NGOs denounce the “sponsorship” practices of the future French presidency of the EU

The French presidency of the European Union, which will take place during the first half of 2022, will use corporate sponsorship to transport delegations from member countries and thus offset its carbon footprint, a practice of sponsoring contested by NGOs.

“I wish it could show French vehicles, clean,” said Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, on the night of October 13 to 14 during a hearing in the Senate. “We are asking French manufacturers – it will be perfectly transparent – to lend or rent French vehicles to transport the delegations that we will welcome,” he added.

“We are also considering the possibility, as was done for the G7 (in Biarritz in 2019) in a transparent manner, of full carbon compensation for emissions linked to the presidency by calling on French energy companies”, he added. .

The manufacturers Renault and Stellantis have signed a sponsorship contract with the French presidency for the loan of a fleet of electric vehicles, says the weekly L’Express. The two manufacturers, contacted on October 14 by AFP, declined to comment. “Discussions are underway with sponsors,” confirmed for its part the General Secretariat of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU, without further details.

“These shady sponsorship practices must end”, judges the NGO foodwatch

the sponsoring rotating six-monthly presidencies of the EU by multinationals (Microsoft, BMW, Coca-Cola, etc.) is a common practice, regularly denounced as a source of conflicts of interest. “If France needs food, drinks, means of transport or any other type of goods and services during its presidency of the EU, it must obtain them in a normal way and pay a fair price for it”, judged Suzy Sumner from the NGO foodwatch. “These shady sponsorship practices must end,” she insisted in a statement dated September 23.

“Once again, the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU risks being used for the benefit of the interests of large companies, with the active cooperation of the French government”, for their part reacted the Observatory of multinationals and Corporate Europe Observatory. in a report released on October 12.

The list of patrons will be published transparently

Paris, for its part, disputes any drift. The companies will provide “material support without direct counterpart”, assures the general secretariat of the French presidency of the EU. This sponsorship is part of a “process of generosity even if small thanks or compensation may be granted”, he continued, recalling the legal definition.

It differs, according to him, from commercial sponsorship operations, intended to “promote the image of the sponsor” by mentioning his “name or brand”. “In accordance with transparency commitments, the list of patrons will be published in a transparent manner on the website of the PFUE”, he assures us.

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