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
7 Comments Add yours
Reblogged this on Peddling and Scaling God and Darwin and commented:
Doesn’t look too good for Friends of the Earth. Wait a minute , weren’t they in trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority over fracking early this year? https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/how-fiendish-is-friends-of-the-earth/
I am glad they are being challenged at long last.
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your talent is not doubtful and your are defending your industry sponsort very well, I have to say. Of course, if we follow you, Lobbyism is a NGO Story, the devils and corrupted.guys… Yes we all know lobbyism is not a industry story,, yes we all know 🙂
Thank you for your comment. Just one question: Who sponsors me?
Just because I support science and technology doesn’t mean a) I do it for money or b) that industry is paying me. Often I criticise them as well. Last month I attacked Cargill!
I will read the article about Cargill.
But you agree that more or less all your editing activity is going in the industry direction?
I don’t want so day you are paid from the industry, you know better about it of course. But your connections must be anyway strong.
In my case, I was a academic scientist in France and Germany (1994-2004). I am retired from Investigation and now getting my money from a electronics supplier. I am preparing a talk about endocrine disruptors, and try the analyze the situation in the most neutral way. Difficult task but easier when you have no connections with any sides.
Some of your aguments make sense of course, the direct causality between edcs and human diseases is at the time nearly impossible to prove, a fact that is largely used from the industry side. Too many chemicals are in our body and isolate a factor is very difficult.
On the other way, in my opinion, your are discrediting your blog with the systematic painting of academic Researchers as “activists”. You would better serve the industry side with a smoother form, but this is only my opinion….
Thanks for your comments – I generally take offence to those who put ideology before facts so, more often than not, I come down harder on activist campaigners. Double-standards tend to be overlooked when people want to believe something – this also applies to lapses in consistent regulations on cars, mobile phones and meat (I have written blogs criticising all of these industries as well). At the moment my focus is indeed on the organic food industry lobby and their unethical marketing and double standards.
For my negative portrayal of academics, first of all, I am an academic. Three years ago I coined the term: Activist Science (http://risk-monger.blogactiv.eu/2014/11/26/who-is-a-scientist-discerning-activist-science-from-credible-science/) to separate proper scientific method (gather evidence then draw conclusions) from activist-driven science (take a conclusion, then search for evidence). Policy-makers need to be aware that not all motivations are necessarily scientific and there are different shades of white. I am not against all academics and I am aware of the risks to everyone, including myself, of confirmation bias … hence the need to try to bring dialogue back into our discussions.
Hello David, thank you for the answer. Enjoying anyway to discuss with you. The term “activist science” is a bit strange to me, but we can debate about it later. Best regards,