EU states urge European Investment Bank to rethink defence policy

Ex-IMFC chair Nadia Calvino speaks during World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings at the IMF headquarters. Washington. April 14, 2023.
Ex-IMFC chair Nadia Calvino speaks during World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings at the IMF headquarters. Washington. April 14, 2023. Copyright Jose Luis Magana/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Eleanor Butler
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Germany, France, and a dozen other EU countries want the EIB to change its policy on defence investment.

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Fourteen nations have sent a letter to European Investment Bank (EIB) officials to call for more efficient funding of defence projects, according to Bloomberg.

The letter, dated 17th March, was sent to EIB President Nadia Calvino, European Council President Charles Michel, and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

The EIB's current policy forbids it from investing in weapons, ammunition, and military infrastructure, but the bank is allowed to finance so-called "dual-use items", which can be used for both civilian and military purposes.

In the face of Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, a growing number of states would like this to change in order to improve the EU's defence capacities.

"We need to explore different possibilities that would enable the EIB to invest in defence- related activities beyond existing dual-use projects," said the letter. "This would mean discussing and re-evaluating current definitions of dual-use projects and the list of excluded activities as well as reconsidering its defence industry lending policy and other restrictive elements."

Signatures of the letter include leaders from Finland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Sweden.

EU leaders will later this week meet for a two-day summit in Brussels where they will discuss security and defence, with Russia's war with Ukraine in mind.

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