Sock puppets: How the European Union spends your money
- Citizens have not been consulted directly, however. Instead they have been ventriloquised through ‘sock puppet’ charities, think tanks and other ‘civil society’ groups which have been hand-picked and financed by the European Commission (EC). These organisations typically lobby for closer European integration, bigger EU budgets and more EU regulation.
- The composition of ‘civil society’ at the EU level is largely dictated by which groups the Commission chooses to fund. There has been a bias towards centre-left organisations, with a particular emphasis on those promoting policies that are unpopular with the public, such as increasing foreign aid, restricting lifestyle freedoms and further centralising power within EU institutions.
Now maybe you support those policies and maybe you don’t. But the problem is the way the money rolls around. The EU decides that, hmm, maybe it would be good if a citizen’s group called for more European integration? At which point they find a group to say there should be more European integration. So, then the EU can turn around and say, well, here’s this civil group calling for more European integration: therefore we must have more European integration!
All of which is fine when you approve of the policies being undertaken. But what if you don’t? Say, for example, that you think that biofuels actually are bad for the environment? As most environmental groups now think they are in fact. The problem being that EU law insists that we must have biofuels: largely because, a decade ago, those environmental organisations that the EU pays called on the EU to bring in laws insisting that we have biofuels.
For example, Friends of the Earth Europe gets over 45% of its money from the EU. And it used to back biofuels very vocally, was instrumental in getting the law through. FoE itself is currently less happy with the idea of biofuels. Oooops! What can you do when so many salaries depend upon pleasing the bureaucrats?