To mark the 50th anniversary of its foundation, the EIB has published an academic history of the Bank: The Bank of the European Union. The EIB, 1958-2008. The tasks of designing, researching and drafting this reference work were entrusted to a group of experts on European integration from a number of EU universities.

A summary, table of contents and introduction to the authors of this elegant 386-page book can be found below.

The book is available in English, French and German.

The Bank of the European Union. The EIB, 1958-2008


The history of the European Investment Bank cannot be dissociated from that of the European project itself or from the stages in its implementation. First broached during the inter-war period, the idea of an institution for the financing of major infrastructure in Europe resurfaced in 1949 at the time of reconstruction and the Marshall Plan, when Maurice Petsche proposed the creation of a European investment bank to the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation.

The creation of the Bank was finalised during the negotiations which preceded the signing of the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Economic Community. As well as contributing to the financing of projects of common interest, it also met the concerns of those who feared that the common market would accentuate imbalances in regional development or hasten the decline of certain industries. The Bank would thus mobilise capital to promote the cohesion of the European area and modernise the economy. These initial objectives have not been abandoned.

However, today’s EIB is very different from that which started operating in 1958. The Europe of Six has become that of Twenty-Seven; the individual national economies have given way to the ‘single market’; there has been continuous technological progress, whether in industry or financial services; and the concerns of European citizens have changed.

This work is thus a history book. It follows the successive enlargements of the European Union as well as the changes in the economic and political environment. It endeavours to understand how the EIB has set its course over half a century of upheavals whilst remaining true to plans of its founders.

Introduction of the authors

This book was co-edited by:

  • Éric Bussière, professor and holder of the Jean Monnet Chair in the history of European integration at the University of Paris IV – Sorbonne (France);
  • Michel Dumoulin, professor at the Catholic University of Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), and member of the Belgian Royal Academy;
  • Émilie Willaert, certified history teacher, currently studying for a doctorate at the University of Paris IV – Sorbonne (France).

with contributions from:

  • Charles Barthel, director of the Robert Schuman Centre for European Studies and Research (Luxembourg);
  • Jürgen Elvert, professor of the history of European integration and the didactics of history, Historisches Seminar II, University of Cologne (Germany);
  • Paolo Tedeschi, member of the Dipartimento di Economia Politica at the University of Milan-Bicocca (Italy) and leader of the course on economic history and the history of European integration in the Faculty of Economics;
  • Arthe Van Laer, PhD student and research assistant at the Catholic University of Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve, and lecturer at the Haute École Roi Baudouin in Mons (Belgium).

Table of Contents

The EIB – a key player in the European project

Part One
The birth of an institution: from a European investment fund to the European Investment Bank

Part Two
The Period of ’Little Europe’, 1958-1972

  • Chapter 1: The activity of the EIB in the Europe of the Six (1958-1972)
  • Chapter 2: The EIB and the economic and social development of Italy from 1958 to the beginning of the 1970s
  • Chapter 3: New activities outside the Community
Part Three
The EIB from 1973 to the mid-1980s: change in scale and development of activities
  • Chapter 1: The EIB and the EEC’s first enlargements (1973-1985)
  • Chapter 2: New economic circumstances and redeployment of the EIB’s activities in Europe
  • Chapter 3: From the Lomé agreements to the Mediterranean: the expansion of the EIB’s activities outside the Community

Part Four
Enlargement, growth and redeployment since mid-1980s

  • Chapter 1: The EIB in greater Europe
  • Chapter 2: Changes in the economic environment and new areas of activity
  • Chapter 3: Dynamics of sectors and areas

Partie Five
The identity of an institution

  • Chapter 1: The problematic transfer of the EIB to the Grand Duchy
  • Chapter 2: People and structures
  • Chapter 3: Tomorrow is nourished by the experience of yesterday


  1. Timeline
  2. Key figures of the EIB since 1958

Sources and works

Tables and Indexes

  1. Index of Names
  2. Index of Companies and Institutions
  3. Acronyms and Abbreviations
  4. Table of Insets
  5. Credits for Illustrations