Weekly News Review Archive

29th March, 2002

EU’s  Investment Bank financed Enron

“Our Mission is to further the objectives of the European Union by making long-term finance available for sound investment.”                      
“To receive our support, projects and programmes must be viable in four fundamental areas: economic, technical, environmental and financial. We appraise each investment project thoroughly and follow it through to completion.”                                 Mission Statement of the European Investment Bank
The recent report, Enron’s Pawns: How Public Institutions Bankrolled Enron’s Globalization Game from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) has revealed that Enron, the disgraced American company which recently declared bankruptcy amidst allegations of criminal wrongdoing, received $7,2 billion in public assistance for its global operations. A portion of that public assistance came from the financial arm of the European Union – the European Investment Bank (EIB).
“The IPS report proves what we have been pointing out for the last couple of years,” says Magda Stoczkiewicz, coordinator of the EIB: NO REFORM – NO MONEY! campaign. “The EIB is neither efficient nor does it truly fulfil EU objectives. It operates behind closed doors, without proper supervision, clear sectoral strategies or strict environmental standards.”
According to the IPS report, the EIB supported ENRON with the following loans: $493 million towards Enron’s investment in an Italian power plant and $60 million toward the Bolivia to Porto Alegre, Brazil gas pipeline. The Bank also provided indirect support for Enron when it approved a $78 million package for a 1000 MW power project in Santa Rita, Philippines. Enron was not a developer of that project, but it did hold the plant’s fuel supply contract. The EIB is also considering a $35 million contribution toward an electricity transmission system in Macedonia in which Enron has an interest.
  The fact that the EIB would have no problems with supporting ENRON clearly calls for a closer look at this institution and the manner in which it fulfils its goals. On February 7 of this year, more than 30 NGOs from all over Europe launched a campaign entitled, EIB: NO REFORM –
NO MONEY! They are linking the EIB’s request for a capital increase from the 15 EU member states with the implementation of necessary reforms in the areas of: public access to information; environmental standards; development mandate; supervision by EU institutions.
“I wonder which of the EU objectives the EIB thought they were fulfilling when they decided to support ENRON” says Stoczkiewicz, who adds, “and that’s without mentioning the  ‘sound investments’  which they are so proud of!”
  For more information go to www.bankwatch.org or this website
  Euro-squaddies set for Macedonia

EU defence ministers are planning to pursue an agreement with NATO which would lead to the Union’s first official military presence outside its borders. The plan, formulated at last week’s Council of Defence Ministers meeting in Zaragoza, is for an EU defence unit to take over the military alliance’s so-called “peacekeeping” operation during local elections scheduled for September, using NATO assets and equipment.  Before it can be implemented, however, permission will have to be forthcoming from both NATO and the Macedonian government, which could change hands in the forthcoming national poll. In addition, Greece will have to be persuaded to drop its objections.

The plan forms part of the Union’s increasingly open militarisation. June’s EU Council in Seville is expected to announce plans to insert the European Union Rapid Reaction Force in the Bush junta’s bogus fight against terrorism.  No empire was ever built without an army, and the EU’s will be no exception, with plans under discussion to develop common military capacity through the European Capabilities Action Plan.

More allegations against Santer Commission: OLAF investigates

The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is to conduct an internal investigation concerning a leak of confidential information concerning a dossier of revelations by Paul van Buitenen, the man who liberated fifteen countries from the ludicrous antics of the Santer-led Commission. The Commission reacted to van Buitenen’s revelations of corruption, waste and incompetence initially by trying to bully him into silence, but in the end by doing the best day’s work it had ever accomplished – resigning en masse.

Last August the Dutch Commission official sent a further dossier to OLAF, containing 234 pages, with a further 5000 pages of supporting material giving detailed information on 270 cases of fraud and other irregularities. In response, OLAF opened four investigations, each into events under the Santer Commission.

  D espite strict EU rules concerning the secrecy of investigations, the report and other documents have been leaked to the press. Mr van Buitenen denies any involvement in this, and suspicions have arisen that another Commission employee may have sold the papers to a journalist.