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Brussels, February 2010

EIB, E uropean Commission welcome report on EIB external lending

The European Commission and the European Investment Bank today welcomed the final report into the EIB's external financing activity by a committee of “wise persons” chaired by former International Monetary Fund Managing Director Michel Camdessus. The report proposes an extra two billion euros of EIB loans for projects that further the fight against climate change and makes a number of recommendations for improving EIB activity outside the European Union. It also suggests for further study longer-term options for consolidating the EU’s external financing instruments.

Michel Camdessus said: “ We have made a number of proposals to improve implementation of the EIB’s current EUR 25.8 billion mandate for external financing. However, the world has changed greatly since this was negotiated in 2006, not least because of the financial crisis. We therefore also suggest longer-term options to consolidate the delivery of financial aid in support of EU external policies.”

European Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said: “ The European Commission will study the short-term recommendations of the report carefully as it prepares its legislative proposal for the EIB's external mandate for the period 2011-2013. The report will also certainly nourish debate on the longer-term future external activity of the EIB in the context of the reshaping of the European financial architecture.

European Investment Bank President Philippe Maystadt said: “We look forward to discussing the report with the European Commission, European Parliament and our shareholders, the Member States, in the coming months. The EIB has already substantially increased its lending in support of the EU’s climate goals and stands ready to do more if asked.”

The European Investment Bank carries out most of its financing operations outside the European Union under an EU budget guarantee (the so-called external mandate). A mid-term review was foreseen in December 2006, when the regional ceilings for guaranteed financing under the current mandate were fixed for the period 2007-13. At that time, EUR 2 billion out of the total EUR 27.8 billion was placed in an optional reserve, pending the outcome of the mid-term review. The steering committee of “wise persons” that oversaw the external evaluation was charged with examining how maximum added value and efficiency in the EIB’s external operations could be ensured.

The steering committee recommends that the regional ceilings be maintained and that the 2 bn optional mandate be allocated to projects across the regions in support of the fight against climate change. It also makes a number of recommendations for improving EIB activity outside the European Union in the short term and suggests for further study longer-term options for consolidating the EU’s external financing instruments. As requested by the European Parliament and Council, the Commission will submit a legislative proposal for amendments to the current mandate for the period 2011-2013 before 30 April.

The steering committee, which was set up in 2008, was composed of experts with in-depth experience of international financial institutions and included a representative of Europe’s civil society organizations. During its 18 months of work it reviewed in-depth evaluations provided by EIB and by external experts, and interviewed EU officials, as well as representatives of other international and bilateral financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, think tanks and officials from beneficiary countries.

The current EIB external mandate foresees a ceiling of EUR 25.8 bn of financing for the period 2007-2013. The mandate covers more than 70 countries and/or territories in the above regions. EIB activity in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries is covered by the separate Cotonou agreement.

Copies of the report are available on request.

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