At the end of May the whole of Europe will be going to the ballot box for the 2014 European Parliament elections. But when the votes are counted and members-to-be (MEPs) take their place, who are they going to represent – people or profit? The Bankwatch supported campaign Politics for people asks them to take a pledge against the latter.
Today, the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU), AK EUROPA (Brussels office of the Austrian Chamber of Labour) & ÖGB Europabüro (Brussels office of the Austrian Trade Union Federation), together with a broad coalition of civil society organisations from across Europe, are launching their campaign to urge candidates for the upcoming European elections to “stand-up for citizens and democracy against the excessive lobbying influence of banks and big business”.
Bankwatch has been monitoring and campaigning against the ill-conceived EBRD- and EIB-financed Unit 6 at Šoštanj in Slovenia for several years now. Yet the project never ceases to amaze with its myriad flaws and scandals – and the first few months of 2014 have been no exception.
At the peak of EU funds’ programming, experiences from CEE countries reveal deficiencies in the application of the Code of Conduct and a flawed implementation of the partnership principle. This undermines the credibility of the programming process and leaves benefits of a comprehensive involvement of all stakeholders untapped. The sometimes even entertaining list of partnership shortcomings brings us to the conclusion that a purely voluntary partnership without common standards much too often continues to end up being a purely formal exercise, and that the promotion of best practices alone is not sufficient to ensure quality partnership.
Civil society organisations have noticed that a number of basic partnership principles are not met by member states during the ongoing programming of Cohesion Policy for the 2014-2020 period. (Read more in this briefing).
The Partnership Agreement (the main strategic document underpinning the new Cohesion Policy) is the place to state not only intentions but commitments, yet the latter are missing in Slovakia's EU funds blueprint for now.
The Czech Republic's long-standing difficulties in realising major waste incinerator schemes via EU funds investments have taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks as the European Commission has poured cold water on the country's incineration plans, both as they apply to the 2007-2013 EU funding period and to the forthcoming 2014-2020 period now entering the final stages of negotiations.