Counter Balance is a European coalition of development and environmental non-governmental organisations, formed in 2007 to specifically challenge the European Investment Bank. The groups involved have extensive experience working on development finance and the international financial institutions (IFIs) as well as campaigning to prevent negative impacts resulting from major infrastructure projects.
Counter Balance’s mission is to make the EIB an open and progressive institution delivering on EU development goals and promoting sustainable development to empower people affected by its work.
Counter Balance includes members from:
* Central and Eastern Europe: CEE Bankwatch Network
* France: les Amis de la Terre
* Germany: urgewald
* Italy: Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale
* Netherlands: BothEnds
* United Kingdom: Bretton Woods Project
Counter Balance intends to take advantage of and contribute to the growing tide of pressure – from the institutions of the European Union, its member states, recipient countries, other IFIs and even parts of the EIB itself – for fundamental change within the EIB. For too long, the EIB has not received public scrutiny appropriate to the social, political and environmental impacts of the projects it supports. More robust scrutiny would help it fulfil its key public and political roles.
The EIB is the house bank of the European Union and is the largest public lender in the world, loaning up to EUR 72 billion in 2010 alone. Its lack of binding social and environmental standards, and of accountability and transparency, find the EIB sitting uncomfortably with the democratic values of the EU institutions in which it is located. Its preoccupation with fiscal bottom lines impedes the EIB from fulfilling the mandates for sustainable development under which it now operates in much of the Global South.
The EIB is unique among IFIs in being situated in a framework of democratic institutions. The EIB is owned entirely by the 27 member states of the European Union. Thus it can benefit from pressure from a wide range of concerned stakeholders, affected communities and people exercising their democratic rights as European citizens. Counter Balance seeks to galvanise and focus some of that pressure into effective and necessary reform of the EIB.
Whether you have experience of working with, for or around the EIB; interest in a country, project or sector that the EIB is involved in; or concerns, questions or information about any aspect of the EIB, we would like to hear from you.
You can always get in touch with any of Counter Balance’s member groups via the links above, or contact Counter Balance’s coordinator, Desislava Stoyanova, at firstname.lastname@example.org .