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Fact check: Bayer does not ‘finance’ ALDE

ALDE used many sponsors for its annual venue including Bayer. Source ALDE congress programme

The European Parliament is the main source of money for European parties, including Marine Le Pen’s ENF. But Bayer did provide money to ALDE for their yearly gathering, as Marine Le Pen has claimed.

When Le Pen accused the center party ALDE, “Macron’s European party” being financed by Bayer-Monsanto on RTL radio, it came as a choc. It’s a good fake-news, as there are elements of truth.

Indeed, Monsanto has the worst image a GMO company can have. And ALDE is not Macron’s European party – but it might become soon.

Bayer, who bought Monsanto, has been a sponsor of ALDE for their yearly gathering in Madrid last fall. The German company was not the only one : Deloitte, Microsoft, Disney, Mastercard, Stuart and Yelp were also on the list of sponsors (see picture).

“In nearly all the cases, sponsorship is for the organisation of side-events including industry and political party representatives… Most of them are around our annual Congress” an ALDE spokesperson explained.

A new rule of the European Parliament asks parties and foundations to disclose financing sources as precisely as possible. A few organisations, like ALDE, or the right wing party ACRE, have been doing that for years.

A new political parties authority has just been set up at European Parliament to check and publish the declarations ; but they do not get much.

Transparency à la carte

According to a EP source, the problem is that “all players do not play by the rule”.

For 2018 for example, only ACRE and ALDE have disclosed donations above €12.000. “Other parties can get much more private money , but it goes unseen as it is channeled through affiliates parties” the source said.

The rules do not seem to be tight enough. European parties do not really need big money anyway: the EU gives a few millions a year to all political parties, that mostly goes into salaries and events.

For example, the biggest party, EPP, got a €8-million grant from the EP in 2017. Its member parties contributed to more than €1 million – and that is where a question mark could appear, as nobody knows exactly who gave what and from which budget or country.

Marine Le Pen’s own party, Europe of Nations and Freedom, got more than €500.000 from the EP, and also €124.000 from member parties, like la Lega of Matteo Salvini or Geert Wilders’ PVV.

It means that European citizens, and unknown contributors, gave Marine Le Pen’s small European party more than 34 times the amount of Bayer’s donation to ALDE.

So no, Bayer does not ‘finance’ ALDE. It’s you and me through the European Parliament, mainly.  

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