First Intervention of the BBVA Shareholders Meeting

Shareholders of BBVA, Bilbao, March 13, 2015

Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Gemma Amoros and I speak as a member of the Delás Study Center for Peace on behalf of the campaign BBVA without arms.I speak on behalf of dozens of shareholders who have given 609 575 shares to the campaign BBVA without arms to raise their voice in this forum today. We urge you, on their behalf, to modify your policy of controversial investments.

BBVA says it respects human rights in its business strategies. However, it is the Spanish bank that has set aside more capital to the arms industry in the period 2005- 2013 than any other. The total investment of the bank in arms for that period was 3.626 million euros. How you can respect human rights by promoting and weapons like this?

Of this total, 2.657 million are for loans to companies researching or manufacturing weapons; nearly 600 million was dedicated to finance exports of Italian weapons; 338 million was invested in bond and commercial paper of weapons; and 31 million euros were invested in mutual funds, stocks and bonds of companies in the defense industry.

Mr. Gonzalez. They say they do not operate with controversial weapons. It seems they do not consider that nuclear weapons are that indeed. They are weapons of mass destruction, whose only aim is to inflict  maximum devastation. These weapons are useless for defense or for the protection of persons. These are weapons that destroy everything that exists in many kilometers around not only in the moment when they are released, but with devastating effects for decades thereafter.

According to the report “Do not bank on the bomb”,  by the NGO Pax, BBVA has invested 3.034 million dollars in producing nuclear weapons since 2011. Last year alone, in 2014, he spent 561 million dollars to finance AECOM, Finmeccanica and ThyssenKrupp, three companies that produce nuclear weapons and other weapons of war. How do they fit these investments in the speech he repeatedly promise to fulfill and which state that companies must support and respect the protection of internationally recognized human rights?

AECOM, in which BBVA has invested 373 million dollars last year, is a company dedicated to the manufacturing and experimentation with nuclear weapons. Part of the National Security Technologies (NSTec), the only area of nuclear testing in the United States, key to modernizing the nuclear arsenal of this country.In addition, BBVA last year invested 150 million euros in the company Finmeccanica, accused of providing weapons to the Qaddafi government and the company that is part of  WASS (Whitehead underwater systems). Wass is the global leader of all under water weapons systems and is known for making all kinds of torpedoes, from light MU90 or A244, as the Black Shark heavy or A184. They also manufacture anti-torpedo countermeasure  systems Mr. Gonzalez. You invested last year, as you know, 138 million euros in the company Thyssenkrupp. This German company produces Navy submarines to Israel. These submarines, manufactured in Germany under the Israeli specifications, are prepared to carry nuclear warheads.

All these investments make it clear that BBVA has no qualms about actively participating in the industry of war. Mr. President, what good is to establish theoretically restrictive rules investing in weapons if  the bank continues to invest hundreds of millions in some of the biggest arms producers in the world? Why claim to not financially support controversial arms companies when they are clearly contributing to the proliferation of nuclear weapons?

Mr. Gonzalez, just one year ago you said, at this meeting, they were delimiting its investment policy in the arms sector, but unfortunately the data speaks for itself , and that is why we are here, a year later.

Board members, shareholders Ladies and gentlemen, we ask you to reflect. Do you want your money supporting the production and sale of weaponry, and that  which contributes to the maintenance of dozens of armed conflicts that are reaping the lives of millions of innocent people.

Mr. Francisco Gonzalez, BBVA is the largest funder of the arms business in Spain . How long, Mr. González, for how long?