We speak to people from across Europe who have gathered to occupy the European Investment Bank HQ in Luxembourg, the beginning of major direct action
Protesters from over 12 European countries have gathered outside the European Investment Bank (EIB) headquarters in Luxembourg today (June 7), calling urgently for the bank to end its’ financial support of fossil fuel projects around the world.
In the first targeted disruption of the corporate bank’s head office, around 70 people gathered with a ‘FOSSIL FUEL EIB’ banner and X-marked t-shirts emblazoned with slogans like ‘stop fossil lobbying’ and ‘emergency brake 2030’, referencing the binding EU targets and policy objectives to cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, increase renewable energy usage, and improve energy efficiency. The action takes place one week before EU finance ministers will be reviewing the bank’s current energy lending policies. As public awareness of climate change rises and protests and school strikes continue across the world, the bank has been under increasing pressure to align their lending policies with the Paris agreement, signed in 2016, to undertake abitous efforts to combat climate change, rather than fund it. More action is expected in the coming months with this clear focus on fossil fuel funding.
The protesters hope to influence the decisions made by inviting the executive director of the EIB to hear from campaigners against fossil fuels, and people in countries that have been particularly affected by fossil fuel projects the EIB fund, many in South America. We speak to some of those people on the frontline today:
KAREN, 31, BRAZILIAN IN IRELAND
“We are targeting EIB because it is a public bank, financed by the people, that are making profit with our money by devastating the planet, our future and of the next generations if it continue investing in gas expansion across Europe.
I am Brazilian and this action has a huge importance to my home community because many other fossil fuel projects are financed by international institutions and are developed in the third world countries, where big challenges – summarized with the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development by the United Nations – are really far away to be even tackled. Many of these countries have the most expansive nature diversity in the world. The fauna and flora of these lands are my hope – they are not renewable. A balance between humans and nature must exist for us to keep living. The climate crisis is rising, and with current political crisis we are facing in Brazil, we have to keep raising people's power. It has given me a sense of urgency to be active in protecting what belongs to all of us.
We have to keep strong and united because we still have a long way to go. Fossil fuel companies, fast fashion, plastic commitments hold too much political power in this fight to defend our planet against the corporate greed, but with people and their voices by our side, I am sure we will succeed.”
JUSTYNA, 16, POLAND
“European Investment Bank is a public bank using everyday people money to pay for projects that are ruining lives of people living in the vicinity of this project.
I am living in Poland, where we also have to overcome the problem of our government financing fossil fuels. I believe that if the EIB would stop gas expansion across Europe, it would be harder for EU countries to acquire energy from fossil fuels.
I hope that the EIB will eventually listen to our demands, and that they will stop financing gas expansion across Europe. My wish is to live in Europe free from fossil fuels and I am willing to do everything I can to make it happen.”
KACPER, 15, POLAND
“I am protesting because I will not act like nothing is happening. We are in enormous climate crisis, so we have to do everything needed to stop it. EIB is such a powerful institution and with great power, comes great responsibility. Unfortunately, facing that crisis, politicians don’t behave as I would expect them to.
I am from Poland, a member state of the EU. Every decision and every bit of money EIB spends affects my country directly. As a Pole and European, I cannot let EIB totally ignore the environment and scientific data. I am here today and I fight for a better future for my country and the continent.
I would love to live in a world where I don’t have to protest for my planet. Unfortunately, I do. I would love this issue to be urgent for the governments. I feel obligated to try and save the planet somehow. I will strike, disrupt, and do everything required to achieve that.”
LUZ, 48, FRANCE
“Fossil energies should absolutely remain in the ground, but EIB is financing a fossil huge project, called TAP, with our money. I am here to show that we are plenty to not want this to happen, that we are going to do our best to stop them… We don’t want our money to be spent in planet destroying fossil projects but in renewable energies and to educate people to more and more energy sobriety.
I am Colombian and I’m living in France, but this action is relevant to the whole planet. We all need urgently to stop any fossil fuel project existing or to come. Ff course, as a South American woman, I feel more concerned because I know poor southern countries are going to suffer more than the so-called developed countries.
Our people are going to rise, our voices are going to be louder and louder, we are full of hope and determination, we will not let them destroy our planet.”