Luxembourgh Times

Bill Gates visits Luxembourg for talks with Bettel and EIB

The Microsoft co-founder talked about climate issues and put in place new agreement to accelerate clean energy transition

Bill Gates visited Prime Minister Xavier Bettel at his official residence

Bill Gates visited Prime Minister Xavier Bettel at his official residence © Photo credit: Twitter

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates met with Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and the European Investment Bank during a visit to Luxembourg on Wednesday to discuss climate issues and drive forward a joint investment into clean energy.

The EU bank and the European Commission in 2019 joined forces with Breakthrough Energy Ventures, of which Gates is chairman, to set up a €100 million fund to help bring new clean energy technologies to the market to replace fossil fuels. Breakthrough Energy Ventures and the EIB contributed €50 million each into the project.

On Wednesday the American business tycoon and the Luxembourg-headquartered EIB signed an agreement to continue their partnership in a bid to accelerate clean energy transition, the bank said in a statement.

During a separate meeting, Gates and Bettel talked about “climate and energy issues and the role of innovation in achieving a more sustainable future”, the Luxembourg premier wrote in a Tweet.

The Luxembourg-headquartered EIB brands itself as the “EU’s climate bank” with a €27.6 billion funding last year on investments supporting environmental sustainability.

It pledged to stop financing fossil fuel energy projects from December 2021 and boost its support for clean energy projects. Luxembourg and five other countries abstained from voting when EU countries – the bank's shareholders – had their say on the policy. Luxembourg wanted the agreement to also ensure the EIB would stop funding nuclear energy, a spokesman for Luxembourg’s Finance Ministry said at the time.

The EIB wants to be seen as the bloc’s bank supporting pollution-fighting projects but it should be more transparent and publish more information about the environmental impact of the projects it funds, the European Union’s investigator into complaints against EU institutions said earlier this year.

The ombudsman asked the bank to improve its transparency for the billions it invests each year in projects around the globe and publish information on all of its projects “rather than regularly withholding this information through its current confidentiality practices”.