EIB Board of Directors Seminar with Civil Society 2019
- Feb 4, 2019
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has the pleasure to invite all interested civil society stakeholders to Luxembourg for its annual seminar between civil society and the Bank’s Board of Directors. This is the eighth event of its kind, building on fruitful exchanges during the previous seminars since 2011.
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 Secretary General and Director Generals then provided an overview of the Bank’s achievements since the last meeting, and outlined its priorities for the year ahead. In 2019, there will be two public consultations on key EIB policies. The first one is about the Energy Lending Policy and is already ongoing. The second public consultation will be about the Statement on Environmental and Social Standards and Principles, the Bank’s overarching document regarding its sustainability framework.
The revision of the EIB Anti-Fraud Policy in 2019 was also announced as well as the public consultation on the Bank’s Transparency Policy, which will take place in 2020.
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.
Opened by the EIB’s President, the Policy Dialogue Session was the final pillar of the day. A very high number of Board Members listened to civil society’s suggestions and answered their questions which covered many topics (from climate change to cultural heritage and from engaging with indigenous people to the role of public banks to address market failures) and reflected the large diversity of civil society organisations in the room.
Among the topics that received the most attention were the implementation of the Bank’s environmental and social standards by financial intermediaries, the alignment of the Bank’s Climate Strategy with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, and the effectiveness of the Bank’s integrity framework taking into the consideration the up-coming revision of the Anti-Fraud Policy in 2019.
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.