Don’t you also ask yourself what makes it so difficult to forego EU sponsorship?
Why can’t the EU member states simply finance their Council Presidency, i.e. government activity, themselves?
Apparently, they can.
Germany proved this last year and, following criticism from food watch, has not been sponsored by any company.
Yet Portugal appears to see sponsorship as an opportunity to promote Portuguese brands to a wider and influential audience.
In this case, it is Sumol + Compal, a beverage company that sells sugar giants such as PepsiCo and Lipton or the chip brand Lays.
The other company is Navigator Paper, a paper products company that environmental organizations have linked to monoculture plantations and forest fires in Portugal and land grabbing in Mozambique.
And all of this while the member states in the Council of the European Union decide on important future issues for our continent – from climate protection to agriculture and health policy.
According to the Portuguese Foreign Minister, these sponsorship contracts would not lead to any influence on the relevant policy.
We think: It should never be the case – and also not be given the impression – that a company has an influence on the political agenda of the EU!
If one of the most important political institutions in Europe is sponsored by companies, that is simply unacceptable.
Unfortunately, the sponsorship of the Portuguese EU Council Presidency is not an isolated case, because in 2019 Coca-Cola financed the Romanian Council Presidency as an official partner.
The sponsorship of Coca-Cola was problematic not least because in Europe at that time there was intense discussion about a food traffic light and a special tax for the manufacturers of high-sugar beverages – regulations that Coca-Cola has been fighting against with massive lobbying for years.
Please help us to prevent this and to show the Portuguese government that EU sponsorship damages the credibility of the EU and must therefore finally be stopped!
Information: What is the problem?
Every six months, on January 1st and July 1st of each year, another EU member state takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union, in short, the EU Council Presidency. This is an important role: the Council Presidency decides which draft bills the Council will examine as a matter of priority and makes proposals, and it also represents all other member states in negotiations with EU institutions.
Almost every Council Presidency in recent times (with the most recent exception of the German government, July – December 2020) has accepted sponsorship from national or multinational companies, be it in the form of contributions in kind or in the form of cash payments.
Benefits in kind include, for example, the provision of food for meetings or events or vehicles for the transport of ministers and civil servants to meetings.
Some presidencies have offered companies platinum or gold levels of sponsorship (Government of Romania, January-June 2019). Due to a lack of transparency, we don’t know what the benefits are.
Other presidencies have proactively solicited sponsorships in exchange for “priceless attention, prestige and increased brand awareness for their services and products” (Government of Malta, January-June 2017).
For the Croatian Council Presidency (January – June 2020), INA, an oil company, and the automobile manufacturers Peugeot and Citroën took over the sponsorship.
For the Finnish Presidency (July – December 2019) it was BMW; and for the Romanian presidency (January – June 2019) Coca-Cola, Mercedes and the oil company OMV Petrom were sponsors.
The Austrian Presidency (July – December 2018) was sponsored by Microsoft and Porsche, among others, the Bulgarian Presidency (January – June 2018) even accepted 50 private sponsors.
In fact, this practice dates back to at least 2004.
Some of these corporations are important EU lobbyists and spend millions of euros annually to influence EU politics.
It is not difficult to see why these corporations want to ingratiate themselves with the Council Presidency, the ministers, and officials of the member states, even if the kind of benefits they receive remain hidden from the public.
Please be sure to sign the petition.
It’s in German, but every citizen from every nation can vote.
First name, last name, zip code, country, email, done!
My best regards to all, Venus