects of common interest to several Member States which are of such a size or nature that they cannot be entirely financed by the various means available in the individual Member States, before project approval, in order to improve access to EIB funding; invites the EIB Group to intensify cooperation with national promotional banks and institutions;

27. Notes that in 2020, the EIB reached its target of providing USD 100 billion of financing over the five years between 2016 and 2020 to fight the climate emergency, as announced in 2015 at the Paris climate conference; highlights that in 2020 alone, the EIB invested around EUR 24.2 billion (2019: EUR 19.3 billion) in climate action and that, exceeding its initial target of 28 %, it reached a record level of 37.4 % climate financing, thus confirming the EIB as the largest multilateral financer of climate action;

28. Notes that the EIB continues to increase its share of financing dedicated to climate action and environmental sustainability, with the aim of reaching 50 % of its business activity by 2025;

29. Notes that in July 2020, the EIB adopted project carbon footprint methodologies to provide guidance to EIB staff on how to calculate the carbon footprint of the investment projects financed by the bank; takes note of the EIB’s decision to refuse financing of any climate-negative projects involving traditional fossil fuels; calls on the EIB to encourage green projects in order to facilitate the energy transition and the achievement of the Paris objectives;

30. Welcomes the launch of The City Climate Gap Fund, a new advisory facility aiming to provide early-stage assistance supporting climate-smart projects in cities in developing and emerging countries;

31. Takes note of the EIB’s development of a counterparty-level assessment methodology known as the ‘Climate Risk Screening Tool’, which has been in use since July 2020 to assess and monitor climate risk across the EIB Group’s portfolio and to report to the EIB Group’s governing bodies;

32. Notes that the process of updating the EIB Group’s environmental and social policy started in 2020 and led to the approval in February 2022 of the new Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework; welcomes the revised EIB environmental and social standards included in the framework, especially those related to labour rights, biodiversity and environmental protection; notes that the EIB is bound by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and that human rights principles are fully integrated into the due diligence procedures and standards at project level, including by allowing for the suspension of disbursements in the event of serious violations of human rights; welcomes the fact that the EIB and its promotors are required to consider human rights as part of the environmental and social impact assessment process; calls on the EIB and its intermediaries to disclose details of actual environmental and social risks or impacts linked to operations carried out through partners; stresses that any new requirements should not create more bureaucracy for SMEs; calls on the EIB to ensure that its complaints mechanism is easily accessible, timely and effective, in order to detect and redress any possible human rights violations in EIB-related projects; asks the EIB to report to Parliament and the EIB Board of Governors on this issue;

33. Take notes that the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline and Trans Adriatic Pipeline, even if they are not aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement, are strategic for the EU’s energy supply, especially in terms of the strategy to diversify suppliers;

34. Supports the EIB’s commitment to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and to align its actions with the European Green Deal; welcomes the upcoming revision of the transport lending policy, which will be in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and is planned to be adopted in June or July 2022; stresses that such new requirements must not be to the detriment of access to finance for SMEs; reiterates the need for the policy to avoid locking in carbon-intensive assets and to support modal shifts towards zero-carbon mobility both for freight and passengers at urban and inter-urban levels;

35. Encourages the EIB to support the development of transport infrastructure projects, including railways and motorways, which are sustainable and environmentally friendly and can contribute to tackling territorial and social disparities between regions and countries in the EU;

36. Stresses the need to focus on long-term financing, namely by supporting projects that would not be financed otherwise, in particular projects of innovative start-ups and SMEs; emphasises, however, that the EIB’s financing activities are no substitute for sustainable fiscal policies in the Member States; calls on the EIB to increase investment in breakthrough innovations, especially for the green transition, in order to support EU companies;

37. Calls on the EIB to increase financing to boost the technological transition, support the development of skills adapted to current and future labour market needs, further promote investment in the digital skills of employees and entrepreneurs, digital infrastructure and capacity-building for digitalisation, provide funds for long-term research and innovation to SMEs, support the social economy and enhance social and territorial cohesion, namely by filling current gaps in investment in public housing and infrastructure;

38. Calls on the EIB to develop a specific human rights strategy and an action plan for its implementation; calls on the EIB to align its financing strategy with the levels of ambition and commitment to common values and objectives shown by the EU’s partner countries;

39. Welcomes the adoption in 2019 by the EIB of the 2X Challenge criteria aimed at mobilising relevant resources in support of women’s empowerment and gender equality and providing a clear framework for gender lens investing through intermediated lending outside the EU; asks the EIB to introduce similar criteria for operations within the EU covering both intermediated and direct lending operations;

40. Commends the EIB’s signing in 2020 of the Paris Development Banks statement on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment; notes that the EIB Group Climate Bank Roadmap 2021-2025 adopted in 2020 highlights the provision of gender-responsive climate finance as a thematic priority area for the EIB Group; welcomes the introduction of a gender tag for all EIB operations to enable the EIB to identify operations likely to contribute to gender equality;

41. Notes that EUR 99.4 billion worth of loans had been granted in 102 different countries as at the end of 2020, of which EUR 9.3 billion were signed in 2020, mostly under the EIB external lending mandate;

42. Calls on the EIB to make full use of its toolkit to combat tax avoidance for projects financed in non-EU countries;

43. Maintains that international financial institutions have to eliminate the risk that EU funding might directly or indirectly contribute to tax evasion and tax fraud;

44. Reiterates that the EIB’s external operations are expected to contribute to EU policy objectives, fostering developing countries’ sustainable economic, social and environmental development, particularly in the most disadvantaged countries, as well as compliance, in line with objectives approved by the EU; recognises poverty eradication, domestic resource mobilisation and human rights as core topics within the EU development finance architecture; recalls that stakeholder engagement is the cornerstone of sustainable and inclusive development;

45. Calls on the EIB to continue supporting the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals through its activities falling under specific mandates decided by the Council and Parliament;

46. Supports the Council conclusions adopted on 14 June 2021 calling on the EIB to enhance its contribution to the EU’s development efforts through dedicated strategies, a stronger presence on the ground globally and better coordination with partners in a genuine Team Europe approach, with a view to developing innovative joint actions and ensuring the visibility of EU external financing;

47. Notes that by June 2020, the EIB had surpassed, in terms of approvals, the EFSI target of mobilising at least EUR 500 billion of investment by the end of 2020; notes, furthermore, that based on signatures at EIB Group level worth close to EUR 82.8 billion, investment supported by the EFSI is estimated at approximately EUR 491.7 billion;

48. Encourages the EIB to become more involved in the agricultural sector; underlines that the financial needs of farmers, especially young and new entrants, are significant, and that farmers and businesses in this sector have a lower rate of success when applying for financing; highlights that the EIB has taken certain steps to tackle this issue; calls for the EIB to carry out further work on new financial tools that will boost accessibility for the agricultural sector; insists, in this context, that EIB financing needs to support the transition of the agricultural sector in line with EU policy objectives, including greater respect for animal welfare, and should avoid contributing to stocking densities exceeding the carrying capacity of the land;

Enhancing transparency and accountability in EIB corporate governance and activities

49. Notes that in 2020, the EIB Group created a group risk and compliance function overseen by the group chief risk officer; notes that the group chief risk officer oversees and reports on all group risks, including compliance risks, and that the chief compliance officer at the head of the EIB compliance function reports to the group chief risk officer, as well as to the Management Committee, the relevant committees of the EIB Board of Directors and the Audit Committee; asks the EIB to explain how the independence of the chief compliance officer is preserved and how overlaps of their responsibilities with those of the chief risk officer are avoided;

50. Welcomes the performance in 2020 of the first compliance risk assessment by the Office of the Chief Compliance Officer, which was aimed at identifying the compliance risk exposure of the EIB’s business activities in the geographical locations in which it operates, including exposure to money laundering and financing of terrorism (ML-FT), organised crime risks, sanctions, non-compliant jurisdictions/tax good governance, market integrity and conduct and procurement risks; remarks that in 2020, the key risk indicators were updated in the ML-FT dashboard to offer more granular information on ML-FT related risks;

51. Welcomes the decision of the Management Committee to devote additional human resources to strengthening the EIB’s compliance function; welcomes the signature by both the EIB and EIF in March 2020 of memoranda of understanding with the Luxembourg Financial Intelligence Unit;

52. Notes that the EIB Group Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML-CFT) Framework was revised in December 2020, taking stock of the Fifth AML Directive, and that a comprehensive EIB Group AML-CFT and organised crime policy was adopted in July 2021; takes the view that effective coordination with other relevant competent authorities is material to the success of the policy;

53. Takes note of the new Tripartite Agreement signed between the European Court of Auditors (ECA), the EIB and the Commission allowing greater access and improved streamlining of audited EIB documents; reiterates, however, its calls for the extension of the right of access to information by the ECA with respect to EIB operations implementing EU policies; regrets the fact that the Commission and the EIB refer to the definition of the ECA’s mandate as laid out in the TFEU in order to prevent the Court from accessing information related to EIB operations whose sole reason to exist is the implementation of EU policies;

54. Is of the opinion that the work of the EIB Audit Committee is not alternative but is rather complementary to that of the ECA; deplores the fact that the Tripartite Agreement, which was renewed on 11 November 2021 by the EIB, the Commission and the ECA, does not offer a satisfactory solution and that its renewal maintains the status quo without any meaningful improvement, in particular in relation to the ECA’s auditing powers over activities of the EIB;

55. Notes that in 2020, the EIB complaint mechanism registered 77 new cases, handled 137 cases and closed 94 cases; welcomes the fact that the EIB’s complaint mechanism systematically monitors the implementation of its recommendations and suggestions for improvement by EIB services; calls on the EIB to adequately address the findings of the complaint mechanism;

56. Welcomes the substantial progresses made in 2020 towards the full implementation of the EIB exclusion policy, in particular through the creation of the new Policy and Exclusion Unit in the Inspectorate-General’s Fraud Investigations Division (IG/IN), and the appointment of the Exclusion Committee in October 2020;

57. Reiterates its call on the EIB to run a comprehensive analysis of the nature of the financial support affected by alleged misbehaviour and of the geographical distribution of such cases, to facilitate the identification of systemic weaknesses deserving of attention and resources; welcomes in this regard, that the IG/IN has developed several industry-leading prevention and detection tools over the last 10 years;

58. Takes note of the adoption of the revised the EIB Group anti-fraud policy in July 2021;

59. Notes the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the carrying out of fraud investigations in 2020 by the IG/IN, which nevertheless issued 52 recommendations and opinions; notes that approximately 89 % of the cases investigated fall within the areas of fraud, corruption and collusion and asks the EIB to report on its partnership and cooperation with the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) with respect to such cases;

60. Welcomes the working arrangement with the EPPO signed in December 2021 and calls for its full and diligent implementation, in particular as regards reporting; highlights in this regard that the IG/IN started its collaboration with the EPPO months before the working arrangement was signed and reported a total of 17 cases in 2021;

61. Notes with appreciation that in 2021 the EIB also enhanced its cooperation with Europol by signing a cooperation agreement aiming to foster the prevention of and fight against all forms of serious international and organised crime, cybercrime and terrorism;

62. Believes that the revision of the Financial Regulation[6] offers the opportunity to explore avenues for synergies between the Commission’s Early Detection and Exclusion System and the EIB’s exclusion policy;

63. Is concerned by the several cases closed by OLAF in 2020 that were focused on education allowances unduly granted to staff members of the EIB; welcomes the EIB’s revision and reform of the allowances system and the correction of many of the errors detected by OLAF, including steps to recover the undue payments; asks the EIB to report to Parliament on the outcome of the follow-up to OLAF’s recommendations;

64. Is very concerned by the decline in transparency at the EIB: in 2010, 96.1 % of all projects were published three weeks before board approval, falling to just 60 % in 2020; recalls that the EIB group transparency policy allows for only a limited number of project summaries not to be published before board approval and in some cases not before loan signature in order to protect justified interests such as commercial secrets; welcomes the fact that, ultimately, all projects are subject to publication by the EIB;

65. Calls on the EIB to improve the transparency of its activities by adopting a transparency register for public scrutiny of organisations seeking to influence the legislative process and to prevent cases of corruption or conflict of interest;

66. Calls for more transparency and accountability, also towards EU institutions, in particular Parliament; suggests holding a quarterly dialogue with relevant Parliament committees to give them the opportunity to contribute to the investment strategy of the EIB and ensure adequate oversight; stresses the importance of greater scrutiny by Parliament over decisions of the EIB Board of Directors and better information sharing from the Commission to increase its transparency towards Parliament on the positions it takes in EIB Board of Directors meetings;

67. Is concerned that the new transparency policy does not reflect Parliament’s very clear demands for improvements in line with other financial institutions’ best practices and standards; calls on the EIB to align its transparency policy on mandatory disclosure for intermediaries of projects with high environmental and human rights risks with that of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development;

68. Notes that in 2020, the European Ombudsman notified the EIB about four new inquiries relating to the application of the transparency policy; asks the EIB to report on the implementation of the recommendation of the Ombudsman on these inquiries;

69. Regrets that the EIB still does not fully disclose the details of the beneficial ownership of its clients; reiterates its calls for enhanced transparency regarding the EIB’s operations through financial intermediaries such as commercial banks and investment funds, within the relevant legislative framework, including the General Data Protection Regulation, and for the definition of standard reporting obligations that can provide an adequate level of data and information; recalls, in this regard, that Article 30 of the Fifth AML Directive imposes an obligation on Member States to collect and store accurate and current information on ultimate beneficial ownership of companies in a national register and to ensure that this information is accessible in all cases; asks the EIB to use the available tools and to implement the standards promoted by the Fifth AML Directive to make such data accessible, and to ensure full cooperation with the future authority for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism; invites the EIB to explore the feasibility of working arrangements and memoranda with the relevant partners to make pertinent information available and to eliminate the risk of opacity in the relevant procedures;

70. Reiterates its request for the Commission’s opinions on the EIB’s financing operations, issued under Article 19 of the EIB Statute, to be made accessible; considers that access to such information under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 is not the most effective way to provide data for political scrutiny; calls on the Commission and the EIB to agree on the systematic and secure transmission of such opinions to Parliament;

71. Notes that in 2020, the Ethics and Compliance Committee adopted three decisions concerning activities of former Management Committee members during their respective cooling-off periods; calls on the committee responsible to guarantee that during cooling-off periods, former Management Committee members carry out no business relations or lobbying activities with the EIB Group, irrespective of the portfolios held during their Management Committee mandates; reiterates the importance of putting in place policies preventing conflict of interest and revolving door phenomena;

72. Takes note of the updated codes of conduct of the Management Committee and the EIB Board of Directors of August 2021; welcomes the introduction of a longer cooling-off period for the members of the Management Committee (24 months instead of 12) and for the members of the Board of Directors (12 months instead of 6); notes that there is no provision excluding vice-presidents from overseeing operations; understands that this allows for the necessary country-specific expertise in projects; is convinced that the EIB will continue to carry out project assessment alongside monitoring objective technical, financial and economic indicators, making the project’s quality the decisive factor in deciding whether or not to grant financing;

73. Reiterates its call for the EIB to apply more stringent tax transparency standards; stresses the need to make the disbursement of direct and indirect loans conditional on the publication of country-by-country tax and accountancy data and on the disclosure of information on beneficial ownership by the beneficiaries and financial intermediaries involved in financing operations, without any derogations;

74. Takes note of the revised EIB Group whistleblowing policy of November 2021, which also grants protection to whistleblowers who are not EIB staff members;

75. Asks the EIB to inform Parliament about the revision of the EIB Group guidelines on conflicts of interest;

76. Expresses serious concerns about the lack of social dialogue at the EIB, in particular to address concerns about harassment allegations and the working environment; encourages the EIB management to engage in constructive dialogue with staff in order to address their concerns and to foster trust and a culture of accountability; encourages the EIB to continue launching surveys and consultations across its staff; notes the negative outcomes of staff surveys in recent years and at the same time urges the EIB to implement tangible measures aimed at fixing issues reported by staff members, particularly those which relate to internal mobility concerns; takes note of the EIB’s efforts to include surveys as part of its continuous listening approach in order to foster staff engagement e.g. through its recent health and wellbeing survey;

77. Notes with concern that only 29.5 % of management positions at the EIB were held by women at the end of 2020 (30 % at the end of 2019); reiterates its concern about the persistent lack of diversity and gender balance at senior management level and within the EIB Group’s governing bodies, as well as the very high share of women in support functions;

78. Underlines that the Board of Directors is made up of Member State representatives and that vice-presidents are nominated by Member States; notes that despite the Member States’ nomination competence, the EIB President’s calls for diversity have led to a significant improvement of the gender balance; highlights, in this regard, the fact that the bank’s Management Committee and Board of Directors have a respective share of women of 33 % and 48 %; calls on the Member States to evaluate the gender balance situation and nominate more women for vice-presidencies and to the EIB Board of Directors;

79. Reiterates its call to the EIB to ensure proper geographical representation from all Member States in its administration, taking into consideration the competencies and merits of the candidates, and calls on it to publish, annually, a gender and nationality breakdown of middle and senior management positions;

Follow-up to Parliament’s recommendations

80. Calls on the EIB to continue reporting on the state of play and status of the previous recommendations issued by Parliament in its annual resolutions, especially as regards:

a) impacts (economic, environmental and social) of its investment strategy and results achieved in contributing to the balanced and steady development of the internal market in the interests of the EU;

b) actions adopted to enhance the prevention of conflicts of interest;

c) measures to strengthen transparency following integrity due diligence of clients in order to prevent tax avoidance, fraud and corruption;

d) follow-up to the calls and requests adopted via the present resolution;

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° °

81. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission and asks that the Council and EIB Board of Directors hold a debate on Parliament’s positions presented herein.

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

11.5.2022

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

23

3

3

Members present for the final vote

Matteo Adinolfi, Gilles Boyer, Olivier Chastel, Caterina Chinnici, Lefteris Christoforou, Corina Crețu, Ryszard Czarnecki, José Manuel Fernandes, Luke Ming Flanagan, Daniel Freund, Isabel García Muñoz, Monika Hohlmeier, Jean-François Jalkh, Joachim Kuhs, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Claudiu Manda, Alin Mituța, Jan Olbrycht, Younous Omarjee, Markus Pieper, Michèle Rivasi, Sándor Rónai, Petri Sarvamaa, Angelika Winzig, Lara Wolters, Tomáš Zdechovský

Substitutes present for the final vote

Katalin Cseh, Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel

 

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