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Ombudsman looks into how the European Investment Bank deals with environmental information from projects it funds

The European Ombudsman has opened three inquiries related to the disclosure of environmental information by the European Investment Bank (EIB). The inquiries are all based on one complaint by the environmental group, ClientEarth. 

One inquiry concerns the EIB’s refusal to grant public access to the minutes of meetings in which its management committee discussed the financing of a biomass project.  The Ombudsman has asked to view the minutes of these meetings by 31 July 2020. The other two inquiries concern whether the EIB gives sufficient and timely environmental information about projects it finances either directly or indirectly. The complainant argues that the bank’s current practice prevents the public from expressing its views on environmental issues before the EIB takes a decision to finance projects directly and that the bank does not do enough to ensure environmental information is gathered and then disclosed for projects carried out by financial intermediaries. The Ombudsman has asked the bank for detailed information in relation to both directly and indirectly financed projects. This will then be used as the basis for the next steps in the inquiry in the autumn.