* Admissibility date reflects the date the case was officially registered. All other dates pertain to the date in which a stage was completed.
In May 2016 the NGO Triblavina submitted a complaint to the European Investment Bank - EIB Complaints Mechanism (EIB-CM) concerning the D4 Highway and R7 Expressway PPP Project. The Complainants have requested the EIB-CM to review the Bank’s due diligence during the appraisal and monitoring of the Project because they allege that the permitting procedure of the D4 Highway is conducted by the competent authorities contrary to EU and national law. The specific allegations concern (i) the changes on the project design that will conflict with the validity of existing permits and (ii) implications in complying with the EU Directives and EIB standards related to environmental impact assessment and public consultation.
The Bank appraised the Project between March 2015 and May 2016, and signed the Finance Contract with the Borrower in June 2016. The Bank generally requires that projects financed by it within the European Union comply with the law of the Member State, the law of the European Union and the Bank’s policies and guidelines. To this end the Bank carries out several activities during the project-cycle. Against this background, the mandate of the EIB-CM is confined to reviewing the actions, decisions or omissions related to the allegations that may be attributable to the EIB and not to third parties. The EIB-CM launched the initial assessment of the case in accordance with the EIB-CM Principles, Terms of Reference and Rules of Procedure (CMPTR). To perform this assessment, the EIB-CM carried out a desk review of the available information and held meetings with the Bank’s Services. A fact-finding mission was held in October 2016 to facilitate meetings with the stakeholders, including the Complainants, the Promoter, and the Representation of the European Commission to Slovakia.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The EIB-CM’s initial conclusion is that it would be beneficial that, given the recent infringement proceedings of the EU EIA Directive and the on-going development of the D4-D1 junction, the Bank continues to monitor the Project with heightened sensitivity, as it follows from its standards and procedures. Furthermore, it is proposed that, in line with the Bank’s Stakeholder Engagement Standard, a process to facilitate dialogue is started between the Promoter and the Complainants.
Mediation as a proposed way forward was not endorsed by an agreement between the Complainants and the Promoter during the external consultation of the draft initial assessment report. Hence the EIB-CM closes the complaint with the present report.