The lobbying circuit

| June 6, 2018

A report released today by Forest EU is said to shine a light on the network of anti-tobacco lobby groups in Brussels and how the European Commission funds them with taxpayer’s money to achieve the Commission’s own policy goals.

Forest EU describes itself, in part, as ‘a campaign that informs smokers about the issues that affect them in the European Union’.

“The report identifies at least 24 different organisations operating in Brussels pushing for more pervasive anti-tobacco policies,” said Guillaume Périgois, director of Forest EU. “These organizations are staffed with 94 lobbyists and have a self-declared lobbying budget of between €5 and €6 million as per the EU Transparency Register. Far from David vs Goliath, it’s Goliath vs Goliath.

“The report also sets out how in 2016 €6 million of EU taxpayer’s money was channelled to these organizations by the European Commission to lobby in favour of policies which the Commission has put forward. For us, such funding amounts to government lobbying government and does not promote transparent policy making.”

Meanwhile, Michael Jäger, secretary general of the Taxpayers Association of Europe (TAE), said that it wasn’t necessary to like smoking to see there was a problem with the Commission giving taxpayers’ money to NGOs who then use that money to lobby the Commission.

“With the EU budget under increasing pressure it doesn’t make sense for the Commission to spend public money like this,” he said.

The report makes several recommendations including one that would see a clause included in all new and renewed Framework Partnership Agreements and grant agreements that would limit the ability of fund recipients to use the funds received for lobbying activities, while encouraging the delivery of concrete health outcomes.

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Category: Breaking News, People, Regulation

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