Saturday, 9 March 2013

Euro Puppets

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has just published a new study titled Euro Puppets: The European Commission's Remaking of Civil Society. In the report, "Christopher Snowdon shows the extent to which taxpayers’ money is channelled towards organisations which campaign for EU institutions to be given more money and power". Key findings are as follows:

  • The European Commission (EC) is spending millions of euros funding ‘civil society’ groups, seen as a way of initiating dialogue with the public and bolstering the EU’s democratic legitimacy. In fact, these groups are cheerleaders for the EC’s policy of greater political and economic integration. The EC’s policy of picking allies and supporting them with taxpayer money has made the system more elitist and less democratic.
  • Rather than directly consulting with citizens, the EC ventriloquises them through ‘sock puppet’ charities, think tanks and other ‘civil society’ groups hand-picked and financed by the Commission. There is a bias toward centre-left organisations, particularly those promoting unpopular policies such as increasing foreign aid, restricting lifestyle freedoms, a larger EU budget and further centralising power within EU institutions.
  • These supposedly ‘grassroots’ organisations would struggle to exist without statutory funding giving them little right to represent the public. For example, Women in Europe for a Common Future received €1,219,213 from the EU and €135,247 from national governments equating to 93% of its total income.
  • There is virtually no funding for organisations which question EC policies. By contrast, the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme has a 2014-20 budget of €229 million. Funding in non-member states is also prioritised such as the Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility which recently received a budget of €45.3 million, much of which funds EU advocacy.

Not surprising tactics from the empire-building EU and euro bureaucrats. Read the full report here.

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