Corporate Europe Hypocrisy

This blog was originally published on May 25, 2010 – one of the first Risk-Monger blogs – it gained a bit of attention when, the next day, CEO took down the links I had used (I left them dead). Its value is that for more than three and a half years the comments section was the place for people to share their research on the funding of anti-industry, “pro-transparency” anarchist groups like CEO and SpinWatch (until EurActiv intervened and shut down the comment feed). Warning – there are a lot of comments (interesting data, but a long read).

I will update this blog shortly as CEO has more than doubled their funding since this publication, and most of their funders are anything but transparent.

Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) has been built on contradictions: the anti-lobbying lobby group; a group fighting for transparency through admittedly rather opaque means; and an anti-globalisation front group attacking others for operating as front groups. That CEO can continue to attack others while covering up their own contradictions strikes me as odd: they must either be morally exhausted or completely oblivious to their own reality.

I recently taught a course on lobbying at a Brussels university and for the session on lobbying, ethics and transparency, I thought it would be useful to invite CEO or ALTER-EU to come to speak to my students. Their reply was that they did not agree with the concept of teaching people how to lobby. I found this to be a strange response. Are they pretending that lobbying will just go away? That we should not teach people how to lobby properly and ethically? Was everything they were doing for the Transparency Initiative just a sham?

CEO define lobbying in an unusual manner. CEO only attack lobbying or lobbyists if they come from industry (because corporates use their influence, others apparently do not). They do not attack NGO lobbying campaigns, or NGO activists that take positions in governments. If lobbying can be defined broadly as the ability of someone to influence a decision-making process, then environmental activists are the most successful lobbyists in Brussels. Quite honestly, industry lobbying attempts in Brussels are rather hopeless and comic at times. CEO and their sister group, ALTER-EU, serve as a useful tool for NGO lobbying campaigns, by lobbying against “corporate” lobbyists at the height of EU policy debates. It is an effective way to flank policy-makers to make them feel awkward listening to a particular interest group that CEO may disagree with. What an clever lobbying trick!

Is CEO a front group? Back in 2005, I did a bit of research into this ‘research’ organisation, when they started to make some noise. Based on figures from 2004 (no longer available on-line), CEO had a budget of around € 69,000, from which they had five people associated with the organisation. The budget seemed quite small to pay five salaries and run an office. A simple Google search of the names on their website showed that these five individuals all had email addresses with other organisations (Friends of the Earth, Attac Deutschland, two from Aseed and the Transnational Institute (TNI), where CEO founder and anti-Europe campaigner, Erik Wesselius is based). Curiously, when the TNI moved offices that year, so did CEO, on the very same day, from and to the very same offices as the TNI. In other words, CEO was being run by Erik out of the TNI while pretending to be a larger, independent organisation. This to me seems to be a good definition of a front group, at the very time when CEO launched a campaign against BSEF for being, heaven forbid, a front group.

Funding sources: Now they have offices in Brussels and more staff which implies that they have come into some money. So giving CEO the same scrutiny they give to others, let us see where their money is coming from. Well, that is kind of difficult as more than half of their budget for the last year (€199.672) is coming from an organisation that we know very little about – the Isvara Foundation. Their shell website indicates that the Isvara Foundation is anti-liberal and against such institutions as the World Bank and the European Commission. Who works for this anti-institutional foundation? Where are they based? Nothing. I wrote to them to ask for more information … no response (they must be too busy funding groups to save the world from shady organisations). Since I wrote them they added to the website that the foundation was set up by a Mr Ayman Jallad and is managed from his bank in Zurich – hardly transparent but better than what they said in April. This does not stop CEO from attacking others for shadowy funding or less than transparent behaviour (talk about putting your money where your mouth is!).

CEO is also receiving funds from the Dutch office of Oxfam, which may seem like a very strange type of development project for Oxfam to fund until you look at the murky politics of who is heading their Dutch office. I wonder if contributors to Oxfam Novib (especially the employees at Philips who gave €1.5 million to Oxfam Novib last year) would be happy to know how their donations are being used to attack companies like … Philips. What a mess!

When faced with so many skeletons in your closet, a good hypocrite would not open the door, but CEO should not be so naïve to assume that others won’t be tempted to take a peek. Couldn’t they just pretend?

Transparency: The most delightful contradiction was to see EPACA taking CEO to court earlier this year for not being transparent in their lobbying. CEO employee, David Leloup, did not acknowledge his identity in his initial email contact with Burson-Marsteller. CEO first said he did not have to acknowledge that he was working for CEO as he was acting as a journalist (who happened to be listed on the CEO website as an employee) and then CEO claimed that he did identify himself and behaved properly. Take a look at the email exchange, where you will see the original email at the bottom of the page – there David used his private gmail account and signed the letter as a journalist – nothing about CEO or a transparent introduction that all corporate consultants are urged to do when contacting people. His behaviour was not very transparent, and not very honest. That EPACA tried to sue CEO over this nonsense was just to raise the point – practice what you preach and respect codes you insist that others must follow. CEO seemed to celebrate that the lawsuit was dropped as a victory without accepting that they did not respect good practices they demand others to hold to.

Are they morally exhausted or completely oblivious to their own reality? Like most hypocrites, I suspect they are completely oblivious.

Addendum from the Risk Monger dated 26 May 2010: You may have noticed that since the blog was published yesterday, the two links to the CEO site suddenly became broken – in other words, I suspect that CEO is trying to do something disingenious to hide some facts (integrity guys?). My apologies – I have left the links as is so you can see what they are doing. Erik, you should know that trying to get information off of the internet is like trying to get pee out of a swimming pool. If you don’t like when industry does it, then don’t do it yourselves. Sadly I expected CEO to behave like that. You can find CEO’s budget for the last year on the ETI registry website. A copy of the Leloup-Mack email exchange (as it was published in the public domain, I believe I have the right to reproduce it so long as it is not for commercial profit) is at leloup-mack-08032010 email exchange.

 

Comments from BlogActiv from 05.2010 – 10.2013

  1. Simon Terwagne says:Thank you very much for this very instructive case study ;D
  2. Corporate Europe Observatory says:Just to let you know, Corporate Europe Observatory is not trying to get any information off the internet. We’re just experiencing a problem after something went wrong during an update of our site software around 12:00 CEST this morning. All pdfs and other files posted to our website after 5 October last year are temporarily unavailable. We are working hard to get them on line again.
    More in general, we will post a reaction to David Zaruk’s blog post later today.
  3. Corporate Europe Observatory says:David Zaruk’s misleading posting on Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) is perhaps not that surprising, given that he was formerly affiliated with chemical industry lobby group CEFIC and the prominent lobbying consultancy Burson-Marsteller, whose lobbying activities CEO has criticised in the past.Corporate Europe Observatory exposes and challenges the privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making. We see rolling back corporate power and exposing greenwash as a precondition for adequately addressing global and European problems like poverty, climate change, social injustice, hunger and environmental degradation. Corporate Europe Observatory works in close alliance with public interest groups and social movements in and outside Europe to develop alternatives to the dominance of corporate power.CEO is completely open about its funding sources. Our biggest funder, the Isvara Foundation, is a progressive trust that awards grants to civil society organisations working to halt unsustainable and socially destructive neo-liberal policies.A few months ago we declined an invitation to speak in a course on lobbying at a private school (Institut des Hautes Études des Communications Sociales, Bruxelles). This does not imply that we reject all teaching on lobbying. There are people that make good use of lobbying skills to advance public interest causes. The problem in Brusselsis that public interest lobbyists are a minority, have less resources and do not enjoy the privileged access to EU decision-makers that private special interest lobbyists have.
    For the record the European Commission dimissed EPACA’s complaint against CEO, confirming our assessment that it was an ill-founded and desperate attempt to ward off tighter transparency and ethics rules for EU lobbyists.
    Corporate Europe Observatory is an independent non profit foundation. We previously rented office space in the TNI building in Amsterdam, as did several other independent organisations (examples include theBurma Centre and the Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers) who all moved with TNI to a new building in 2004. And it is a simple fact that in our early days we existed on a very small budget. Erik Wesselius has never ‘run’ CEO, he never worked with TNI and he is not anti-EU, but campaigned against the EU constitution in 2005, when there was a referendum on the EU constitution in the Netherlands (in which a majority of 61.6% of the Dutch voted No).
    Anyone who visits our website can see that at Corporate Europe Observatory we are open about who we are, what we do, what we stand for and how we are funded. We have been inscribed in the European Commission’s lobbying transparency register from the very beginning, and we report in much greater detail about our lobbying activities than what is required by the Commission.
  4. The Risk Monger says:Thank you CEO for the comprehensive reply with all of the links promoting your campaigns. You seem to suggest that because I have worked at Cefic and BM, that on that basis I have been misleading, but then you confirmed all of my points and chose not to defend the claims that CEO have not been fully transparent about their lobbying practices, funding sources and history. Because I worked at several lobbying organisations before (I don’t hide it and am not ashamed – and today I train tomorrow’s lobbyists) does not make me a bad or misleading person or imply that you are therefore whiter than white and don’t need to justify your actions – rather it implies that you have a very naïve view of the world and the EU decision-making process and lack tangible experience of how companies, trade associations and PA firms operate (and yet you feel confident enough to criticise them from outside of their buildings).
    We all are judged by the same standards, no matter how noble you think you are or how bad you think I am, so please tell us more about the Isvara Foundation (what have you got to hide?).
    I learned one thing from your long reply – that Erik has never worked for the TNI – the 1300 hits that I got connecting them must be wrong, as well as the books that have TNI after his name – where he repesented the TNI on declarations on the NICE treaty, GATS, Cancun. No relation at all then? Now I am curious.
  5. Will Deighton says:Here’s the story behind Isvara Foundation, backers of Corporate Observatory and also SpinWatch:When the super-wealthy Jallad Group chairman, set up a secret fund to channel money into green advocacy groups, that story ought to have been uncovered by a project dedicated to uncovering corporate spin. …’http://spinwatchwatch.wordpress.com/2010/05/28/agri-business-fortune-behind-spinwatch/ read on here: ‘Agri-Business fortune behind SpinWatch
  6. The Risk Monger says:Thanks Will – indeed a few years ago, the Isvara website acknowledged its Middle East corporate origins, but decided that was too much transparency. I was trying to get CEO to admit it (on the hopes that they were morally exhausted rather than hypocritical … what a disappointment!).
    If you want some juicy research, I recommend you take a look at the Dutch office of Oxfam – they are also funding the same pack of wolves, but have an even more disturbing connection (to the Iranian revolution).
    Aren’t we lucky that western democracy is being protected by such benevolent organisations?
  7. Pingback: The Risk-Monger » Blog Archive » Corporate Europe Create-a-story
  8. Arndt Schume says:The Isvara web site says “The Foundation does not accept unsolicited applications”. So is it a closed network of old-fashioned patronage? What about others who do not get a chance to state their case for funding?ALTER-EU: 48000 (not yet declared on the Transparency Register)
    Corporate Europe Observatory – CEO: 200000
    Association Internationales des Technicians Experts et Chercheurs – AITEC: 17000
    Friends of the Earth Europe: 133000
    Spinwatch: 30000
    World Development Movement – WDM: 320000The Isvara Foundation is the main donor for ALTER-EU and CEO, and a big one to the others. The links between them can be found either by common addresses/people (Erik Wesselius hosts ALTER-EU from the same address here in Brussels as his CEO), or the networks they hangout in. Though WDM is the registered owner of the Isvara Foundation website, the things the site says they are into sound just like CEO campaigns. So just what is the link between this lot and the way the Isvara Foundation gives out its money?What about a transparency declaration from the Isvara Foundation to clear all this up? Maybe those who get the money will have checked that it is OK to take it – so maybe one of them could solve these various mysteries?

    1. The Risk Monger says:Thank you Arndt for reminding me of this. CEO and other “anti-lobbying” lobby organisations are so full of contradictions that I would assume hypocrisy is the only way they can legitimately get through their day (so they can wake up tomorrow to lecture others about integrity!). They point their guns at groups they don’t like (multinationals, certain industries) and look the other way about non-transparent behaviour with those who share similar anti-globalisation narratives. They get funding to look into corporate funding issues and launch campaigns (others like you or me do not have the cash or the time – so we can only look passively at their contradictions and then continue with our day) – and they know it – CEO knows that people will get afraid when they bark (it doesn’t mean what they say is right or fact based – they know facts don’t matter when they can make people afraid of them – see the comedy of errors in one of their reports in a more recent blog) so they say and do what they want – what a bunch of intellectually challenged bullies. The best we can do is ignore them I am afraid. We can’t have them banned for lying or for non-transparent behaviour … and dialogue is out of the question (unless everyone is prepared to bow to them).
      The lack of transparency from Isvara (funding those who demand transparency of others) only leads to speculation. All the Isvara Foundation says is that its money comes from a Mr Jallad of Lebanon at a bank account in Switzerland. What strings are attached for those who get the money?
      Can anyone add to the list of Isvara funded organisations seeking to influence the policies of the European institutions? (a job for AITEC, maybe?)
      By not providing information on who gets what, these type of questions will surely be asked. The site does say that it “supports campaigns targeting the European Commission”, but the Isvara Foundation has no entry on the EU Transparency Register, so you’ve got to try to figure out exactly who they do fund by surfing the ‘net. So near enough these are the Euros they give out:
  9. birgitte deroux says:So, Alter-EU is a sanitized front for the Corporate Europe Observatory, right? For a while their reports seemed kind of interesting but then I saw that they have the same address, web design/host, they seem to double-hat at events, they share the same funding pot, the same small bunch of activists do the reports and go to meetings with the decision makers etc, but they use others who signed up to common cause years back to pass themselves off as a broad coalition today. Maybe it’s time for these guys to walk out on the show rather than let themselves be used this way.
    1. The Risk Monger says:Brussels is a rather incestuous place if you are involved in an environmental NGO. Essentially two or three people in a room can decide to run a campaign and claim they represent millions (who are never actually consulted and really don’t get most of what is going on). Then they multiply their effect by grouping groups (same two or three people in a small room in Brussels) – call it ALTER-EU or the Green-10 or something else (A coalition against …). Under the rules of the game, these two or three people are invited to the Commission table under the EU focus on stakeholder dialogue, because it now appears that these people are representing a good part of society. Often these are lone wolves who rarely get along with others long enough to represent them, but they are great communicators in that they can pull credibility levers that make themselves appear to be legitimate. CEO is conflicted since they are campaigning against so much of what they are, and they are very good at lobbying.
      I also blame the Commission for encouraging “pimping” in the highest degree. Rather than promoting civil society engagement at the grassroots level, they pool all the money and ask these professional activists to distribute it to all of their NGO friends across Europe. Groups like EPHA, HEAL, EEB, BEUC are small offices with a lot of EU money that they hand out for favours to smaller NGOs across Europe. Who is going to say no to their sugar daddy if they run a campaign without consulting them or their members. I should do a blog on that, but sadly, I have no time – I have to work for my money!
  10. Johannes Pierski says:I think corporate Europe observatory is maybe still in denial that they are lobbyist. They liked to say before they were “think tank”. Maybe the “tank” is about how the web-site is pointed against anyone with a different opinion?
  11. Francesca Marten says:Amusing to see above that the Corporate Europe Observatory says it “exposes and challenges the privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making”‘. But don’t they – and their fronts – have privileged access and influence themselves in various corners of the Parliament and the Commission etc? Or did they move their office from Amsterdam to Brussels just for the waffels?
    1. The Risk Monger says:With today’s communications tools, they can twist themselves into such a tizzy of acceptable contradictions and take comfort that the choir they surround themselves with sing from the same songsheet (what I call elsewhere Goebbels 101). The Green lobby they support is probably the strongest lobby group in Brussels if you use policy influence as the main measurement tool. And as long as CEO and its subordinate, ALTER-EU keep screaming, most of us won’t notice. It is brilliant, but, nevertheless, hypocritical.
  12. Johannes Larsson says:The source of the contradiction seems to be that their main paymaster has them ‘target the EU’ with anti system propaganda but they make their living from/in the Brussels commune. They never give us any labels about their own politics. Trotsky? Which designer brand of Marx? Anarchism? We are never told. Come on, be up-front. Trouble is that if they are transparent and put their own real politics to the test that matters – election by the people – they would get derisory votes. So you are right, they do not deserve to be taken seriously if their only role is to try to undermine the system from an under-cover bunker.
    1. The Risk Monger says:Actually I feel this tiger does show its stripes Johannes. They are the lap-dog (lap-tiger?) for Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth from where they run ALTER-EU. When the lobbying gets tough, the green activists call CEO in to do some heavy lifting. For example, about seven years ago, during the F-Gas legislation final days when it was evident the process was not going in the environmentalist’s favour, they called in CEO to attack the other side for, gasp, lobbying. It is what I called flanking – get someone else to attack your opponents from the side (to frighten legislators back into their holes with the risk they might be attacked for appearing in the same room with evil industry lobbyists) and concentrate on the issues the core expects from you. It is a far more sophisticated lobbying strategy than any other I have seen in Brussels, so kudos to them. It is just terribly unethical.
  13. Dave Brightwater says:Any links to a camera shot of these guys with their sugar daddy????
  14. Arndt Schume says:An update to my message above is that the Isvara Foundation also funds the Transnational Institute, and the European Social Forum to ‘target the European Commission.’ That makes 8 of them so far and they all move in the same circles. Why is a businessman in Lebanon so fixated by the European Commission? Can’t this ‘humanitarian philanthropist’ find more worthy priorities in the developing world? Or is the Corporate Europe Observatory a part of a money laundering operation handing out Isvara’s agri-business cash to their own cronies?
    1. The Risk Monger says:It does make one wonder, Arndt, what happened to someone to get it in his or her head that all authority, all companies, all societal organisation are either evil, manipulative or deceptive. I don’t know, maybe my parents loved me and that gave me a basis for trust and a willingness to not think that everyone is out to get me. Or maybe I am naive and not aware of such deceptions? I don’t think so because when I look at organisations like CEO and ALTER-EU, I see a lot of evil, manipulation and deception. People have a right to be stupid and give their money away foolishly. That these wolves are able to exploit Ayman Jallad is quite sad.
  15. Laslo Yasvar says:ALTer EU includes the European Federation of Journalists – do these self-appointed transparency gurus ever see the irony of setting up their stories for the type of media owned by Murdoch, and then go on to shout about the need for media pluralism?
    1. The Risk Monger says:If you are a journalist Laslo, then you would support anyone who says they are campaigning for more access and transparency. Much like an alcoholic in desperate need of a drink – you really don’t care very much who is going to buy it for you.
  16. Simon says:Hi David,Moreover, the documentary criticizes the EU for lack of democracy but does not even mention the European Parliament, as raised by Diana Wallis former MEP yesterday during the debate. In the end, you just sit back and feel like the main criticism is not so much on industry, but more on the Commission, which is clearly CEOs standard message.best regards,
    1. The Risk Monger says:Thanks Simon for your kind words. I am busy with a lot of lectures and lobbying work over the next couple weeks so I am not sure I can run out to the cinema (maybe I can download it off the Interet ;-). The problem is that a film is meant to provide entertainment so it can only be fictional. Even if they try to be credible (a big ‘if’), by changing the lighting, adding music, spicing up the dialogue … it can be very easy to affect someone’s perceptions. We are also conditioned to sit in comfortable chairs, munching on over-salted popcorn and slurping on some brown, fizzy syrup while waiting to be entertained (we don’t want to think too much). This usually entails good winning in the end over evil and the world returning to its pristine state. I am afraid it won’t be objective and the audience wouldn’t want it to be. My main curiosity in seeing it (outside of testing my new blood pressure medication) would be to watch the credits at the end to see who actually funded it (might there be some MEPs involved … for who else in Brussels would like to see the Commission taken down a notch?).
  17. Simon
  18. I hope you get to see this documentary and that the Risk Monger will make a little blog entry on it, I would be interested to hear what you make of it!
    I saw Brussels Business yesterday and was intrigued, because the movie portrays CEO as a knight in shinning armour defending all EU citizens against the evil industry-lobbyists. I am myself a lobbyist and have been so for over ten years and am therefore great full that someone did some research on this organisation. I always find it tragicomical when CEO preaches for transparency when they so clearly use nontransparent and at times illegal methods. these methods are even glorified in the movie (posing as students, journalists, invading offices and copying all material).
  19. Yuliya Ivanov says:The guys behind this film used cover, politely posing as academic minors to approach their victims for help as star commentators, but have a history of using ‘hate the EU/neo-liberal conspiracy’ sites to disseminate propaganda. Both the contents of the propaganda history, and the tactics of deceptive approaches, are clone like to the corporate europe observatory and spinwatch (using ‘Isvara foundation’ money?) families. Transparency is just a convenient device to ask of others as a way of generating and then presenting by distortion as much anti EU propaganda as they can. It does not need to apply to their own actions, of course.
    1. The Risk Monger says:Although they are very sad people, we should not be surprised by their unethical tactics Yuliya. As I have said – when you have a sign on your door that says: “Hate for hire”, you don’t hesitate to include lying and cheating. As I get older, I realise the importance of integrity in all that we do. I hope some day these people will start to grow up.
  20. Kees van Anheisen says:Has anyone seen coverage of the revolving door between NGOs and EU institutions in the campaign run by the corporate europe hypocrisy?
    1. The Risk Monger says:Of course not Kees – that is one of the most hypocritical points. CEO views environmental activist groups as perfectly fine, in fact, morally superior (men of the cloth doing Gaia’s work) and they don’t seem to understand that these activists are not only lobbyists, but sanctimonious ones (a far more dangerous breed as their objectivity is terminally blurred). On the back of an envelope, I can write a couple dozen cases of NGO activists who have walked through revolving doors to real power at the highest levels of international organisations (when you are working in flat activist organisations, the only real path to promotion for the ambitious is through to governments). I have railed long and hard at how Rajendra Pachauri has continued his work in TERI as the activist in chief at the IPCC; David Gee, former activist at Friends of the Earth who now campaigns as head of science (I am not joking) for the European Environment Agency (his wife Taylor works at UNEP, so when UNEP and the EEA got together to attack the chemical industry under the SCALE initiative in the early 2000s, I think I was the only one who felt that to be offensive). Achim Steiner has been stacking UNEP with all of his IUCN and WWF colleagues since he was appointed head of UNEP (under very corrupt circumstances) in what is perhaps the most spectacular revolving doors ever. So when I see them hopping mad and spitting fire and brimstone when the Commission proposes to appoint a leading expert from the food industry to sit on the board of EFSA (not involved in any day to day activities) and get MEPs of a similar salivatory bent all hot and bothered by it, I do think that hypocritical is a rather polite term – moronic is a more appropriate adjective.
      Someone should organise a campaign for transparency for all because the CEO lobbying campaign to fight campaigners is quite immoral. I am preparing a longer blog on CEO, but I have been quite busy lately and not of very good health so I am trying to take it easy.
  21. Tomas Paulsson says:We now have a GMO free Europe because of the deadlock in the Council which makes it impossible to authorize products, as a result of the public hostility created byy Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, etc. And they then caricature the EU as a neo-liberal conspiracy in which policy-makers respond ‘how high?’ when “business” says ‘jump’ (despite the fact that “business” wants different things – companies like Nestle and Carrefour try to distance themselves from other companies involved in GMO production). And we don’t hear it from Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth that they actually sit on one of the European Food Safety Authority committees.
    1. The Risk Monger says:As I said Tomas, hypocrisy is perhaps the most polite term I can find for this pack of wolves. This particular blog is now two years old and while I took a swing at a very stupid report they had published on research, I had decided to update this with a new blog. What I am basically going to argue is that CEO’s underlying objective is a sort of neo-anarchism (something I have been experience with radical intellectuals in the academe). Far from acting in the public interest, their main objective is to clog up the wheels of government – to weaken leadership and the decision-making process as much as possible. As long as they can stymie effective governance, their political goals will be furthered. Now they are campaigning to have Ireland vote no on the stability pack (Let’s bring all of Europe to its knees – only anarchists or morons would welcome such a result). This would justify why Isvara has wasted so much money on them. More to come on this topic …
  22. Carsten Danfoss says:Having some sort of check on the dark arts of CEO propaganda is welcome. It needs a catchy website designed to be found when the casual browser comes across their headlines. All their stuff is a different way of saying the same thing to pander to simplistic prejudice that more money = more influence in decision making, which is intellectually lazy as well as untrue of the outcomes from legislation. Good luck.
    1. The Risk Monger says:There are unfortunately a lot of prejudices that they pander to, Carsten. Something needs to be done, but in Brussels, most people follow the rule that when you see a crazy person on the street shouting and ranting, you don’t stop and chat with him (you put your head down and hope he goes away or picks on someone less fortunate). If I do this, I suspect I will be on my own (chatting with a lunatic organisation) – at the moment I am not well enough to tolerate their barrage of invectives. Perhaps in the autumn I can organise a meeting with interested parties – by then they will have come out with several more fictional reports.
  23. Jim Widdowson says:Hope you are improving. This week has been an eye-opener with all the publicity about the Rausing family – CEO are a major beneficiary of Sigrid Rausing Trust funds, while Spinwatch and go get the Goldsmith fortunes – these guys seem to have no problem hanging out with these rich aristocrats and forget their investment banking interests, etc. I read today that Rausing has the second largest garden in London (after Buckingham Palace), and that Sigrid has a 48,000 estate in Scotland. Maybe she could do us all a favoiur and send Erik and co on a basic course where they could learn that if you say everything is wrong all of the time then people stop listening to you. For the moment, thankfullly, they are not flavour of the month with the Commission, but there are times when the Commission has used them as an ally to get the things they want. CEO just pick selective examples to illustrate their world view – they are Euro sceptic trots after all – and conveniently forget the many times things go for them, such as last week’s vote on ACTA. Rather than all conquering business versus victim CEO etc which they love to paint, isn’t it more a case of sometimes your face fits what the Commission and Parliament are trying to do, and if it does they will happily work with you, just about irrespective of what you are about?
    1. The Risk Monger says:Trust funds and foundations are interesting organisations (often mired in contradictions), at times evolving in their missions from their benefactor’s intended goals. There were some reports about a decade ago about how, in the US, environmental activists had infiltrated the boards of several big foundations to influence the funding decisions. It is quite a messy business.
      On CEO’s success or self-pity episodes, I don’t think it is just left to the luck of the draw, but rather the luck of having a certain person in the right place. In big organisations like the Commission and European Parliament, there are people who nominally are European civil servants but still bring with them their national, political and professional allegiances, and this influences how policies can germinate and develop. CEO likes to scream and shout about people from industry going into public service, but I tend to find, albeit anecdotally, more people from activist NGOs in these positions (and they network with each other to carry on their campaigns “in-house”). The logic is clear – if you are an ambitious activist, the NGO structure is too flat and limited to move up in, and you can find more opportunities to change the world if you had more power (so crossing over to government is a natural career path), while in industry, the opportunities and pay-scales make public service choices more a matter of commitment to serve than a career move. So when CEO can find people who share their stripes in these institutions, they lock and load … The day Erik becomes an MEP (gulp) will be the day we will be horrified to find out much industry influences decision-making.
      As for my health, thanks for asking, the specialists are unable to find the source of the problem (I have a bizarre vascular condition that sees my blood pressure range from very low to extremely high) – I am on four meds a day and need to rest more, but am looking into alternative treatments.
  24. Stephann Daruvitch says:Most of yor readers wish better things for you. To the ceo people what they do (which is bullying individuals) is just a day job and too bad for their victims who have no way to reoply. Notice they never sign off the attacks they make with the name of the individual attacker but hide behind there corporate identity.
    1. The Risk Monger says:Thanks Stephann – their strategy is rather tired and unoriginal (grade-school bully tactics). If you notice their response to this blog (more than two years ago … I really must update this with more recent research) was to attack me personally and call me a “lobbyist”. They know this is usually enough to frighten people who don’t want to dirty themselves or their organisations (an old Canadianism, if you are going to wrestle a pig, prepare to get muddy), so when I agreed with them that I was, like them, a lobbyist and that I am training the next generation in this field, they really couldn’t argue with me anymore (I didn’t cut and run). I have the luxury of having no affiliations that I might risk by confronting them.
  25. Dafina Meri says:David Miller, the creator of ‘Spinwatch’ dedicated to ‘exposing spin’, described himself (on their website) as a ‘scientific advisor’ to ALTER-EU!!!!!!!. Miller modelled Spinwatch on McCarthyite tactics of intimiidaiting those with other views by posting on his website as many personal details as he could find from public domain sources, including personal address and contact details, and presenting whatever he could spin in as unflattering a light as possible. His tactics came to public attention from newspaper editors, who commented on the particular nastiness involved. Miller passed on his website to his sidekick William Dinan who does what his sugar daddy always told him to do. Miller recruited Dinan (his former PhD student at Stirling) at Strathclyde after posting on kindred blog sites the job advert together with his own personal mobile phone number, so that he could fix the appointment. Once Miller left Stathclyde then Dinan had to move on because he could not do anything reputable in academia, and his cover of using academia for his personal political activities had been blown. If anyone gets bullied by these people try the UK protection from harassment act, because it covers anything posted on the web which can be read by a UK reader.
    1. The Risk Monger says:I have found myself in debates with some of these neo-anarchist academics and I must confess, I find them to be very sad, challenged and quite unfriendly creatures. Maybe there is love and joy somewhere in their souls, but my experience has only come up with hate and negativism (maybe it was because I was in front of them and not able to resist thought-provoking comments). We must be careful with the temptation to conclude that being an academic or having some letters or university behind your name makes you more respectable or intelligent (showing off these letters usually implies a bigger ego and a less than complimentary attitude to those around them). I sometimes advise my students that having a PhD actually hurts your chances of getting a job (the arrogance has become well-known) unless, of course, you would like to work for an organisation like Spinwatch or Sourcewatch.
      Are they doing science? Are they providing truth? Are they defending democracy and the public interest? Or are they expressing their personal rage and envy in a way to further their anarchistic objectives and hostility to the present power structures? Their bully tactics suggest the latter.
      I don’t know Spinwatch very well – I know that Sourcewatch in the US had done some research on me – I am amused that someone thought it useful and economically productive to spend a day researching my activities – they should have just called me (they did not!). But they did something that was not at all transparent. They published my online CV as a screenshot but made it seem and function like a live webpage. I had since changed the webhosting company for my CV, but they kept the old URL (on a page that no longer in reality exists). While I am more interested in knowing how they were able to make it look so much like a real page, the thought that they would try to deceive people in doing so came as no surprise.
  26. Check out all of this at spinwatchwatch – just google it.
  27. Juan Ramos says:When you read spinwatch watch you see clearly the obssessive nature of David Miller. These individuals can either be on the far right of politilcs or the far left – the end result is somewhat random as the driver is their obssessiveness. Miller could easily have been on the far right. But for now he positions himself to the opposite, and has regularly appeared on platforms hosted by the revolutionary trotskyite Socialist Workers Party.
  28. Antonio Romero Ejarque says:I read at http://spinwatchwatch.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/the-spinwatch-operation/ about the £214,095 grant from taxpayers money which David Miller held from 2000-2003 to investigate ‘business use of public relations’ from 2000-2003. He certainly does have some questions to answer about this, as around the same time he boasted on a discussion board on the internet that he used the funds from this grant to make contact with other like-minded people during a visit/s to the United States of America as part of his ‘research.’Presumably Miller would have no problem if the same measure was thus used to get a disclosure of the financial accounts for the use of this grant published on the internet?
    1. The Risk Monger says:Thank you Antonio. The Guardian link is interesting. I observed in another blog on CEO that there was a fragrance of antisemitism in their activities. I need to go back and see how coded much of their anti-liberal rhetoric is, and whether these sister watchdogs share the same extremist bias.
  29. Miller’s ex Greenpeace chum got a key post as a national Freedom of Information Officer, which increased Miller’s confidence to regularly abuse this instrument in attempts to intimidate those who have other view to his own – see a complaint about the way he has done this athttp://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/jul/13/spinwatch-right-reply-david-miller
  30. Antonio Romero Ejarque says:The best place for CEO to ‘expose the privileged position’ etc is to begin by holding up the mirror to their relationship with the European Federation of Journalists – together these guys run ALTER e-u. EFJ give a lot of their time to CEO as a reward for the type of stories they feed to hacks – conspiracy theories ‘supported’ by circumstantial ‘evidence’ – which help newspaper editors keep up circulation wars by feeding their readers with the usual diet of sensationalist and distorted junk.These people often try to pass themselves off as journalists, but usually end up getting rumbled (Miller whined long and loud when some badge he produced at a G8 summit got laughed out of court). Another favoured deception is to place an apparently minor request for information with clerical staff, hoping to capitalize on the inexperience of their chosen victim.
    1. The Risk Monger says:Too true Antonio and thanks for your insights – Yellow journalism has been around long before Uncle Rupert, so this comes as no surprise. Two years ago, as the link to the exchange between Leloup and Mack showed, CEO members were pretending to be journalists. Then they pretended to be researchers. Now some of them are pretending to be professors. One thing is certain – a pack of wolves does not put integrity high up on their list of priorities.
  31. Just make sure you don’t show your true colours, boys. A bit like Thatcher with her elocution lessons really.
  32. EFJ have done TV training for CEO, showing them how the intense politico type puts the average viewer off, showing how a message seems more plausible if they can pass themselves off as balanced and detached commentators with a sense of proportion. There is a really comical example on the Brit. Channel 5 where Greg Philo (a seasoned Trot and fellow traveller of David Miller) completely overdoes it by using such an exaggerated tone that he gets rumbled by the presenter who ends up losing patience with the performance. Miller can’t quite get it right either because he is unable to curb his testosterone (he rants), though on his website he goes for a more sanctimonious tone, assuming the air of a detached and wearied commentator. Wesselius is a nervy type, so CEO try to put Hoedemann in front of the cameras when they can.
  33. Antonio Romero Ejarque says:Will Dinan is a good example today of a Trot working under academic cover. He’s enjoyed Miller’s patronage for years in different universities but has yet to produce any serious work which meets the quality standards doing the rounds in these places, so he seems to spend his days by doing stuff with the chums he has made whilst globetrotting the circuit of trot cum anarchist venues (who paid for his trips out of Scotland?), as well as taking up hypocritically spinned and pompous sounding titles from organisations in the CEO family. Meantime, Miller has passed on ‘Spinwatch’/’Powerbase’ to Dinan to help fill his increasingly empty days now that his Sugar Daddy has moved elsewhere. He’s a dull fellow so probably little of substance will come of it other than the nasty bile he learnt at Miller’s knee, but the amusing thing is that he still has aspirations to be judged separately – the coin hasn’t yet dropped that the opportunity for him to escape Miller’s shadow has well and truly passed. He deceives himself – but no one else – through his occasional efforts to play the apologist for his irredeemably nasty master.
  34. Miguel Gimenez de Coves says:“Corporate Europe Observatory exposes and challenges the privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making”http://www.lobbycontrol.de/blog/index.php/2005/07/europaische-ngos-fordern-mehr-lobby-transparenz-in-der-eu/
    1. The Risk Monger says:This is one of their “morally challenged” weak-spots, Miguel – that they campaign massively should a person who had industry contacts at any point in their career get too close to government, but remain mute for anyone in leadership position who had worked for NGOs (like former Friends of the Earth director, David Gee, leading the EEA’s drive to make the precautionary principle the key EU policy tool, or how Achim Steiner, former head of IUCN,allegedly paid off Kofi Annan to become UNEP’s executive director).
  35. How about a new website to “expose and challenge the privileged access and influence enjoyed by the Corporate Europe Observatory and their lobby groups in EU policy making?”
  36. Hey, Erik Wesselius of the Corporate Europe Observatory, is that you as well as Jorgo Riss (Greenpeace) in the picture linked below sitting next to the Vice-President of the European Commission on a shared speaking platform??
  37. Antonio Romero Ejarque says:Another deceptive cover in common use throughout the CEO club is academia style references so as to create the impression that ‘others think so too.’ A close inspection of these involve no more than conjjcture published on the websites of CEO family organisations, often written by the same authors.
    1. The Risk Monger says:I have ranted a lot, Antonio, on how NGO’s have used a Goebbels 101 communications tool I have called “commonality” – that we all agree on “X” (just look at all of these links from all of our like-minded friends), so we should stop discussing data and act now! See an earlier blog from me on this subject: http://risk-monger.blogactiv.eu/2010/12/01/can%E2%80%99t-cun-the-failure-of-commonality-over-reason-and-facts/. Terrible things tend to happen when we stop thinking and succumb to political pressure from liars and manipulators.
  38. Leo says:Actually you make the CEO look good. The CEO reply is factual, to the point.
  39. Martin Foxen says:CEO is just an extension of student politics, complete with all the childish tactics to target opponents. To these singletons etc Brussels is just a larger campus they never left.
    1. The Risk Monger says:Indeed Martin, but I would add that it is an extension of campus life in the late 70s, early 80s where every demo was considered good fun for bored middle class kids and a chance for anarchists to disrupt “the system”. Look at the ages of the activists in chief at CEO and ask yourself: Did they ever grow up? Sartre once said: He who is under 35 and is not a socialist has no heart. He who is over 35 and is still a socialist has no brain.
  40. Pieter Sinardet says:Should CEO or Spinwatch/son of/ get the pious/sanctimonious award of the decade?
  41. Dan Driessen says:A new addition to the significant funders of CEO in 2011 (around €200,000) was an outfit built on the trimmings of investment banking wealth accumulated by a Dutch family, which also gives its fancy money to CEO friends, inc. EU Observer, etc. The paradox that is CEO now has income of well over €half a million. Nice!
    1. The Risk Monger says:Thanks for the update – I haven’t been to their funding page for a while. The Adessium Foundation has committed 200,000€ per year for three years (talk about giving children a can of kerosene and unlimited matches!). What I found interesting on the Adessium Foundation website page on CEO, they touted CEO’s achievements:Are they getting good value for money? 200K will buy the Adessium Foundation a report for €28,578 each, €2,222 per CEO link to another website report (not even considering that most of the links are to their ALTER-EU buddies!) or €4.16 per visitor to the CEO website (not to mention that I must visit their site about once a week … accounting for €216.66 of their annual income!). Hardly good value and I am afraid that the kindly but naive people at Adessium have been hoodwinked (I have to find some time to look into how their board has been infiltrated!)
    2. CEO published seven reports, fourteen articles, and twenty-eight blog posts in the first half of 2011. The publications, which covered topics such as conflict of interest and abuse of power, resulted in ninety reports in the print and digital media, several radio and television interviews, and over 4,000 monthly visitors to the CEO website.
  42. David Godiva says:Finance Watch seems to be producing some good, reasoned, detailed stuff to add a consumer perspective to the current round of financial regulation, and no one else seems to be capable of doing this. They are trying to make the system work, whereas CEO and co don’t want to make the system work. CEO etc are on the look out for anything they can distort so as to undermine confidence in the present system and hasten on the revolution, brother. Finance Watch draw widely from respectable organizations like consumer bodies for ther governance board, though it is a pity that they are also using a couple of individuals from the CEO/Spinwatch club on their oversight boards. One has has a record of using academic cover for political activities, and it is a problem because they have given him a transparency oversight role. For their work to continue to be taken seriously they have to disassociate themselves from the CEO/Spinwatch family.
    1. The Risk Monger says:Thanks David – this is interesting as we see that both CEO and Finance Watch received funding from the Adessium Foundation – see: http://www.adessium.org/informed-society/finance-watch/. €600,000 to CEO over the next three years (that translates into a lot of buzzed up rage!). I have to look more closely into this group.
  43. celia lamb says:It is noteworthy that this is the only site where there is some sort of response to the CEO. CEO has it that business is one unified class, effortlessly using countless resources to brush aside their opponents at will. The reality is that there is nothing of the sort – just the efforts of this lone ranger site – and that capital is totally incapable of acting together to respond to the sort of challenge that is CEO. That is because capital is very different, whereas opponents of business have a common cause – and as CEO show, can easily develop a wealthy outfit which brings in over half a million euros per year. Will the real fat cats step forward?
    1. The Risk Monger says:It can be frustrating Celia that nothing is being done to stop these immature individuals from spreading hate and falsehood. But our world is not a place where facts and good actions win over lies and manipulation and CEO is aware of how their techniques can fill a void. I spoke at a conference this week (actually, in the persona as the Risk-Monger) and an MEP on a panel after me acknowledged that most of her colleagues find it unacceptable that she engages and comes to industry events. Why is that so? People who work in industry and try to innovate, deliver services and improve the quality of our lives are in no way convicts, rapists or vial people. The invectives and rage levied at industry by CEO, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have reached such a tone, that policymakers feel ashamed showing their faces with the great unwashed of industry. So your question is apt – why doesn’t industry do something to stop their nonsense?
      I find their reaction quite normal. If you see a crazy person walking down the street, screaming and yelling and spitting on people, the normal reaction is to look away and hope he targets someone else. CEO knows that no one is going to stand up to them – scroll back about 55 messages ago in this chain – they expected me to cower and cut and run when they insulted me and called me a lobbyist. I did not and they realised their game didn’t work so they left me alone.
      But what if someone in industry took CEO to court for their lies, slander and misinformation? They would easily win, and then what? Years back (2003), I was sitting on the EU’s SCALE programme for children’s health and the Dutch consumer group attacked Sara Lee for the risks to children of their air fresheners. I was in the room when they launched their attack – completely bogus, unfounded and malicious but sales of air fresheners in the Netherlands had dropped by 40% in one month. Sara Lee took this group to court, easily won and forced them to apologise. They were, however, perceived as acting aggressively on an organisation that only was concerned with protecting and informing the public (I referred to it at the time as “shooting Bambi”). Who was saying this? Other people in the industry! It does not help industry to go after NGOs and CEO knows that. And CEO with then go to these foundations who are mostly in the dark and pretend that they are heroes fighting for democracy – I noticed long ago that they were using fascist tactics and realised that I had no affiliations, no risks of colleagues in an industry telling me to go back into my hole – that I could try to poke a few fingers into their self-conceit. Am I surprised that no one else is standing up to these charlatans? No, but a bit sad.
      Unlike CEO, I don’t need more money to create more rage and misperception. But I wish I had more time to shove their hypocrisy back into their faces.
  44. Theo Kilson says:If the Corporate Europe Observatory contains a Trotskyite element there will be a view that the use of violence is justified in order to achieve political ends. Let’s hear it here if otherwise.
  45. Theo Knudsen says:If CEO have followers of Leon Trotsky, can they take the opportunity here to assure us that they unconditionally refute the use of violence for political ends?
    1. The Risk Monger says:Sorry for the delay in approving your comment, Theo. I think violence to the truth or basic facts is as pertinent. For groups like CEO, Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth, it is all about winning, and very little about being of a service to humanity, and if lying or creating a deceitful context helps to win, then …
  46. Maggi Bharat says:If CEO have over half a million to spend each year they must have quite a few paid staff – do they recruit by open public advertisement?
    1. The Risk Monger says:They are presently recruiting Maggi so there is still time (I sadly don’t have the time to apply). See: http://corporateeurope.org/new-position-opening-researcher-and-campaigner-corporate-europe-observatory. One of their requirements is that you have to support the vision of CEO (expressed loosely, you have to hate industry and commerce with a passion and accept the contradictions such myopic views entail). In any other organisation, only considering candidates who believe in certain political doctrines would be considered discrimination – and I am sure if any company would put some conditions or restrictions on what you believe in order to be hired, CEO would do an exposé on them. Is there such a thing as “cute hypocrisy”?
  47. Leo van der Wijk says:If CEO are so keen on transparency then why do they need a secret access area of their website?
  48. Lavik Deutrum says:I found a secret forum where business leaders get together with the European Commission to work out the detail of health policy. Why don’t NGOs get a look in on the EU Health Policy Forum? Check out the membership list for yourself and see, athttp://ec.europa.eu/health/interest_groups/eu_health_forum/policy_forum/index_en.htm
    1. The Risk Monger says:Thanks Lavik. Most of the organisations on that list are members of the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and the Commission is bending over backwards to try to engage with these NGOs and patients groups (even paying them to participate). That they continue to complain when profit oriented groups also participate shows the shallowness of their positions.
  49. Lavik Deutrem says:The new neighbor in the same building as the Corporate Europe Observatory has a grant of €6,5 million from the EU, putting them among the elite of EU lobbying
    outfits

    1. The Risk Monger says:Thank you Lavik – FWE also used to be based in the Netherlands where CEO and other anarchist groups cut their teeth) – what is most frightening is that they have a huge budget and only four people registered in the office. They are basically an American activist group – very lawyer heavy – so we can expect the tradition of litigation to gum up policy to become the norm. Shameful, shocking, … exciting.
  50. http://ec.europa.eu/transparencyregister/public/consultation/displaylobbyist.do?id=42119616334-41
  51. Albert says:Totally agree that those groups just do other kind of lobby, but lobby never the less, which by itself is a very hypocritical position.It could also be very possible that Dalli’s support is coming from the Middle East considering his links and CEO just does the spinning.What’s your opinion on that ?
    1. The Risk Monger says:Thanks Albert for the contribution. CEO has attacked Dalli before, so I don’t think there is anything more than anarchist opportunism going on here (catching EU officials with their pants down regardless the situation). In another blog on CEO (Corporate Europe Create-a-Story) I questioned whether CEO’s attacks on Israel were anti-Semetic or just lip-service to their Middle Eastern paymasters. Since there is limited integrity and conviction in this organisation, I would assume the latter. Follow the money.
  52. All the manipulation and accusations are at the end helping Dalli to avoid going back to Malta and face “justice” there, just a political maneuver in which CEO is actively helping.
  53. I was following the Dalligate and it is obvious the support of CEO to John Dalli. Question is if they do it in favor of Dalli or just against everybody else, as a way to undermine the EU Commission or they are just serving other political interests.
  54. Imry says:CEO claim “there are an estimated 15-30000 lobbyists targeting EU decision makers in Brussels” (http://corporateeurope.org/publications/putting-brussels-lobbyists-map). So which is it – 15 or 30 thousand – and how were these estimates arrived at? Today there are 3407 lobbyists registered for access to the European Parliament (http://ec.europa.eu/transparencyregister/public/consultation/listaccreditations.do?reset=&locale=en#en) – can there really be 26593 lobbyists out there with no need to visit the Parliament?
    1. The Risk Monger says:Thanks Imry. Pretty soon they will round it up to 50,000 – facts don’t really matter if you want to make a point and you believe your cause is righteous. The largest lobbying group in Brussels belongs to the representation offices (the Member States) who lobby hard to ensure during each Council meeting and Summit that their government gets the best deal from Brussels. But CEO considers this a good thing (to take power from Brussels) so I suspect their numbers don’t include these offices (do I hear 100,000?)
  55. Igor says:Can anyone lay out the detail of CEO-Green Party links? Some Green members of the European Parliament have backgrounds in the same networks that CEO move in, and knowing more will help dispel the ‘poor old left out NGO’ public relations spin which CEO does, because the Green Party has grown in influence in the (now important) European Parliament.
    1. The Risk Monger says:Thanks Igor. ALTER-EU should be your first point of interest – it is interesting to see how a front group for Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and CEO is used cleverly to flank lobbyists who don’t use the Greens in the European Parliament for free conference space and legitimacy. It seems that all lobbying in the EP is unacceptable except that done by these groups with the support of Green MEPs. I am interested in the anarchist backgroundz of some of these members and the activists. That requires a lot of time to research which I sadly lack at the moment.
  56. Jens says:Trying to find the listing of ONG \ NGOs not on the Transparency Register in AlterEU reports – can anyone give me the link?
    1. The Risk Monger says:Trying not to smile here Jens, because it is a perfectly legitimate question (perhaps there is a list of NGOs that are asking for special funds from the Commission so they can fill out the registry). If I ask ALTER-EU, I am afraid they would bark at me for being, assumedly, an evil industry funded lobbyist. Perhaps you would have better luck.
  57. Frank says:David Miller is seeking someone to work with him and others on ‘understanding and explaining terrorism expertisehttps://www.bath.ac.uk/jobs/Vacancy.aspx?ref=CC1685
  58. Pingback: The Risk-Monger » Blog Archive » CEO and Stéphane Horel: Opaque Transparency
  59. Will says:Cyber-bullying has become a real concern in the UK after some recent tragedies involving victims. Sites like ‘Powerbase’ and ‘Spinwatch’ are designed with the specific intention to bully and intimidate individuals they select as their targets of hate; these sites enable ‘contributors’ to upload an entry under the cover of anonymity – all from the self same people who demand transparency from others (and who themselves use third party websites as cover to bully which they then cite as ‘evidence’ on Powerbase and Spinwatch that others share their poisonous outlook on a given individual).
    1. The Risk Monger says:Too true Will – I have seen these malignant cancers take personal attacks to new levels of malice – tearing individuals apart if some organisation or government were to recognise them for their achievements. And why? Because they worked for companies, or created something. They have decided that is a wrong thing and feel that their self-appointed policing is legitimate and tolerable. It is not and trying to ignore them is not a good idea.
  60. Joaquim says:Interesting to see the piece from Ann Glover (Chief Scientific Advisor to Barroso) in yesterday’s FT competitiveness supplement, where she talks about the benefits of participation from industry in expert advisory groups etc of the European Commission because it helps with the process of knowledge transfer from science into the wealth creation process via industrial R&D. Industry can advise – as can NGOs – and the Commission decides. It’s good that decision makers get a lot of advice from people who know, but a problem that CEO tries to create a poison climate of ‘industry on expert groups = corrupt influence.’ Let’s get real here – we have to turn science into ways of benefiting humanity. Could well be that Ann Glover had the CEO family in mind when she felt the need to redress the balance. Come on CEO, let’s see a sense of proportion in what you do rather than obsessive antagonism.
    1. The Risk Monger says:It is a great piece by Ann Glover and true to the EU strategy outlined in the White Paper on Governance which called for more stakeholder engagement and dialogue. When the EC drafts legislation, they (usually generalists) need to consult as wide a selection of experts as possible – otherwise, the result is bad legislation like the EMF Directive (never implemented in part because they failed to consult hospitals). Coming from this White Paper was the practice of paying civil society to be available for consultations, but they seem to be using these funds for other activities (eg, Friends of the Earth are running ads against Business Europe on EurActiv!). Consultation with all parties is necessary, and not just with those we agree with – CEO has yet to understand this (note their lame letter in reply to Dr Glover today).
    2. October 18, 2013 at 23:29
  61. Pingback: The Risk-Monger » Blog Archive » It’s about Innovation – Deal with it! An open letter to Corporate Europe Observatory

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