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Unique among European Union (EU) economic governance entities and multilateral banks, the European Investment Bank (EIB) possesses a dual nature, as an EU body and a bank…
Unique among European Union (EU) economic governance entities and multilateral banks, the European Investment Bank (EIB) possesses a dual nature, as an EU body and a bank. The EIB has been ever evolving to adapt to policy and market developments and to reflect the geo-economic landscape. In 2019, in association with the EU's Green Deal, the bank announced its metamorphosis into a “Climate Bank,” ending its fossil fuel lending after 2021. Additionaly, upon the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its attendant health and economy crisis, EU decision-makers have solicited the bank to support both urgent needs for tackling and countering the spread of the disease and the post-pandemic economic recovery. Nevertheless, devastated economic actors in need of assistance fall within many sectors, including some less green ones.
This article is grounded on agency theory for developing a generic stakeholder framework, which is then subsequently applied in investigating the EIB, in interaction with its main stakeholders.
This article investigates the EIB stakeholders in pursuing these two seemingly contradictory objectives of exclusively restricting its activity to green funding and expanding its action for achieving a broad impact in the real economy. By exploring this tension, the article argues that by prioritizing the post-COVID restart, the EIB risks to deviate from its strict green commitment.
The analysis of the EIB's divergent stakeholder stances demonstrates some ambivalence in future EIB activity in an effort to equipoise climate finance with a post-pandemic boost. The same ambivalence might equally occur with other major economic governance actors. The stakeholder framework developed and applied in the case of the EIB can be useful for studying also the stakeholder dynamics of other organizations.
The analysis demonstrates a tension between selective climate-related funding for “building back better” and the need for a wide broaching of countercyclical stimulus, with implications for economic and social actors alike.
The approach is novel, as it develops a new analytical framework for understanding stakeholder dynamics and tests it empirically on the EIB. This constitutes the first study of EIB stakeholder management.