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NGO Monitor in Brussels: Highlights

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NGO Monitor in Brussels: Highlights 

From: www.ngo-monitor.org, Feb. 20, 2014

This week, Prof. Gerald Steinberg participated in a series of high-level meetings with European and Belgian officials in Brussels.

 During an EU Parliamentary session on Monday, under the auspices of the EU Delegation for Relations with Israel, NGO Monitor launched a new report on EU funding for political advocacy NGOs in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The report discusses the EU’s highly disproportionate funding for political advocacy NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).

 Prof. Steinberg presented the findings, noting, “NGO Monitor’s research documents major failures in EU policy and process. Taxpayer money is being channeled to organizations and activities that fuel the conflict, in violation of democratic principles.”

 Following Prof Steinberg’s presentation, Leonello Gabrici, a senior official from the European Union External Action Service (EEAS), stressed that EU funding is not designed to be political. He emphasized that NGOs are required to fit criteria specified by EU funding frameworks, and therefore “if something goes wrong it can be spotted and if money is misused it can be stopped.”

 However, many MEPs expressed dissatisfaction with Gabrici’s response, vowing to push for a comprehensive answer from the commission.

 British MEP Sarah Ludford, told the Jerusalem Post that the NGO Monitor report “raises serious concerns which the European Commission needs to answer in a very detailed, open and forensic manner, which it has not so far done in answering MEPs in the last few years. …to have EU money supporting the BDS agenda is shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Prof. Steinberg also met privately with several MEPs who expressed concern over the issue. Following the visit, Prof. Steinberg noted, “We see a growing recognition in Brussels and among people of EU member states for the need to change the way NGOs are funded and evaluated. EU policies on Israel and peace are too important and sensitive to be left to NGO influence.” The meetings and reports were also featured in European and Israeli media articles (see below), and provide the foundation for major policy changes regarding NGO funding by the EU and the Belgian government.

Read the full report on the EU’s funding initiative, EIDHR: Evaluating the Funding for Political Advocacy NGOs in the Arab-Israeli Conflict: The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR)

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