The Complaints Mechanism (EIB-CM) is the citizen’s driven accountability tool of the EIB Group. We listen to citizens when they have concerns about an EIB Group project, policy or activity, and enable them to exercise their right to complain. In addition to the core functions, the EIB-CM also coordinates complaints received by the European Ombudsman concerning EIB’s actions. The EIB-CM also engages periodically in Communication and Outreach Activities.
Our role is to investigate complaints to ensure the EIB Group complies with its internal policies and procedures and to propose corrective actions when this does not take place. It also enables alternative and pre-emptive resolution of disputes between complainants and the EIB Group. In addition, the Complaints Mechanism Division assists the EIB Group, for the common purpose of good administration, by advising on possible improvements to the implementation of its activities.
The Complaints Mechanism team receives project complaints including, among others:
- environmental degradation
- threats to community health and safety
- involuntary resettlement
We also help complainants affected by other EIB Group activities, such as when they may be wrongfully denied access to information or are inadequately consulted about projects or policies.
We believe that by addressing citizens’ concerns at the earliest possibility, we can ensure that EIB Group policies, projects and activities uphold the highest environmental, social and governance standards and deliver fair and sustainable outcomes for everyone.
1. Compliance review
The Complaints Mechanism investigates complaints and evaluates whether actions or decisions taken by the EIB Group failed to comply with internal policies, standards or procedures or with applicable legislation. Significantly, the compliance review will determine the validity of the allegations and help identify any additional issues raised by the complaint.
The compliance review will entail the review of information provided by the complainant, documentation from EIB Group services and the relevant policies and legal frameworks. We may also conduct meetings with the complainant, EIB Group services and other relevant stakeholders, as well as visit project locations for fact-finding purposes.
The Complaints Mechanism will produce a report on its findings and, if required, propose the appropriate recommendations to resolve the issues presented in the complaint.
2. Dispute Resolution/Mediation
As an independent and impartial function of the Complaints Mechanism, the dispute resolution team manages collaborative resolution processes, often with support from local facilitators and/or mediators. The collaborative process is tailored to each specific case, in agreement with the parties involved. Our aim is to come to a mutual understanding of the issues at stake, improve trust between the parties and help them agree on sustainable solutions. Mediation is a form of dispute resolution in which representatives from each party of the dispute discuss and negotiate, assisted by third-party mediators that guide the process. The mediators remain impartial and do not impose solutions.
Based on its findings during the complaints process, the Complaints Mechanism is able to identify improvements to the EIB policy framework. Our advice is given to senior management regarding issues of a systemic nature, together with the complaint-specific recommendations proposed to resolve a case. The advice may also encompass other issues that were uncovered during the course of its investigation.
For example, the Complaints Mechanism may advice senior management on potential improvements to its environmental or social policies and/or procedures, which following an investigation were found to have failed to provide an adequate level of protection to people and the environment during the implementation of a specific project.
The Complaints Mechanism monitors closed complaints to ensure the follow-up measures agreed to by the EIB Group and/or project promoter are implemented. This process ensures that complaints are resolved satisfactorily and in the designated time period.
Monitoring takes places after a reasonable period of time has elapsed following the closure of a case, to allow the necessary improvements and changes to be implemented. It is important to note that only the most high-risk and sensitive complaints are monitored; however, all complainants are advised to contact the Complaints Mechanism if any issues arise following a case’s closure.