ECB must disinvest from fossil fuel firms immediately – Carthy
Sinn Féin MEP for Midlands North West Matt Carthy has said the European Central Bank (ECB) and European Investment Bank (EIB) are among the worst climate polluters through their corporate sector purchasing programmes and investment decisions respectively. Carthy was speaking from Strasbourg where the GUE/NGL group launched a ‘Climate Emergency Manifesto’ today, spearheaded by his Sinn Féin colleague, Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan.
Carthy said: “For several years now I have been campaigning for full transparency of the ECB’s quantitative easing programme, and in particular its corporate sector purchasing programme (CSPP). Under the CSPP, the ECB has granted handouts of no-interest money to a range of major corporations across the EU – but the programme had happened in virtual secrecy, with the public left uninformed about which corporations are receiving these benefits, how much and under what selection criteria.
“Finally giving into public pressure in 2017 the ECB began publishing some limited information about its corporate bond purchases, revealing that some of its biggest recipients were among the worst polluters in the world, including Shell, Total and Repsol. Fossil fuel bond purchases made up as much as 68 per cent of some national central bank investments. Research has shown that the overall majority of beneficiaries of the CSPP are large and carbon-intensive multinational corporations.
“We know that Ryanair has been a major recipient of the corporate bond-purchasing programme over several years, in spite of its appalling anti-labour practices. This is also despite the fact that just last week it was named as one of the top 10 polluters in the EU – the only corporation that wasn’t a coal plant to make the top 10 list.
“The ECB has announced the end of its quantitative easing programme – but that is a deceptive description because the maturing bonds from the trillions it has spent in recent years are to be reinvested.
“As an official EU institution, the ECB is bound by the Paris Climate Agreement, and it is legally required to act in accordance with meeting its carbon emission reduction targets. It is currently blatantly violating this commitment, to the massive detriment of our environment.
“We need full transparency over the ECB’s decision-making process when reinvesting in both corporate and government bonds. This must include the immediate development of transparent and standardised criteria for the selection of beneficiaries for its programmes. Most importantly, the ECB must act now to meet its Paris agreement obligations by immediately divesting from carbon-intensive sectors and firms.” ENDS