On 1st February 2016, the EIB hosted the annual Civil Society Seminar with the Bank’s Board of Directors. This event, fifth of its kind, built on fruitful exchanges during the previous seminars of February 2015, February 2014, February 2013 and October 2011.
This seminar is a key pillar of the Bank’s stakeholder engagement and the only forum where the Board of Directors meets with external stakeholders.
50 participants from 40 organisations attended the event. They represented a good mix of civil society organisations with many diverse interests, including international and local NGOs, think tanks, research and academic institutions and trade unions.
The seminar was opened by Vice-President Jan Vapaavuori before the Secretary General and representatives of various directorates provided an overview of the Bank’s achievements since the last meeting and outlined its priorities for the year ahead. The implementation of the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), tackling the migration issues, implementing the new climate strategy, measuring the impact of EIB’s operations and the Bank’s operations outside the EU in support of Europe’s development objectives will be on the top of the EIB agenda in 2016.
The first thematic session, dedicated to Supporting Growth and Jobs in Europe, was an opportunity to discuss progress under EFSI, which represents one of the three pillars of the Investment Plan for Europe. Some issues raised concerned, for example, the selection criteria of projects, the level of risk, their value added/additionality and transparency standards.
The European Year of Development, the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the upcoming review of the External Lending Mandate of the EIB all provided the context for the second thematic session which focused on International Migration and Development. Participants shared various ideas on what EIB can, and should, do to ensure sustainable growth and jobs in developing countries, for instance by promoting private sector investment in an equitable and gender sensitive way.
At the end of the seminar, members of the EIB’s Board of Directors engaged in a structured Questions and Answers session with the participants.
President Hoyer concluded with a number of concrete commitments vis-à-vis civil society for 2016: to launch a review and public consultation of the complaints mechanism, to support a stakeholder meeting organized by the EFSI Steering Board on the orientation and implementation of the investment policy carried out by EFSI, to further engage on the carbon footprint methodology, and finally to launch a new diversity and inclusion strategy.