The European Investment Bank (EIB) will start reducing investments in fossil fuels such as oil and gas at the end of next year. The EIB announced this when presenting a new strategy for energy investments. The subsidy is not abruptly interrupted under pressure from some EU coal countries, but is slowly being reduced.
In the future, the focus of the European Investment Bank (EIB) will be on cleaner energy, efficiency and renewable energy technologies. This puts all EIB financing activities in line with the Paris climate agreements, the statement said.
"Climate is the most important issue on the political agenda of our time," said EIB President Werner Hoyer. EIB Vice President Andrew McDowell said the decision to abandon fossil investments was made with "overwhelming support." The EIB wants to become the climate bank of the European Union.
With the new investment policy, steps are being taken towards the termination of fossil investments, but investments in certain gas projects remain possible under these new rules.
In July, the EIB wanted to completely stop fossil investments. Under pressure from the European Commission and the EU coal countries Germany, Italy and Poland, the decision has been watered down. The biggest weakening compared to the earlier proposal is the standard for maximum CO2 emissions of an energy project. This standard was the core of the original proposal, with a maximum emission value as a tough requirement.
The EIB now opts for an average emission of the total lifespan of a project. GroenLinks MEP Bas Eickhout is surprised at the position of the European Commission. He finds it astonishing that the European Commission itself is now putting the brakes on the chance of phasing out fossil investments.
Eickhout nevertheless sees a turning point in the debate about fossil subsidies. According to him, the months of discussions about the new EIB energy policy show that reducing fossil subsidies is really on the agenda. The EIB will review its new investment policy in two years. Eickhout expects the EU to really say goodbye to all fossil investments.