December 9, 2020

Climate protest at European Central Bank ahead of announcement to increase fossil fuel funding


Frankfurt, Germany – On Wednesday night climate activists will demonstrate against the European Central Bank’s support for fossil fuel corporations like Shell and Total by staging a visual action at the bank’s headquarters in Frankfurt. The protest will take place just hours before the heads of the bank are expected to announce a significant scale-up of their Covid recovery measures that will largely benefit polluting companies.

Photos will be available here after the action and reactive comments will be provided following the ECB’s announcements on 10 December.

Who: Activists from Koala Kollektiv, a Frankfurt-based grassroots climate justice organisation. Kerstin Kreß, spokesperson for the Koala Kollektiv said:

“Right now, the ECB has the historic opportunity to help solve two crises at once: by adopting climate protection conditions for quantitative easing, the ECB will be able to effectively fight the economic impact of the pandemic as well as the global impact of the climate crisis. The point is to urgently avoid humanitarian catastrophes now and in the future, either caused by Covid or the Climate Crisis. The ECB must ensure effective climate protection policies and the transition to a just recovery.”

What: Protestors will deliver a visually compelling action that incorporates their demands: calling on Christine Lagarde and the bank to stop financing fossil fuel corporations and polluting industries with Covid recovery money.

When: The action will take place around 9.45pm on 9 December. It is planned to take place the evening before the governors of the European Central Bank meet to discuss and likely announce a new Covid recovery package.

Where: Outside the European Central Bank Headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. If you would like to attend the meeting point for journalists will be at 9.30pm on the southern end of  Deutschherrnbrücke:

Why: Despite the EU’s objective to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, the European Central Bank continues to purchase assets from fossil fuel companies like Shell and Total, oil majors that are linked to the destruction of indigenous lands and human rights abuses in Latin America and Africa.

The President of the bank, Christine Lagarde, said the institution should ‘explore every avenue’ to tackle the climate crisis, but recent research shows that the bank has purchased bonds from at least 38 fossil fuel companies. The Bank may have already pumped up to €220 billion into high-carbon emitters through its existing €1.47 trillion covid-related asset purchase programme.

The European Central Bank has formally received a petition signed by more than 160,000 people demanding that it cut its support for fossil fuels and that it supports people, not polluters. More than 80% of 24,000 people recently surveyed said that climate, environment and social issues should be a high priority for the central bank. Several prominent civil society organisations have written to the Governors of the bank explaining how they can take two immediate steps on 10 December to meet the bank’s commitments on climate change (ahead of next year’s monetary policy review):

  1. Exclude fossil fuel companies from corporate asset purchases, and
  2. Pilot a green targeted long-term refinancing operations (TLTRO) programme to incentivize private banks to lend more money for green investments

Notes to editor

  • Photos of the action at the European Central Bank HQ will be available from around 1.00am CET on Thursday, for immediate release. The photos will be made available here.
  • The KoalaKollektiv is a Frankfurt-based climate justice group that was founded in January 2020. The thematic focus of the KoalaKollektiv is the demand on banks and other investors to withdraw money from the fossil fuel industry. You can find out more here.
  • More than 160,000 people have signed a petition demanding that the ECB stops supporting fossil fuels and puts people not polluters first. The petition was launched by, Reclaim Finance and SumOfUs.
  • More than 24,000 people responded to a survey designed and conducted by Reclaim Finance, SumOfUs and on the basis of the ECB strategy review public consultation. Comparatively, EU consultations usually attract a low number of participants, often a hundred or so and rarely more than a thousand.
  • Report on the ECB’s ongoing support to the fossil fuel industry from Reclaim Finance.

Media Contacts 

(EN) Mark Raven, Europe Communications at, [email protected], +447841474125

(DE) Kerstin Kreß, Activist with Koala Kollektiv, [email protected], +4915678368004

(DE) Sebastian Bock, Germany Campaigner at, [email protected], +49 1738667167

(EN) Jon Date, Communications on behalf of SumOfUs, [email protected], +447533011983

(FR/EN) Paul Schreiber, Campaigner at Reclaim Finance, [email protected], +33689020788