Environmental and social impacts of the New Container Terminal project in Cádiz and in particular the selection of alternatives
*Admissibility date reflects the date the case was officially registered. All other dates pertain to the date in which a stage was completed.
The project consists of the construction of a new container terminal (first phase) for the port of Cádiz, Spain. The new terminal will replace the current container facilities, i.a. in order to separate passenger and container traffic and increase capacity. It will also improve accessibility for both maritime and land traffic and improve the competitiveness of the port. The location of the new terminal, with its own access road and a new bridge over the Bay of Cádiz, will allow a reduction of heavy traffic on the city’s road network and so help to improve traffic conditions in Cádiz. The new container terminal allows a better integration of the passenger cruise terminal in the city of Cádiz.
The complainants raised concerns regarding the environmental and social impacts of the project and the selection process for the alternatives. The complainants further ask about procedures that are in force in projects that are co-financed by the EIB and the ERDF in terms of information sharing and whether the two EU Institutions independently or (in part) jointly appraise projects that may be co-financed.
Furthermore the complainant attacks the integrity of the Promoter with accusations that the Cadiz Bay Port Authority falsely informs the public, to frustrate the democratic decision process and insist on a particular location for the project site, against reasonable alternative information and against better judgment.
The EIB-CM assessment & investigation
The EIB’s responsibility, in its due-diligence appraisal, is limited to the project appraisal and approval and thus the EIB is not in a position to substitute the competent authorities in questioning or commenting on these competent authorities’ legitimate decisions regarding this project. However, in case the EIB, in the course of its due diligence, notes a deviation or an infringement of policies or the EU acquis, it needs to act in a way to ensure that the project is in line with said policies and that acquis. Moreover, a number of the issues raised fall outside the scope of the EIB’s role and responsibilities and should be raised directly with the corresponding authorities.
The EIB-CM’s investigation shows that the project is technically sound and has been the subject of a full EIA, with the environmental screening for the internal access road, which is still at design stage, being under way. The promoter is expected to implement the project effectively. The environmental impacts are expected to be adequately monitored and mitigated. The project is expected to generate a satisfactory economic rate of return.
The EIB-CM cannot comment the allegations regarding the scope and remit of the decision-makers in the project nor on the statement that the rationale for the project is based not on principles of economic and logistical efficiency but on the greed of local politicians. The EIB-CM concludes that the project does not contradict the EIB’s core criteria nor is it blatantly detrimental to the regional development of Cádiz as claimed by the complainants. The EIB-CM commends the EIB services for their prudence of making the approval by the ERDF of funds for the New Container Terminal project a condition before the EIB can release funds. The EIB-CM notes that at the date of the EIB-CM closure of the complaint, the EC inquiry into the complaint lodged with the European Commission was not yet finalised. Moreover, after reviewing the content of the complaint to the EC, the EIB-CM considers that it has no bearing on the due diligence of the EIB and therefore cannot form an opinion on the matter.In view of the above, the EIB-CM concludes that there is no maladministration on the part of the EIB