The European Investment Bank (EIB) emerged as the world’s largest multilateral public development bank from the 1990s. We explore the logic of EIB lending to the water sector in general, and to public water in particular. Water lending from the EIB’s establishment until 1990 reflected its core mandates, then, from 1991 to 2021, slippage occurred, as a process of levelling up meant the EIB distributed water lending more evenly among member countries. We find EIB water lending went to both public and private water, illustrating this using the case of the UK, the leading recipient of lending throughout the period.
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