EC celebrates (limited) transparency on NGO funding
Following NGO Monitor´s extensive reporting on EU NGO funding, on its website and in a YouTube video, the European Commission has announced that in 2008 “EU funding [became] more transparent” through the launch of the Financial Transparency System (FTS). This database, which the EC claims to provide “clear information on the use of EU funds,” only accounts for the approximately 20% of the EU budget that is “managed by the Commission at a central level.” By the EC´s own admission, “[t]he vast majority of EU funds (almost 80%) are handled by the national administrations and the responsibility to publish the names of beneficiaries rests with them.” Programs that finance politicized NGOs in Israel and the PA, including Partnerships for Peace (PfP – see NGO Monitor´s detailed report) and the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR — which funds Adalah, Mossawa, PCATI, and others — see NGO Monitor´s monograph Europe´s Hidden Hand) are apparently not covered by the FTS database.
The FTS lists 89 grants to Israel and 23 to the “Occupied Territories – Palestine.” However, the system fails to provide any information about the titles, objectives, duration, and other specifics of the projects. Some of these details appear in a separate database for external aid, but the centralized FTS database does not identify which grants overlap between the two. Thus, while marking an improvement in transparency for NGO funding, the EC still has a long way to go to match its actions with its rhetoric.