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Brussels, Belgium: Detail of the facade of the European Parliament 'Paul Henri-Spaak' building. Photo credit; Guillaume Perigois

The EU ignores neutrality, provides funding to undermine political foes

Countries in the EU are theoretically bound to the neutrality obligation in its use of tax revenues: The taxpayer's money must not be used for political purposes. But just as the German government wants to spend 1 billion euros in the next four years on the so-called “fight against the right”, the EU is funding a network of “civil society” NGOs that represent clearly left-wing politics, actively combatting conservative politicians and their parties – Matteo Salvini and Viktor Orban are but two examples.

Published: January 23, 2021, 9:39 am

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    “In view of the current economic plight of many citizens in Germany and the EU, every taxpayer must be appalled that the EU is spending all our money on so-called ‘civil society’ NGOs that promote illegal migration and ‘no borders’ and undermine conservative EU governments want,” said the rapporteur for the budget of the Commission for the year 2019 Joachim Kuhs from the Identity and Democracy Group in the European Parliament. “This is infidelity and must be stopped immediately.”

    The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), the pioneer of these “civil society” NGOs in Europe, received €29 930 from the EU in 2019 for a project on “European sovereignty”. ECFR is one of the most important lobbyists in Brussels and has a great influence on EU politics. So the EU pays ECFR to lobby the EU.

    At the same time, however, the EU intervenes in the “sovereignty” of member states such as Hungary and Poland through NGOs such as the ECFR. In order to create transparency about the influence of foreign NGOs in Hungary, the Hungarian parliament passed a law based on the Israeli model in 2017, according to which NGOs have to disclose their funding. This transparency law was found to be “discriminatory” in 2020 by the European Court of Justice . The Hungarian government wants however to continue to insist on transparency in the financing of NGOs.

    The command center of the left-wing human rights organizations in Hungary is the “Hungarian Civil Liberties Union” (HCLU), which in 2019 received €17 847 from the EU for “voter motivation campaigns” according to the EU financial transparency portal. The HCLU received $50 000 from the Open Society Foundation in 2018 and $365 500 in 2016.

    The HCLU, along with other NGOs, belongs to the “Civil Liberties Union for Europe” (LibertiesEU) based in Berlin, which was funded by the Open Society in 2017 to the tune of $2 550 000. According to the Jerusalem Post on March 15, 2018, the head of LibertiesEU Balázs Dénes boasted:

    “We are very strong. This week I am meeting with a think tank, a lobby group that has influence on the German government and the German Foreign Ministry, and I bring them copies of the law (the NGO Transparency Act) that have been translated from Hungarian and will explain to them what they can do against it.”

    The members of LibertiesEU also enjoyed generous funding from the EU in 2019: the Civil Rights Defenders (Sweden) received €81 363, Center for Peace Studies (Croatia) €267 392, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Finland) €38 118, Nederlands Juristen Comite voor de Mensenrechte €96 617, Irish Council for Civil Liberties €56 928, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) €38 118, Estonian Human Rights Center €129 691, Lithuanian Center for Human Rights €157 493, and the Mirovni Institute Slovenia €281 797.

    From Italy, the NGOs Associazione Antigone received €172 832 and Coalizione Italiana per le Liberta e Diritii e Civili  (CILD) €88 379. The Italian Coalition for Freedom and Human Rights CILD, founded in 2014, is a large network of NGOs that campaign for illegal immigration and complain against the Italian government when it tries to protect its borders.

    These include the Lawfare NGOs Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione (ASGI) and A Buon Diritto, which, among other things, took legal action before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) tried to deprive Italy of the right to reject illegal immigrants at the border. Since then, border protection has been referred to in the mainstream press in Europe as “illegal pushbacks”, even though the protection of external borders is part and prerequisite of the Schengen Agreement.

    The European Center for Law & Justice (ECLJ) documented in February 2020 that 22 of the 100 judges at the ECHR were former employees of Open Society NGOs. The CILD network also includes the left-wing community network Associazione Ricreativa e Culturale Italiana (ARCI), which is  currently trying to bring the former Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini to trial for alleged “deprivation of liberty”. ARCI and its sub-organizations received €967 298 from the EU in 2019.

    The Italian NGO network, which is suing Italy and Salvini for wanting to impose their “No Borders” policy, is also funded by the Open Society: ASGI received in 2018  according to their website  $385 715, CILD received $2 016 575 000 and ARCI received large amounts from 2016 to 2018 from Open Society.

    In 2019, at least €25 243 412 went to NGOs that were directly linked to the Open Society Foundation. These so-called “human rights groups” finance projects to “mobilize voters” against unwelcome conservative governments, against “propaganda and hate speech in the Balkans” or for “no borders” lawfare and the rights of illegal migrants.

    “I am not aware of the EU financing conservative or pro-Israel human rights groups, for example against anti-fascist terror and violence against conservative politicians and parties, against state censorship on the Internet and the suppression of alternative media, for politically persecuted critics of Islam, for border protection and against illegal migration, or against Islamization and Islamist violence against women, gays, Christians and Jews,” said Joachim Kuhs. “The EU has to behave politically neutral, and not to abuse the tax millions of the citizens for left-wing NGOs.”

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