EU funds organisations that back it, says report

The Times features IEA research

Brussels is engaged in “propaganda by proxy” by funnelling millions of pounds into organisations that champion greater funding for it, a report finds today.

The study by the Institute for Economic Affairs, an influential free market think-tank, says that the European Commission is seeking to shape public debate by funding “sock puppet” civil society groups. These charities, non-governmental organisations and think-tanks, many of which would struggle to exist without funding from Brussels, often lobby for greater integration and bigger budgets. There is almost no funding for organisations that are sceptical of the European Union’s self-stated aim of “ever-closer union”, it says.

Christopher Snowdon, the report’s author, said that the Commission funded the groups in an effort to tackle the “democratic deficit” — the idea that Brussels lacks accountability compared with its member states. But the result, he said, was a distorted impression of the views of European ci