EIB ‘must strengthen’ global path so EU looks outward, says Hoyer
MDBs should not ignore Israel-Hamas conflict
The European Investment Bank must continue to develop operations and partnerships outside the European Union, the bank’s president Werner Hoyer told GlobalMarkets at what will be his last IMF-World Bank annual meetings in the role, as his term ends next year.
In 2022 the EIB launched EIB Global, its arm for investing outside the EU. It did 14% of the group’s financing last year — including as a major supporter of Ukraine. Hoyer called EIB Global “a big step forward”, but said this path “must be strengthened, expanded and resolutely pursued, which requires a lot of convincing work with our shareholders”.
Hoyer said the EIB’s mandate to support the EU’s strategic objectives should include “more attention to our situation in the world”.
“Many countries in Europe [were] for a very long time inward-looking,” he said. They would say “‘we are busy enough with our own problems — why should we talk about the neighbour’s problems?’ That time is over: we are now thinking more European. But as Europeans, again, we are looking inward. We must overcome that as well.”
The emergence of new MDBs — such as the New Development Bank, formerly the BRICS Development Bank — had made it even more crucial for European countries to partner on projects with nations outside the EU.
“One must not be naïve to the context,” said Hoyer. “Map the locations of critical raw materials in the world, and the processing of these raw materials, and then put the BRICS map to it, and you get nervous. This is why the Europeans must develop partnerships with countries around the world. That requires a little bit more further thinking on development than just saying ‘we have to extract your lithium’ — or whatever it is. There must be something in it for these countries.”
Events in other areas had shown the importance of the EIB’s presence outside its home market, he said. The bank on Wednesday announced €1bn of support for Morocco’s post-earthquake reconstruction. And the EIB is the only multilateral development bank that has projects in all of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
Pressed on why the war had barely made the agenda or discussions in Marrakech, Hoyer said “not everybody is so directly involved in the region” as the EIB.
But he added: “It’s a little bit amazing to me, to be quite honest, that you’re together here with the top guns of the multilateral financial institutions and the issue [of the conflict] does not play a big role. I mentioned it everywhere, because I think it would be a little bit artificial if we would sit here and do business as usual, without saying that the world is on fire.”