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European Investment Bank

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European Investment Bank


The operating rules of the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union’s financing institution, are laid down in Protocol (No 5) annexed to the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.


It lays down the EIB’s composition and tasks. The EIB has legal personality, financial autonomy and its own decision-making structure.


Founded in 1958 to assist the balanced and steady development of the EU, the EIB provides finance and expertise for sound and sustainable investment projects in Europe and beyond. Owned by the 28 EU countries, the projects it supports contribute to furthering EU policy objectives.

Base, members and capital

The EIB is based in Luxembourg. The EU countries each subscribe to its capital, which stood at €243 billion on 1 July 2015. Each country contributes according to its economic weight (expressed in gross domestic product) at the time when it joined the EU. When a new country joins the EU, the capital increases. The EIB’s Board of Governors may also decide unanimously to increase the subscribed capital.


Board of Governors

The Board of Governors consists of ministers designated by the EU countries (usually finance ministers). It is the EIB’s main decision-making body. It lays down guidelines for the Bank and takes the most important decisions, such as:

credit policy guidelines;

appointment and remuneration of members of the other governing bodies;

approval of the annual accounts;

authorisation, on a country-by-country basis, for the Bank to operate outside the EU;

capital increases.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors consists of 29 directors, with one director nominated by each EU country and one by the European Commission. In addition, there are 19 alternate directors. In order to broaden the Board of Directors’ professional expertise in certain areas, the board has made use of the possibility of co-opting 6 experts who participate in the board meetings without voting rights.

The Board of Directors approves every decision on granting finance and on the borrowing programme. It reviews borrowing and treasury operations and exerts control over the activities of the Management Committee.

Management Committee

The Management Committee is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Bank under the authority of the EIB president. It has a president and 8 vice-presidents. Traditionally, 1 member is nominated by each of the largest EU countries in terms of their shareholding (France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom), with the remaining 5 being nominated by the other countries, divided into 5 country-groups. The Management Committee members are solely responsible to the Bank and are independent in the performance of their duties.

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee is an independent body, directly answerable to the Board of Governors. It is responsible for verifying that the operations of the Bank have been conducted and its books kept in a proper manner. The Audit Committee is also responsible for auditing the Bank’s accounts. It verifies that the Bank’s activities conform to best banking practice applicable to it. The Audit Committee is composed of 6 members. In addition, a maximum of 3 observers may be appointed to assist it.

Objectives and operations

The EIB's core activity is to support sound investments. It contributes through ‘lending, blending and advising’, i.e. providing finance, complementing EU finance and giving advice on programme or project design. The mission of the EIB is set out in Article 309 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The EIB provides funding for large, often transnational projects (including global climate action) or for economic activities that do not have ready access to finance (e.g. in less-developed regions and SMEs) in the territories of EU countries. However, by decision of the Board of Governors, the Bank may also grant financing for investment to be carried out outside the EU.

Principles to be observed in granting loans

Funds must be used as rationally as possible in the EU’s interests.

Neither the EIB nor EU countries may impose conditions requiring loans to be spent within a specified EU country. The EIB may not finance any project opposed by the country in whose territory it is to be carried out.

Loan applications

Applications for loans or guarantees may be made to the EIB either through the Commission or through the EU country in whose territory the project is to be carried out. A business may also apply directly for a loan or guarantee. In each case, the Commission and the EU country concerned are asked for an opinion.

The Management Committee checks the compliance of applications for loans or guarantees. Projects and programmes must be viable in 4 areas: economic, technical, environmental and financial. All projects are carefully assessed and monitored until completion.

Operations on the capital markets

The EIB is allowed to carry out operations on the capital markets. It may:

borrow funds on the capital markets needed for the performance of its tasks;

buy and sell securities on the financial markets;

invest on the money markets.


The EIB may establish subsidiaries or other entities. These must have legal personality and financial autonomy. The Board of Governors has to unanimously adopt these organisations’ statutes.


Created in 1958, the EIB is the EU’s bank for long-term loans. In 1994, the EIF was set up to support the development of high-growth small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and/or those active in new technologies. The EIB is the majority shareholder and operator of the European Investment Fund (EIF). In 2000, the EIB Group was created, consisting of the EIB and the EIF. Within the Group, the EIB grants medium and long-term bank loans, while the EIF specialises in venture-capital operations and providing guarantees for SMEs.

The EIB and EIF will play an instrumental role in the investment plan for Europe with the setting up of the European Fund for Strategic Investments in the 2015-2017 period.


Protocol (No 5) on the statutes of the European Investment Bank (EIB) annexed to the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU



Entry into force

Transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Protocol No 5 on the statute of the European Investment Bank



OJ C 83, 30.3.2010, pp. 251-264

last update 15.10.2015