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Analysing the European Investment Bank:

Interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the past, present and future of the world’s biggest lender.

Venue: University of Luxembourg, Belval Campus,

11, Porte des Sciences, 4366 Esch sur Alzette, Luxembourg

Sponsored by the Robert Schuman Institute for European Affairs of the University of Luxembourg, the University of Luxembourg, The University of Padova


Date: July 10th and 11th July 2019

After World War II, international financial institutions were established to facilitate and regulate the access to global capital markets and promote reconstruction and economic growth (Clifton et al. 2014). At European level, in 1958 the European Investment Bank (EIB) was established by the Treaty of Rome to act as the financial institution of the European Economic Community (EEC), now European Union (EU). As stated in Article 130 of the Treaty, the financial intermediation activity of the EIB was intended to channel capital so as to improve the abilities of the member states and their firms to adapt to the increased competition created by the Common Market, reducing inequalities among regions and between economic sectors, and favour development and economic integration. Today the EIB is the biggest lender and borrower among the international financial institutions and plays a leading role in long-term financing within the EU.

Despite its prominent role, the EIB has been the subject of surprisingly little research both in comparison to other regional banks but also to other EU institutions. Apart from sporadic interest previously, only over the past two decades have scholars from different disciplines started to dedicate sustained attention to the EIB (Griffith Jones et al, 2005; Robinson, 2009; Bussière et all, 2009; Coppolaro 2010; Hanchez and Wouters, 2011; Clifton, Díaz-Fuentes, and Revuelta, 2014;  Mertens and Thiemann, 2017). However, a fully-fledged body of literature and models for evaluating the EIB, its operation, effectiveness, role and future relevance is still lacking. The recent opening of the EIB archives, the 60th ‘birthday’ celebrations in 2018 and of its first 60 years of operation in 2019 make this an appropriate moment to make a significant contribution to progress in EIB-focused research.

Our conference aims to bring together scholars from different disciplines (economy, history, law and political science) with a threefold aim: to investigate whether and how the EIB contributed to the economic development and integration of the European Union; to examine the evolution of the EIB as an institution; and to explore its future prospects.


Our goals are to understand which political, economic and institutional factors influenced the trajectory of the EIB and its policies, which events can be considered milestones and decisive turning points in this process, which personalities played a relevant role, and how the EIB contributed to the tasks pinpointed by the Treaty of Rome. We want to identify the distinctive operational phases that have come to characterise concrete periods of the EIB’s existence and offer a periodisation of the entity`s trajectory. We also want to ascertain how internal changes and the changes in the international economic and geopolitical context influenced the EIB, and how the EIB responded and adapted to these changes and to the changing EU institutional environment. We want to offer a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the most salient trends and changes in the EIB’s operations by looking at the patterns of loan allocations and the evolving origins of its funding sources. We also wish to look forward and to consider the EIB’s future role in a globalized, multipolar political and economic environment.


We welcome research papers in any field related to the EIB Group, including but not limited to the following topics:


- The historical origins of the Bank;

- The priorities and determinants of the EIB’s lending policy and its field of operations;

- The EIB’s funding and the borrowing policy (own funds and debt markets), and EIB resilience;

- The effect and impact of EIB operations on regional economic integration, development and economic growth;

- The financial instruments (loans, guarantees, equity participations and technical assistance grants);

- The EIB’s business model and its evolution;

- The EIB’s decision-making and management, and the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations;

- EU / EIB Membership development and its impact on the mandate, governance and policies of the Bank;

- Role of the member states and of the Commission and relationship with them;

- Role of and relationships with non-state actors such as central banks, private banks, local development institutions, multilateral and regional banks, and other non-state actors, including the society (accountability, transparency, corporate social responsibility) and checks and balances;

- Specific individuals who might be singled out for their role and influence;

- Comparative analysis with other International Financial Institutions (IFIs), multilateral and regional banks;

- Future EIB relevance in view of global transformations of political, social, economic, technological, environmental and geopolitical nature.

For each of these topics, we aim to examine continuity as well as change.

Any other topics related to the conference theme will also be considered.



Authors are invited to submit an abstract (500 words) together with a brief bio to no later than 4 January 2019. Accepted contributors will be communicated by 17 January 2019. A paper of no more than 8000 words should be submitted by 12 June 2019.



Reasonable (economy fare) travel and hotel costs will be covered by the organizers.


Useful links



Publishing plans

It is our aim that the best papers from the conference be published in a top journal and/or an edited volume with a leading academic publisher. This edited volume will also include a number of additional papers – depending on goodness of fit. Conference proceedings will be also published and uploaded to the EIB Conference 2019 site.


For the Scientific Committee


Lucia Coppolaro

Associate Professor of International History

University of Padova

Helen Kavvadia

Visiting Research Associate, Department of Political Science and 

International Relations, Institute of Political Science – IPSE

University of Luxembourg

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