The European Commission’s funding for fake “civil society”: new documents

stack of official documentsNew documents have emerged that evidence that the European Commission is not only funding the greater part of the “gay rights” lobby network ILGA Europe, but that through this funding activity it is also informed of, and effectively controls, nearly every minute detail of ILGA’s activity.

These documents are made available here in two batches, one relating to ILGA’s budget planning for 2013, and the other to 2012.

Parts of the documents have been blackened to protect sensitive personal data. This applies in particular to the salaries paid by ILGA to its staff. However, the available data allows the conclusion that the average monthly expenditure for ILGA staff in 2013 was around 6.500,– Euro (for the Executive officer it will be higher, for junior staff lower). These are salaries average citizens can only dream of.

Given the amount of EU funding, and the fact that in order to obtain it ILGA is according every minute detail of its financial planning with the Commission, this self-described “non-governmental” organization actually appears to be something like an outsourced Commission service, – outsourced probably in order to create a false imagery of “civil society” and to conceal the Commission’s direct influence over the organization.

Indeed, rather than being a non-governmental organization, ILGA Europe appears to correspond to the definition of a “body governed by public law” in Article 2 (4) of Directive 2014/24/EU, which would mean that it is subject to the EU’s public procurement rules. That definition is as follows:

‘Bodies governed by public law’ means bodies that have all of the following characteristics:

(a) they are established for the specific purpose of meeting needs in the general interest, not having an industrial or commercial character; [both ILGA and the Commission would claim this to be the case, wouldn’t they?]

(b) they have legal personality [this clearly is the case for ILGA]; and

(c) they are financed, for the most part, by the State, regional or local authorities, or by other bodies governed by public law; or are subject to management supervision by those authorities or bodies; or have an administrative, managerial or supervisory board, more than half of whose members are appointed by the State, regional or local authorities, or by other bodies governed by public law. [It is sufficient to fulfil only one of the criteria in this sub-paragraph. In ILGA’s case the fact that it is for the most part financed by the Commission means that the first condition is fulfilled]

It is no wonder then that the Commission entertains an especially close relationship with ILGA Europe. In this context, it is highly significant that the Commission has so far not granted a meeting to the 100 NGOs that have co-signed a joint open letter to request clarifications on its controversial draft for a so-called “Anti-Discrimination Directive“. Instead, it has held a meeting with ILGA and 8 likeminded NGOs, called the “Fundamental Rights Round-Table”. Rather with real civil society, the Commission converses only with its own sock-puppets.

At a time when (real) citizens are increasingly frustrated and angered about the European project, such a situation is no longer tenable. The Commission should either cease financing organizations like ILGA Europe (which, given the EU’s current budgetary constraints, might be the most convenient solution), or it should provide equal funding to NGOs representing competing points of view (i.e., in this case, to NGOs that defend the idea of marriage referring only a union between a man and a woman, and that base their understanding of “family” on this notion of marriage).

As mentioned, ILGA Europe is not the only “non-governmental” organisation receiving such lavish Commission funding. Other organizations with similar good access to the EU budget are the European Women’s Lobby and the European Youth Forum, both of which promote a similarly radical social policy agenda that seeks to undermine the traditional understanding of the family. Others are still in the waiting queue: for example, ILGA’s recent letter to Vice-President Frans Timmermans was co-signed by a new group called ENORB, i.e. “European Network on Religion and Belief”, but which appears not to include any of Europe’s main churches or faith communities. One has reason to wonder how representative for religious believers this new network really is…

AGENDA EUROPE will continue collecting documents that shed light on the European Commission’s rather strange way of mainstreaming, and conversing with, so-called “civil society”.