Reader feedback: Unequal loan policy

Re: Bank deals fair hand, Volume 11, Number 15, April 18-24, 2005

Reading your article "Bank deals fair hand" (April 18), I couldn't help thinking that in reality the activities of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in Slovakia and across Europe differ quite widely from the "good ship EIB" portrayal advanced by Philippe Maystadt, the EIB's president.

Mr Maystadt is right to point out that the EIB has a "so-called cohesion policy to reduce regional disparities and inequalities" but whether this policy is having anything like an optimal impact is open to serious doubt.

What Mr Maystadt failed to mention is that the EIB has a record of over-funding in the most developed EU countries, at the expense of the less developed EU countries and other developing nations.

From 1999 to 2003 inclusive, 50 percent of all EIB lending resources went to the four big EU countries, France, Germany, Italy and the UK. The EIB's Corporate Operational Plan for 2003, which applies for the period 2003-2006, indicates that the same ratio may be maintained.

Meanwhile, last year in Slovakia the institution that lends more annually than even the World Bank assessed two new loans for Volkswagen in Bratislava, without providing any publicly accessible information about it. There may be a lack of projects being developed in Eastern Slovakia which are eligible to apply for EIB funding - this is not the fault of the EIB. But is the EIB really fulfilling its "multi-dimensional approach" by stepping in quite so readily to provide publicly subsidized loans to a multinational company that can easily secure the funding it needs on private commercial markets, especially when Volkswagen-Bratislava has already received roughly Sk8 billion (€201 million) worth of soft EIB loans in 1999?

The reality attached to the EIB's global loans' regime should be of acute concern to your readers in the Slovak business community. Mr Maystadt asserts that, "It is important that the final beneficiary of global loans - the small- and medium-sized enterprises - benefit from the funding."

The EIB has been consistently criticized by CEE Bankwatch Network [the organization of which I am Slovak national coordinator] and others for leaving its global loans system open to abuse by relying simply on good relations with intermediary banks to determine whether or not the benefits are in fact fully reaching the [supposed] beneficiaries and are contributing to EU policy goals.

Peter Mihók,
Banská Bystrica, Slovakia

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Top stories

News digest: Nationwide testing gained contours

The Defence Ministry reveals details on upcoming testing, removal of the STU rector was far from normal. Take a look at our latest news digest.

President Zuzana Čaputová meeting with scientists and experts on epidemiology, infectology and medicine.

Senate voted STU rector down. Police called to the uni as well

The session of the Academic Senate proposed that Rector Fikar be dismissed.

Miroslav Fikar

Dozens of people die of COVID every day. A drop not expected for at least two weeks

People who would otherwise survive may die of other serious diagnoses due to the epidemic.

Illustrative stock photo

Slovakia orders a curfew and embarks on its COVID experiment

High turnout in testing in four northern districts, decision awaited on extending the project to the nation. Prison for a prominent prosecutor and parliament's speaker injured.

Waiting for the results of COVID tests during the pilot phase of the nationwide testing in the town of Nižná in Orava, northern Slovakia.