European Investment Bank Stops Financing of Azerbaijani Gas Project

The European Investment Bank has delayed a decision on whether to grant a multi-billion-euro loan to a controversial pipeline, after the bank’s board insisted it needs more time to assess the project.

The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is intended to form a part of the massive Southern Gas Corridor, a network of pipes that will link Europe to the resource-rich shores of Azerbaijan.

As part of the immense costs involved with the project, the authorities in charge are counting on the EIB to grant it the largest loan in the EU bank’s history; some 1.5 billion Euros. But the bank’s board deferred making a decision on the TAP loan, citing a need to look at the project more closely. As such, the loan will not be approved or denied before February next year after already resting on the bank’s books for nearly two years.

Environmental groups welcomed the board’s decision to delay, citing growing civil society action as a prime factor. In recent days, over 4,000 people had contacted high ranking EIB members to express their opposition to the TAP project.

Given the EIB’s high profile attendance at the One Planet Summit in Paris yesterday, many eyebrows were raised that the bank would pledge is long-awaited support for TAP on the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement.

Friends of the Earth France climate campaigner Cecile Marchand said: “Clearly it was too much even for the EIB to fund this fossil fuel mega project on the anniversary of the Paris agreement — now they should make sure that 2018 sees them end support for fossil fuels entirely.”

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