Autor: ---- Fuente: C-FAM (Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute)

The European Union has established a special office of the European Commission to combat US pro-life groups --- including the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute and the International Organizations Research Group --- which EU officials believe have become too influential within the European Parliament.

In an internal memo obtained by the Friday Fax, Poul Nielson, European Commissioner for Overseas Development and Humanitarian Aid, deplored the efforts of this "small group of extremists." Nielson continued, "The US anti-choice groups are powerful, well-funded and determined. They hold extreme views on religion and sexuality.Several of the US groups (Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, International Organizations Research Group, Population Research Institute) have opened branches or have affiliates in Europe." [International Organizations Research Group is the research arm of C-FAM.]

The European Union will now monitor and respond to these groups. According to Nielson, "Within the Commission, we need to be aware and alert for new campaigns to undermine the work of the EC [European Commission] and its partners in addressing reproductive health and we need to respond swiftly. A focal point to gather information and to coordinate a coherent rebuttal.has been established." There was no immediate information on the location of this "focal point," or how much EU money would be spent on the project.

Nielson justifies this seemingly unprecedented move to spend public funds to counter lawful political advocacy by citing the success of these groups. For instance, Nielson believes that "the shift in US policy," specifically the US decision to defund the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) because of its support for coercive abortion in China, is the result of "effective lobbying" by these "anti-choice groups" who, "under the present US administration," have gained "legitimacy and credibility."

Now, Nielson worries that the groups have struck a chord with EU politicians. In the memo, Nielson describes a growing European movement against UNFPA, said, "The stealth and speed at which this campaign was mobilized was remarkable." Nielson also worries that the groups may be convincing MEPs to interfere with the expansion of European support for abortion in the developing world, saying, "Several amendments.sought to ban abortion and sterilization from being included in the regulation [on reproductive health]. This time the amendments to ban abortion were rejected but 181 MEPs voted to accept them."

According to Peter Smith, a lobbyist for the London-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), the EU initiative is in direct response to a C-FAM/IORG White Paper on UNFPA, which was presented by C-FAM Vice-President Douglas A. Sylva to the European Parliament in January. "I have taken quite a few of my American colleagues to Parliament," he says, "But this trip was most memorable. The White Paper on UNFPA has stirred up a hornets nest in the European Commission."

In a press release, Irish MEP Dana Scallon called Nielson's actions "an insult to democracy" and an example of "Big Brother." Nielson is one of 19 unelected European Commissioners who make crucial EU funding decisions.
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