European Investment Bank sued over loan to biomass plant

Environmental lawyers are taking the world’s largest multilateral financer to court after it “failed to apply crucial environmental scrutiny” before financing a biomass plant in Spain. 

ClientEarth said the European Investment Bank (EIB) made “numerous errors” when assessing the project, and that its €60m loan breached its own funding criteria for responsible renewable energy generation. The law charity is now seeking a ruling from the European Court of Justice after the EIB refused to review its decision last year.

“This case shines a light on the lack of transparency in the EIB’s approach to funding projects, some of which have a huge environmental impact,” ClientEarth lawyer, Anna Heslop, said.

Experts described the Curtis-Teixeiro biomass plant at the centre of the loan as having “very low efficiency”, and said the amount of energy produced in comparison to the fuel burned was considerably low. This comes after the European Ombudsman asked the EIB – which invests around €80bn in projects annually – to increase transparency of its lending activities last May. 

“Despite using public money, the EIB provides only minimal information about its funding decisions and refuses to subject those decisions to the scrutiny required by EU law,” Heslop added.

Image credit | iStock
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