I participated today (27 June 2017) in the European Parliament hearing on NGO funding. I demonstrated how groups like Friends of the Earth Europe are able to take advantage of the lack of scrutiny within the European Commission and go around from one DG to another, harvesting funds that they then non-transparently spread among their activist friends. I agreed with the conclusions of MEP Markus Pieper and presented my own recommendations.
As the presentation screen was quite small, I understand it was difficult for many people to see the numbers on the slides of my Friends of the Earth Europe case study.
Please find below the slides for today’s presentation in the European Parliament: NGO funding Europarl 27.06 Zaruk.
See the link to the original source blog on the crisis of EU funding of NGOs.
As the discussion was animated but with insufficient time, let me reiterate my key point: I am not against public funding for NGOs that merit support and add value to European dialogue. But I support the Pieper Report recommendations requiring proper scrutiny on how the funds are used. My mouth dropped wide open when the woman from DG Devco said “Scrutiny is not DG Devco’s business”. This was corrected by the gentleman from the Commission’s auditing service.
Let me illustrate what scrutiny is about (as taken from a conversation I had with a journalist after the event). The European Commission DGs are like a big family. If a child asks for money from one parent, and then turns around and asks for more money from the other parent, and maybe an uncle, shouldn’t the parents discuss this together and make sure the child is not taking advantage of the system? Friends of the Earth Europe is indeed one of those children who have found a means to exploit their (Sugar) Daddy. And if that child continues to behave badly, shouldn’t the parents reconsider their reward system?
The Pieper Report recommends that the European Commission scrutinise the funds the public has entrusted it with to avoid abuses like the one I had demonstrated. As I argued today: this is reasonable and will improve trust in the EU policy process. That certain Green MEPs are protesting that basic right of the European public to responsibly manage their money implies they are happy raising spoiled little brats! Pity among the 80 participants, the Greens did not come forward to engage me in dialogue.
The Greens have promised to fight to block MEP Pieper’s recommendations. I promise to fight to block their hypocrisy.
Image source: NGO Monitor