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On December 18, a special report released by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) confirmed concerns of a severe transparency deficiency in EU funding to non-governmental organizations (Special Report Transparency of EU funds implemented by NGOs: more effort needed), NGO Monitor reported Wednesday, noting (with some understandable satisfaction) that for more than a decade it has been raising concerns about the EU transparency regarding its funding of NGOs.

NGO Monitor has repeatedly documented the EU’s secretive, cumbersome, and complex NGO funding mechanisms.

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The ECA report notes that the EU “was not sufficiently transparent regarding the implementation of EU funds by NGOs” and “does not have comprehensive information on all NGOs supported” by taxpayer funds. Additionally, EU funding via the United Nations is particularly non-transparent and unaccountable.

According to the report, “UN bodies’ procedures for selecting NGOs lacked transparency” and “the UN bodies directly awarded sub-grants to NGOs without adhering to their own internal procedures.”

According to NGO Monitor, the new report is an important step in ensuring not only transparency in the use of EU public funds in support of NGOs, but also effectiveness in development aid. The ECA report will help facilitate in-depth discussion on how to empower civil society without wasting EU funding.

The report follows last week’s announcement that the European Commission was halting funds for the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission over its links to Iran — information that had been in the public sphere for years.

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