A research paper recently published by the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, the official think tank of the EU’s largest political party, the European People’s Party, recommends increasing transparency on foreign-funded organizations operating in Europe.
The paper, titled “The Bear in Sheep’s Clothing: Russia’s Government-Funded Organisations in the EU,” exposes the activities of Russian-funded organizations in Europe whose goal is to “shift European public opinion towards a positive view of Russian politics and policies, and towards respect for its great power ambitions.”
The authors of the paper explain that “Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Russian aggression in Eastern Ukraine, the overt or covert support for these organisations must become a matter of concern to the EU.”
The think tank recommends implementing measures to enable the EU to combat this foreign influence: “The paper recommends, among other measures, fostering the EU’s own narrative, which is based on human rights, freedom and equality; supporting pro-democratic civil society so that Europeans become more resistant to Russian propaganda; and increasing transparency requirements for NGOs and lobbyists by setting up a mandatory lobbying register at the EU level.”
In Israel, similar concerns over foreign influence led to the recent passing of the Transparency Law, a law widely criticized by the European Union. In an official statement, the EU stated that the law goes “beyond the legitimate need for transparency and seem aimed at constraining the activities of these civil society organisations working in Israel.”
Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg highlighted the hypocrisy and double standard of this EU report: “On the one hand, the EU criticizes Israel for protecting itself against millions of euros funneled by them to anti-Israel organizations, and on the other hand, they are advocating for the exact same protection.”
“This is hypocrisy like no other,” continued Peleg, “and another glaring example of the double standards that Israel is subjected to on a daily basis. Backed by European funding, Israeli foreign-agent organizations are leading the campaign of delegitimization against Israel and IDF soldiers through constant propaganda, lobbying, and petitioning to the Supreme Court.”