Sant cries foul over European Investment Bank loan distribution

Labour MEP Alfred Sant expresses major concerns over the European Investment Bank’s operational outcomes

Labour MEP Alfred Sant
Labour MEP Alfred Sant

Labour MEP Alfred Sant has cried foul over the ways in which loans are distributed throughout member states by the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Expressing major concerns over the EIB’s operational outcomes, Sant questioned how, in 2019, just four EU member states between them received almost 50% of the loans granted by the bank.

During his intervention in a Joint Debate on the European Investment Bank in the European Parliament's plenary session on Thursday, Sant acknowledged how the EIB is essential in sustaining the EU investment policy and in facilitating financial support for major projects.

Sant also noted that the EIB’s 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 commending its work in the EU’s partner countries, 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,” Sant told Thursday’s plenary session.

“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.

"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 Sant, another major issue is transparency, including the sharing information on the EIB’s financing activities with MEPs: “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.”

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This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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