Complaints mechanism

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Complaints mechanism

We are committed to good administration and delivering positive results as laid out in our corporate responsibility policy. Our robust accountability framework ensures the right to be heard and the right to complain by any EIB stakeholder [1] who believes we have failed to honour these commitments.


The rules governing complaints were revised following extensive public consultation in order to make the process quicker and efficient. These are set out in three key documents:

A Memorandum of Understanding signed between the EIB and the European Ombudsman in 2008 sets the scene for the two stage complaints process and achieves a common understanding of purpose and consistency of application across its internal and external parts.

The Terms of Reference lay out the role of the EIB-CM, including its status, authority, responsibilities, rules of conduct and relationship with the European Ombudsman and the rest of the EIB. In addition, the Rules of Procedures have provisions regarding the different steps of the mechanism, such as admissibility, how to and about what to complain, and the methods of inquiry.

The Complaints Mechanism Operating Procedures implement the rules to: (i) clarify, improve and formalise current processes, (ii) facilitate and streamline handling of complaints, and (iii) facilitating better cooperation within the EIB and with stakeholders.

Who may complain?

Individuals, organisations or corporations affected by EIB activities can complain. Complainants do not need to be directly affected by the EIB decision, action or omission and are not required to identify the applicable rule, regulation or policy that may have been breached.

Subject of complaints

Complaints can be made about actions or decisions that stakeholders feel the EIB Group has carried out incorrectly, unfairly or unlawfully. These may concern:

  • Project preparation processes;
  • The social and environmental impacts of a project;
  • Arrangements for involvement of affected communities, minorities and vulnerable groups;
  • Project implementation;
  • Access to information;
  • Procurement procedures;
  • Human resources issues;
  • Customer relations;
  • Any other aspect of the planning, implementation, or impact of EIB projects.

Two levels of inquiry

Any member of the public has access to a two-tier procedure:

  1. Internal - Initially, the Complaints Mechanism Division (EIB-CM), which is operationally independent from the EIB’s other departments, will seek a solution and may advise the EIB on corrective action.
  2. External – Should EIB-CM fail to find a satisfactory response, the complaint can be referred to the European Ombudsman, a fully independent EU body.


All complaints are handled confidentially. However, this can be waived by the complainant and the case handled publicly with related information made available in the EIB website.

Complaints procedure

For details about the complaints procedure, see these links

Admissibility check / registration
Standard and extended procedures
Initial assessment
Response to the complainants
At what stage of the EIB project cycle are complaints admissible?
Complaints procedure summary
How to complain

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ about the Complaints Mechanism

[1] Unless stated otherwise the term project stakeholders refer to the persons and entities with an interest in the project and participating in the complaints handling process: complainants, affected communities, project promoter, national authorities, interested Civil Society Organizations and EIB operational services.

Engaging with civil society organisations in Jordan

The EIB and EBRD’s complaints mechanism teams co-hosted an outreach event on accountability within international financial institutions (IFIs) in Amman (Jordan) on 24 May 2017.

Over 30 local civil society organisations attended the event to learn about how independent accountability mechanisms can enable communities to voice their concerns about projects, and facilitate problem solving initiatives.

The EIB’s Complaints Mechanism presented an overview of IFIs, as well as a case study on problem solving during a recent project in Kenya. The participants also took part in a practical session using case scenarios to further clarify the complaints handling process.

The event was facilitated by a local partner, the Phenix Center for Economic & Informatics Studies, and international NGO CEE Bankwatch Network.

The EIB’s Complaints Mechanism hosted similar events in Mexico and Ukraine in 2016. We will continue to promote our activities with a particular focus on countries with emerging civil society networks.