For 2009-2010, the European Investment Bank will earmark for climate change actions 12 billion of the 30 billion in additional loans it will grant in the context of the European economic recovery plan adopted by the 27, on 2 December 2008, in addition to financing provided by the EIB and four national institutions under the 'Marguerite Fund'. EU officials have claimed repeatedly that "combating climate change should be viewed as a development opportunity" and that the current economic crisis must in no case serve as a pretext not to take action on the climate. On the contrary, this objective can be a catalyst for economic recovery. Adaptation to climate change, energy efficiency and the development of clean technologies will therefore be at the heart of the bank's interventions in the coming years. Consequently, after a broad public consultation, its Board of Directors adopted, in early 2009, a 'Statement of environmental and social principles and standards' with which projects will have to comply.

Environmental objectives

In 1973, the EIB granted its first 'environment' loan for a project to reduce air pollution from industry in Germany. Thirty-five years later, environmental protection and sustainable development - since the bank has gradually widened the definition of the term 'environment' to include social and economic parameters - have risen from 6.8% of total lending in 1983 to 40% in 2008.

The bank has adapted its environmental objectives to those of the EU's 'Sixth action programme for the environment and sustainable development (2002-2012)', which focuses on: climate change, protection of nature and biodiversity, the environment and health, and sustainable use of resources and sustainable waste management. In parallel, it has defined the principles of 'environmental responsibility' it plans to defend in all its interventions, both in the EU and beyond its borders: guarantee of conformity of funded projects with EU environmental laws and principles; and promotion of projects aimed at protecting the natural environment and improving the built-up environment and consolidation of social well-being in the interest of sustainable development (all projects must be economically, technically, financially and ecologically viable). The EIB also plans to be 'ecologically responsible' with regard to its own 'ecological footprint', ie it will try to improve the ecological performance of its buildings and activities. These principles, set out in...

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