Increase in state-funding for the European Commission’s favoured ‘civil society’ organizations
Of the civil society groups that were members of the European Year of Citizen Alliance in 2013, more than 70 per cent rely on EU funding for most of their income.
The EU continues to be the major benefactor of a range of partisan political pressure groups and pro-EU think tanks, including Friends of Europe (€1,085,907, 39 per cent of income) and the Socialist Educational International (€102,233, 42 per cent of income).
- The European Movement is heavily funded by the European Commission (over half its budget in 2016), as is European Alternatives (€300,000 of its €500,000 budget).
- Both taxpayer-funded groups actively oppose Brexit and supported the October 2018 People’s Vote march calling for a second referendum.
Most of the big ‘green’ NGOs have seen their EU funding increase since 2011 and a multitude of like-minded groups receive grants from a €20 million EU programme.
Commenting on the report, author Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs said:
“Despite ‘austerity’, millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money continue to be used to fund political lobby groups. The problem is endemic at the EU level, and the devolved governments of Scotland and Wales are not far behind.
“Even local authorities, which have seen the biggest squeeze in their budgets, are effectively paying people to lobby the government for higher taxes and more regulation. These organisations have the right to be heard, but there is no justification for the government giving them a slush fund to amplify their voice.”
Notes to editors:
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To download the IEA’s paper “Still Hand in Glove? A re-examination of state-funded activism” click here.
Author Christopher Snowdon is Head of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs.
The IEA has published several reports, also written by Christopher Snowdon, on state-funded activism, including “Sock Puppets: How the government lobbies itself, and why” (2012), “Euro Puppets: The European Commission’s remaking of civil society” (2013), and “The Sock Doctrine” (2014).
The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems and seeks to provide analysis in order to improve the public understanding of economics.
The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.