European Investment Bank pledges to cut spending on roads

The European Investment Bank says it will cut funding for road infrastructure in line with its climate goals, even as it looks to increase the amount of financing it provides for projects. traffic in general.

Kris Peeters, vice president of EIB, told the Financial Times on the sidelines of a meeting of officials from the Group of 20 in Bali on Friday that he “convinced” lenders to invest less in roads and more in “other factors.” ‘ of transport infrastructure. The comments come ahead of next week’s announcement on transport lending for the next five years through 2027, in which Peeters said he expects the bank to increase infrastructure spending.

The EIB is the world’s largest multilateral lending institution and provides long-term financing for projects that support EU policies. It was shot from climate Campaigners and NGOs say that funding fossil fuel-free roads and projects run by energy professionals still makes a profit from burning oil and gas. burning undermines their environmental goals.

Investment in road transport accounted for 38% of the 11 billion euros EIB put into transport projects last year, despite the bank Announcement in 2019 that it will stop investing in fossil fuel projects by the end of 2021 and support 1 billion euros in climate projects by 2030.

The bank recently approved 30 million euros for a stretch of motorway in France and is considering offering 400 million euros for motorways in Poland to connect parts of the so-called TEN-T network.

“We cannot afford institutions like the European Investment Bank pouring billions of dollars into highway projects, despite their effects on emissions and pollution. Kuba Gogolewski, head of Greenpeace Europe’s Money for Change campaign, said: “Public money must prioritize action to reduce climate, encourage walking, cycling, promote cycling infrastructure. vehicles, public transport, and intermodal transport, while cutting funding for motorway projects.

Frank Vanaersczyk, director of transparency organization Counter Balance, said: “If the EIB wants to reduce investment in road infrastructure, they should really apply the goals in their policy and show they will. reduce emissions”.

Peeters defended the bank’s track record in road construction, saying: “We’re trying to stimulate electric cars and use electric cars, not new roads for fossil fuel vehicles, but that’s it. combination and we can’t say we won’t invest further in the road as we have this very important network in Europe. “

The Bank has been particularly supportive of the EU’s Trans-European Transport Network, a network of railways, roads and waterways designed to unify the bloc, the core elements of which will be completed by 2030. .

Peeters added that the bank is focusing more on urban transport, such as subways and trams.

As part of the new transport lending policy, the EIB will place a more stringent test on road infrastructure projects costing more than 25 million euros incorporating estimated carbon emissions costs. and traffic congestion. The bank said it will “screen for projects that depend on high short-term traffic growth”.

Peeters said the EIB’s governing committee and board, which includes representatives from the EU’s 27 member states, will decide whether each project meets the testing requirements.

Vanaersczyk says the tests are not transparent and “do not guarantee that the EIB will meet the EU’s climate targets”.

The EIB is expected to review its energy lending policy after the summer to incorporate elements of the EU’s Green Deal climate law, to push the bloc towards net greenhouse gas emissions by 0 by 2050.

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