The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the EU’s charter in the area of human rights, also addresses all Institutions and bodies of the EU. The EIB is therefore bound by the Charter.  

The EIB is committed to continuously improve its social and environmental performance standards in a manner that protects and promotes human well-being. Social standards reflect peoples’ rights to a healthy and safe environment – both natural and built environment – and ensure that people affected by a project will be informed and consulted. The EIB’s approach to human rights is focused on respect for environmental, social and economic rights in direct link with EIB-financed projects.

The recent work by Professor Ruggie, UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights, has heightened attention accorded to human rights issues among the financial and business communities.  Throughout 2010 the EIB facilitated a series of seminars on Business and Human Rights, held in London and Johannesburg. We now look forward to the adoption and implementation of the Ruggie framework which is expected to set guiding principles, both for states in their duty to protect human rights, and for businesses in their responsibility to respect these rights.

In this regard, the EIB is undertaking a review of its existing project social performance standards in light of the principles of the Human Rights “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework developed by Professor Ruggie. The EIB will use the outcome of this review to update, as appropriate, its existing project guidelines and establish a work plan to integrate any revised guidelines into Bank operational practices.

With these specific steps the EIB underlines the importance it attaches to human rights considerations in its project evaluations.

Within this context, and in order to encourage further constructive dialogue and practical solutions on Human Rights issues, the EIB is pleased to publish a report on the proceedings from the series of seminars on Business and Human Rights that have helped lay the groundwork for the above measures.