For two years, the Christian Democrats and their European partner groups have fought against binding rules on lobby transparency in the European Parliament. In 25 amendments, they have tried in plenary to weaken my report on “Transparency, Integrity and Accountability in the EU Institutions”. In other amendments they have tried to implement new rules for NGOs and their financing. All other political groups in the European Parliament have rejected these amendments. These attempts are mendacious. This can be seen in the content and method.
My report calls for more transparency for all stakeholders. They apply to the business, trade unions and, of course, to NGOs. I myself have long argued for transparency in non-governmental organizations. On my proposal, the report calls for disclosing the financing of all kinds of lobby organizations exceeding 3,000 euro. This also affects NGOs and associations. Whoever wants to exert political influence in a democracy must act transparently. In addition, the EU Commission’s cooling of periods are also applicable for changing sides to NGOs. All this also applies to all other proposals in my report. There can be no two standards.
On the contrary, the amendments of the Christian Democrats (EPP) and Markus Pieper (CDU) are one-sided. They call for special transparency rules for non-governmental organizations. They practice unilateral criticism of NGOs. The Christian Democrats want to cut off funding for organizations which fail to pass a state examination on political convictions. A government agency should evaluate whether the organizations argue on the basis of verifiable facts or spread untruths. State tests of truth fit into Russia, Cuba or Venezuela – but not to the freedom of speech in Europe. This is unworthy of democracy in Europe.
My report has been delayed for more than a year by Christian Democrats, Liberals, but also Social Democrats. During the two years of deliberations, the Christian Democrats have never called for stricter transparency rules for non-governmental organizations. Markus Pieper never contacted me as rapporteur. Instead, he submitted very similar proposals to the budget control committee. There, a cross-party agreement was reached that the proposals would be thoroughly discussed. Against this agreement, the EPP now made the requests to the plenary level without any discussion with me as a rapporteur or the shadow rapporteurs, knowing that they are lacking support by all parties. It was, therefore, obviously a strategy to distract from the resistance of the Christian Democrats against strong and binding rules of transparency, integrity, and accountability. I am always ready to discuss how to increase transparency for all who exert political influence. The amendments of the Christian Democrats are a smokescreen for PR purposes.
The text of the EPP’s central amendment can be read here and speaks for itself (highlighting by Sven Giegold):
“44 a. Calls for the EU public procurement directives to be amended for political active organisations in such a way that organisations are eligible for funding only if they argue by means of verifiable facts; calls for recipients, before they receive funding, to give a corresponding undertaking and for the Commission and Court of Auditors to conduct appropriate random checks; rejects any funding of organisations which demonstrably disseminate untruths and/or whose objectives are contrary to the fundamental values and/or policy objectives of the European Union;”