Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (269)

Catherine Murphy


269. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance if his Department has input, through the voting of his representative on the board of the European Investment Bank, in influencing the policy changes which inform the investment decisions of that bank; if so, if he will provide details of the process by which his policies in relation to the EIB are achieved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8589/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The European Investment Bank (EIB) was established in 1958, under the Treaty of Rome, as the long-term lending bank of the European Union. The EIB is owned by the EU Member States who subscribe to the Bank's capital. As shareholders, the Member States are represented on the Bank's main independent decision-making bodies, the Board of Governors and the Board of Directors. The overall objective of the Bank is to contribute towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States.

The EIB has four statutory bodies; three decision making bodies: the Board of Governors, the Board of Directors and the Management Committee, and one control body: the Audit Committee.

The Board of Governors comprises Ministers designated by each of the 27 Member States, usually Finance Ministers. It lays down credit policy guidelines, approves the annual accounts and balance sheet, and decides on the Bank’s participation in financing operations outside the European Union as well as on capital increases. It also appoints the members of the Board of Directors, the Management Committee and the Audit Committee. I am currently Ireland’s representative on the Board of Governors.

The Board of Directors consists of 28 Directors, with one Director nominated by each Member State and one by the European Commission. There are 18 Alternates, meaning that some of these positions are shared by groupings of States.

The Board of Directors has sole power to take decisions in respect of loans, guarantees and borrowings. As well as seeing that the Bank is properly run, it ensures that the Bank is managed in keeping with the provisions of the Treaty and the Statute and with the general directives laid down by the Governors. Its members are appointed by the Governors for a renewable period of five years following nomination by the Member States and are responsible solely to the Bank. Ireland’s representative on the Board of Directors is currently Dr. Michael Somers.

I assume that the Deputy is referring to Ireland’s representative on the Board of Directors in her question. Decisions are adopted by that body when a majority consisting of at least one third of the members entitled to vote, including the Director nominated by the Commission, and a majority of at least 50% of the subscribed capital have voted in favour of a decision. In specific cases, a qualified majority is required with at least eighteen votes in favour, representing a minimum of 68% of the subscribed capital.

There has been continued close engagement with the EIB since President Werner Hoyer’s visit last July when he met with the Taoiseach as well as the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and myself. This visit led to the establishment of a Joint High Level Working Group between my Department and the EIB to enable close collaboration on projects aimed at expanding the Irish economy and supporting growth.