The Corporate Presidency!

Why are corporations allowed to sponsor the EU Council Presidency? Coca-Cola, BMW, and other big corporates have been sponsoring the EU Council Presidency for years and this shoddy practice continues today.

These are just some of the companies with logos plastered on EU Council presidency websites and some of the brands that are consequently promoted to ministers and officials.

For more than 15 years, member states holding the EU Council presidency have accepted sponsorship deals with some of Europe’s biggest companies. It’s time to end this corporate capture.

Coca-Cola, BMW, and other big corporates have been sponsoring the EU Council Presidency for years and this shoddy practice continues until today. The Portuguese Government has accepted sponsorship from three companies for its current Council Presidency, including the distributor of PepsiCo in Portugal and The Navigator Company, Europe’s largest paper products company which has been associated with monoculture plantations and forest fires in Portugal, and land-grabbing in Mozambique.

This is unacceptable. How can EU governments be signing deals with companies whose products are in direct contradiction with what are claimed to be the stated aims of the EU? The EU Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy, the EU Cancer Plan all recognise that what we consume has direct effects on health and the environment – and yet the companies producing sugar-filled soft drinks are being actively promoted by EU decision-makers. Other deals in recent years have been with fossil fuel companies, car manufacturers, and Big Tech.

Last year, a complaint to the EU Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly was a success: she agreed that these deals with companies were a reputational risk to the EU and that guidelines should be put in place.

But after six months, our 27 member state governments have not agreed any guidelines and seem set on weakening the already-problematic proposal that is on the table. The only guideline needed is no sponsorship deals between governments holding the EU Council Presidency and companies. They stink to high heaven are symptomatic of the cosy relationship between the EU and Big Business! Can you imagine if the Taoiseach and Cabinet were sponsored? Surely there would be cries of corporate influence?

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