EIB: Brexit changes nothing… for now

The Bank’s president, Werner Hoyer, is sad to see the UK leave the EU but stresses there will be no immediate changes to the EIB’s engagement with the country.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has issued a statement saying there will be no imminent changes to the bank’s relationship with the UK, currently its fourth-largest shareholder, following a UK vote to leave the EU.

“The UK has a 16.11 percent shareholding in the EIB, is one of the four main shareholders of the bank and nominates a member of the EIB management committee. At present the UK’s shareholding in the EIB remains and the EIB’s engagement in the UK is unchanged. Any change to the EIB’s shareholder structure or lending activity is a decision for the member states,” the EIB stated.

It added that the bank’s future relationship with the UK will form part of broader discussions on the UK’s relationship with Europe, but added that “at present, the EIB’s shareholders have not requested the bank to change its approach to operations in the UK”. It also said it is “premature to speculate on the impact of the referendum result on the EIB”.

“Today is a very sad day for Europe,” EIB president Werner Hoyer said last Friday, the day the referendum results were known. “As president of the EIB, I take note of the UK vote with the deepest regret, although of course the bank will work with member states and other EU institutions to assure an orderly transition to a new negotiated arrangement according to the treaty.”

In a pre-Brexit statement, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s pointed out that the EIB had invested €42 billion in the UK over the last eight years, with €19.1 billion of that total being invested in infrastructure. It also stressed that, while non-EU member states can qualify for funding, they cannot constitutionally qualify for board membership.
Excluding a one-off dip in 2012, EIB investment in the UK had been steadily increasing over the last five years, from just over €4.8 billion in 2011 to a record high of €7.8 billion last year, according to EIB data.

The EIB has featured prominently in some of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects. In May, the bank invested £700 million ($929 million; €842 million) into the Thames Tideway Tunnel, which is billed as the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken by the UK water industry. Later that month, the bank lent £525 million for the 558MW Beatrice Offshore wind farm, in what became its single largest investment in an offshore wind project.