Former Prime Minister Alfred Sant has expressed major concerns about the European Investment Bank’s operational outcomes and questioned how it can be acceptable that, in 2019, just four EU member states between them received almost 50 percent of loans granted by the bank.
During his intervention in a Joint Debate on the European Investment Bank in the European Parliament’s plenary session, Alfred Sant said the European Investment Bank is the essential entity to sustain EU policy on investment and to facilitate financial support for major projects and noted that its newly acquired role as the EU’s climate bank makes sense.
The European Investment Bank is the European Union’s investment bank and is owned by the EU Member States. It is one of the largest supranational lenders in the world.It funds projects that achieve the policy aims of the European Union through loans, guarantees and technical assistance.
While acknowledging that its work in the EU’s partner countries is commendable, the Head of the Maltese S&D Delegation said that geographical imbalances in the European Investment Bank’s lending remain a vital structural handicap.
“New criteria ensuring a broader geographical allocation of investments are needed. There should be a higher prioritisation for regions traditionally burdened with an investment deficit, in particular, those having geographical disadvantages such as the EU’s peripheral and insular regions”, Alfred Sant stated.
“Any shortfall in the general investment requirements for Covid-19 recovery and for the Green Deal will weigh most heavily on these regions. So, funding strategies must be adapted to fit their geography, not least for projects related to transport and energy”.
According to Alfred Sant, another major issue is transparency, including the sharing with MEPs of information on the EIB’s financing activities.
“One fails to understand the reasoning behind the EIB’s sudden decision to terminate the dissemination of its EFSI monthly state of play reports back in June 2018. A permanent mechanism of info sharing must be in place, defining approved lending per sector and per country”. “I look forward to continued dialogue between the European Parliament and the EIB. Together we can succeed to achieve a holistic and fair green transition of the European economy” stated Alfred Sant.