Transparency warnings over EIB’s policy changeSeptember 2014
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is proposing changes to its rules on information disclosure which would make it one of the most secretive financial institutions in the world, campaigners are warning.
Xavier Sol, Director of Counter Balance, an organisation which challenges public investment banks, said the move could also prompt other international financial institutions across the world to follow suit: “It would also send a worrying signal to other EU institutions facing transparency and democratisation challenges.”
According to the 2013 Aid Transparency Index, the EIB is already lagging behind other multilateral donor organisations in terms of transparency. The Index rated it as ‘poor’ – one rung above the worst rating of ‘very poor’, as part of an assessment and ranking of 60 donor organisations.
Joseph Stead, Christian Aid’s Senior Economic Justice Adviser, said: “The EIB’s record to date shows there is every reason to want to know more, not less, about its activities.
“We’re currently fighting with the Bank about its refusal to reveal its investigation into whether a Glencore-controlled mine evaded tax in Zambia. The Bank should not be hiding such information, which is of great public interest in Zambia as well as Europe.
“Depressingly, we have heard that this Zambian case is one of the reasons why the Bank is proposing to become more secretive. We urge the Bank’s top managers to think again and to embrace greater transparency.’
The most worrying details of the Bank’s proposed changes to its transparency policy, according to campaigners, is the expansion of the reasons the Bank can give for refusing to reveal information and a new presumption that all documents about the Bank’s internal investigations, reports and audits may not be disclosed even if they concern matters of public interest.
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