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 Full text 
Tuesday, 22 October 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Discharge 2017: EU general budget - European Council and Council (debate)

  Lara Wolters, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, I welcome this report and especially its critical stance on the private sponsorships of the rotating Presidency of the Council. To sketch out the problem for you, Romania was sponsored by Coca Cola at a time when the Council was negotiating rules on foodstuff labelling. Finland accepted 100 BMW vehicles while it was reviewing emission norms for cars. The incoming Croatian Presidency has published a paper on how private companies can seize the business opportunities that come with their Presidency.

Corporate sponsorships, in my opinion, discredit the EU. What is at stake here is not only conflicts of interest and transparency, but also trust. In the last European elections, more young people than ever cast their vote. They show trust in the European project and we should be cherishing that trust. These sponsorships undermine the trust that we were given and they show the EU at its worst. The EU, not for the many, but for the few, namely a few corporate sponsors. Instead of this, what we need is an EU that puts the public good first and curbs the power of vested interests.

So two weeks ago, I stood here and I asked the Council Presidency this very same question: what are you going to do about private sponsorships? The Finnish Presidency then dodged the question and said, well, this is a matter for the Member States. But the last time I checked, Finland was a Member State and the Council was made up of Member States. So I will ask you again, will you choose to be a force that undermines EU citizens’ trust, or will you tackle these private sponsorships and work with the European Parliament to reinforce trust in the EU?

Last updated: 27 January 2020Legal notice