“Today is a very sad day for Europe. As President of the European Investment Bank, I take note of the UK vote with the deepest regret, although of course the Bank will work with Member States and other EU institutions to assure an orderly transition to a new negotiated arrangement according to the Treaty.
For the first time since the beginning of European integration after the war a country decided to reverse its course toward enhanced common governance of our continent and commonality of fate worldwide.
This is not just any country: it is the nation that first called for a United States of Europe to avoid our continent repeating the terrible mistakes of its past.
The only thing that would be worse than the UK leaving the EU would be the EU itself – its leadership and the leaders of its member states – to ignore the harsh lesson that comes from this vote and the debate that surrounded it, both within the UK and across Europe.
We have been careless in criticizing and attacking the EU and European integration for all its failings but too seldom and too weakly defending it for its achievements. Those failings are many and they must be addressed more decisively than ever. But we must also boldly and robustly make a new, strong case for Europe, for a joint European contribution to global governance and peace, for a commonality of destiny among our peoples. Member States should take special care to give credit to the European Union for its merits and achievements, and to avoid falling into the facile temptation of using it as scapegoat for flaws and mistakes for which the Union has little responsibility.
This is the compass that must guide us in our handling of the aftermath of yesterday’s vote and in our dealings with the UK’s departure, bearing in mind that we find ourselves in uncharted territory: the beginning of a process that will bring profound change.
Europeans must now stand together united, to ensure Europe remains strong for it to be able to influence the furthering of global cooperation in the interest of peace and prosperity. The globalization process with its strong competition will continue and we must join forces in order to strengthen our role and protect our values.”
The shareholders of the European Investment Bank are the 28 Member States of the European Union and the EIB’s statute is an integral part of the Treaty on the European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. To become a shareholder of the EIB a country must be a Member State of the European Union.The UK has a 16.11% shareholding in the EIB, is one of the four main shareholders of the Bank and nominates a member of the EIB Management Committee. At present the UK shareholding in the EIB remains and the EIB’s engagement in the UK is unchanged. Any change to the EIB’s shareholder structure or lending activity is a decision for the Member States.
We expect that the EIB’s shareholders, the 28 EU Member States, will discuss the EIB’s engagement in the UK as part of broader discussions to define the future relationship of the UK with Europe and European bodies. At present, the EIB’s shareholders have not requested the Bank to change its approach to operations in the UK.
It is premature to speculate on the impact of the referendum result on the EIB, including the Bank’s future relationship with the UK government and its future engagement to support long-term investment in the UK without clarity on the timing, circumstances and conditions of a withdrawal settlement.