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    On Monday 4 February 2019, the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) Board of Directors met with a very large number of civil society organisations during their annual seminar. This event is a key pillar of the Bank’s stakeholder engagement. It is the only forum where members of the Board of Directors meet with external stakeholders.

    Sharing values and objectives

    The seminar was opened by EIB Vice-President Alexander Stubb. He set the tone by emphasising the foundational values of the European project and how they should guide us if we are to successfully address the key challenges we are collectively facing. 

    The EU aims to be at the forefront of coordinating international efforts towards building a financial system that effectively supports sustainable investments and growth globally

    • Martin Spolc – DG FISMA

    Raising to the sustainability challenges

    During the first thematic session, participants were invited to explore how global environmental and social challenges are shaping priorities for International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and civil society organisations alike.

    Tackling climate change was, of course, a central topic and there were fruitful exchanges about the implementation of the Bank’s Climate Strategy and its impact. Among the solutions discussed was the need for a European level-playing field to boost public and private investments in nature-based solutions.

    Sustainability is, however, not only about climate and environment. Social dimensions should not be forgotten when designing policies and their objectives. For instance, protection of Human Rights was also raised during the exchanges with a focus on the fact that the Charter for Fundamental Rights of the EU needed to guide all the EU Institutions, not only in preventing violations but also to actively ensure these rights.


    A stronger EIB integrity and accountability framework

    The first thematic session of the afternoon looked at the role of innovative approaches and big data to tackle fraud and corruption. In particular, participants explored how analyses of data available could efficiently complement approaches based on allegations of prohibited conducts. The Bank presented its proactive integrity review, a risk-based approach developed to detect potential misconducts.

    These innovative approaches can produce many positive outcomes, although participants insisted on the critical role of human judgement. Sophisticated approaches need sophisticated users, and capacity building might be required for civil society to be able to play its role in full.

    The discussion moved from integrity to accountability during the last thematic session of the seminar during which the Bank reported back to civil society on the outcome of the Public Consultation on the EIB Complaints Mechanism Policy. It was an opportunity to detail how the new policy reinforced the independence of the Complaints Mechanism as well as answering questions about changes such as the new EIB Project Procurement Complaints System.

    These exchanges gave the opportunity to the Board to clarify its role and responsibilities as well as the ones of the Bank as a policy taker not a policy maker. Board Members also reiterated the value for the Bank of engaging with civil society and their appreciation of such a seminar.

    On this note, the EIB would like to thank all the participants for their continued engagement and the meaningful exchanges that took place during the day. The bank also would like to invite civil society to take part in the next seminar with the Board of Directors in early 2020 when we will report on all the issues discussed, and many more.