In November 2012, the European Court of Justice ruled on an NGO Monitor petition concerning the EU’s lack of transparency in its NGO funding practices. The court found that the EU did not provide the documents requested by NGO Monitor in a timely fashion, and that this “must be regarded as an implicit decision to refuse access.” However, the ruling also upheld the denial of access, essentially permitting the EU to hide its funding decision-making from the public.

For the past decade, NGO Monitor has systematically tracked this funding. Our aim is to afford European taxpayers, officials, Israelis, and Palestinians to independently evaluate the impact and efficacy of this funding. As part of that process, in 2008, NGO Monitor submitted a detailed request to the EU, asking for documents related to NGO funding. After a delay of more than six months, the EU provided NGO Monitor with documents that were heavily redacted and whited out, covering up relevant information under the purported rationale of national security and proprietary interests.

Under the procedure mandated by the EU’s Freedom of Information guidelines, NGO Monitor, represented by Asserson Law Offices, next turned to the European Court of Justice. Our petition noted that the EU was blocking independent evaluation of its NGO funding decisions and preventing the public from knowing whether its practices are consistent with due process of law.

In its response to the court, the European Commission acknowledged that officials had censored the salient details, including “the conclusions of the monitoring” and “the conclusions of the audit[s],” as well as “additional remarks” made by evaluators. However, the court upheld the denial of access, issuing its decision without taking evidence or conducting hearings on NGO Monitor’s petition nor providing NGO Monitor an opportunity to appear before the court.

Click here to view examples of the redacted documents received from the European Union.
To view data on European funding of Israeli NGOs, click here.

Media Impact

Op-eds by NGO Monitor Staff

Op-eds in Support of NGO Monitor

Articles on ECJ Ruling

Articles and Op-eds Against NGO Monitor