Today, directors at the European Investment Bank are set to discuss an updated lending policy which could result in the phasing out of investment in fossil fuels.

Commenting ahead of the meeting the co-chairs of the European Green Party Monica Frassoni and Reinhard Bütikofer said: “We welcome the EIB’s new proposals that will be discussed today to phase out Europe’s investment in fossil fuels by the end of 2020 and shift towards renewable sources”.

“We can no longer pretend that we can continue to do business-as-usual in the face of climate destruction and must now take concrete steps to use existing Green technology and innovation to meet the energy needs of the future and create new Green jobs, whilst also protecting the planet.  A special focus must also be placed on guaranteeing that measures are in place to facilitate the Green transition in regions that remain heavily reliant on fossil fuels,” the two co-chairs added.

The European Investment Bank, the lending arm of the European Union, spent 12 billion euros on fossil fuel projects between 2013 and 2017, according to non-governmental group CEE Bankwatch Network.  Nearly €8bln was for gas infrastructure and €1.68bln for gas extraction, according to the bank’s own figures. The incoming Commission President Ursula von der Leyen previously called on the bank to spend half of the roughly 70-80 billion euros-a-year it invests on green projects.

“Committing to this new strategy would send out a clear message to industry and businesses across Europe that change is inevitable and that we need to adapt in the face of the new climate realities if we are to meet the environmental challenges that 2050 climate neutrality implies,” Frassoni and Bütikofer concluded.