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Parliamentary questions
25 March 2013
E-003330-13
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Oreste Rossi (EFD)

 Subject:  Lack of transparency in EU funding process of NGOs active in Arab-Israeli conflict — limited access to the related documentation
 Answer(s) 

The lack of transparency in processes which provide significant funding for non-governmental organisations involved in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict is an issue that raises serious problems. Every year the Commission makes its financial contribution to these NGOs as it strives to achieve equal individual and collective rights. However, in the past when the NGOs asked for detailed materials documenting all activities specifically related to Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, it received only incomplete, badly written material from which important information available elsewhere was missing. The Commission maintained that the need for secrecy concerning the content of the documents and the consequent lack of detailed data arose from reasons of public safety, privacy and commercial interests and from the need not to make the Israel-Palestine relationship even more difficult. The matter has been taken to the European Court of Justice, but there has been no ruling yet.

Taking into account that:
documents on NGO funding are widely available through newspapers and Internet articles, but continue to be kept secret or are not fully updated because of public safety concerns;
by contrast, documents pertaining to grants for countries such as Angola, Somalia or Sri Lanka are easily accessible;
the research undertaken draws attention to the involvement of some NGOs which are recipients of Commission funding in anti-Israel boycotts and pro-war campaigns;
there is no certainty that aid granted to these NGOs in the future will not have the effect of supporting or encouraging violence that runs counter to the European values of democracy, freedom and tolerance;
can the Commission state:
1. what criteria are used to justify the differences in access to openness and transparency as regards documents relating to EU funding programs in the cases of the countries mentioned above;
2. on what grounds it decides that certain materials are ‘sensitive’;
3. whether it believes it needs to ensure that the information related to the evaluation phase of the funding process have already been made public?
 OJ C 12 E, 16/01/2014
Dernière mise à jour: 10 avril 2013Avis juridique