European Policy Centre

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A Brussels-based think-tank and lobby operation which was established originally as the privately owned lobby firms: Bemont European Community Law Office, and Belmont European Policy Centre. The EPC promotes itself as "a pro-active business driven think-tank".

It was owned and run by a British lawyer Stanley Crossick [1] and his wife Elizabeth, and specialised in providing PR, intelligence and lobbying contacts in the European Union and Parliament for big business and trade associations [2] with an emphasis on running conferences for coalitions.

Risk Assessment Forum

British-American Tobacco used Crossick's services from the late 1980s as a "European Affairs Consultant" [3] for European council and parliament information and lobbying [4]. At that time he was also the chairman of the American Chambers of Commerce in Brussels. [5]

His think-tank was supported by the UK and US tobacco industries in order to promote the idea of mandatory Risk Assessment, and this project involved a wider group of companies with poisoning and polluting problems [6] [7] They also enlisted the UNICE (Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe) in trying to ensure that the cost of regulations was taken into account when legislating against environmentally harmful or dangerous substances [8] - not just its potential to do harm.

The EPC developed close links to Roger Bate at the European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF), and the Weinberg Group (run by Myron Weinberg) which ran the tobacco industry's "Whitecoats" scientific recruitment program in Europe.[9]

In 1998 it ran a Risk Assessment Forum (called "Managing Risk") for British-American Tobacco [10] [11] [12] to try to influence the recently-signed Treaty of Amsterdam. [13]

The major decisions about speakers, etc. for the Forum were made by tobacco company staff [14], and the estimation of cost is listed in BAT accounts at $325,400 [15] -- although participants were charged to make it look more independent and credible.[16]

They managed to persuade the Brewers and Licensed Retailers' Association in London to provide a venue for the conference [17] and the Weinberg Group's name was added as sponsor to provide cover. Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth were invited to add credibility. [18] but there was no mention of tobacco involvement.

Chris Proctor of BAT, (falsely entitled "the company's chief scientist") the head of their science-corruption division, was Crossick's key contact. Proctor was also the long-term pay-master of "junkman" Steve Milloy of TASSC who fed the industry advanced information on potentially adverse scientific studies, and provided his own "independent" criticism of those studies at the <http://www.junkscience.com> web site. Milloy was favoured as a EPC guest speaker. [19] at the Forum.

BAT managed also to enlist the support of Gail Charnley, who at that time was the Executive Director of the "US Presidential and Congessional Committee on Risk," and the President of the Society of Risk Assessment. [20] Charnley did contract work for Philip Morris [21] and was Director of Risk Management for the Weinberg Group. [22]

The UK, at that time, held the presidency of the European Union (EU), and Prime Minister Tony Blair was persuaded to promote the conference as a EU event. [23] So BAT was then able to use the EU logo on their promotional material.

Analysis

A 1999 Report on secret European lobbying practices, singled Crossick's EPC out for condemnation saying: " Contrary to the image of neutral observer of the European Union, which the EPC seeks to cultivate, [the] institute has a clear bias towards the interests of large corporations.

"In addition, the forums and conferences organised by the EPC are business focused and attended 'en masse' by heavyweight industrialists. Is it a mere coincidence that the EPC website features the two latest reports on EU enlargement published by the ERT and AmCham respectively - two major corporate lobby groups based in Brussels?

"The EPC advisory board is strongly dominated by industry -- composed of businessmen, industry lobby groups and media representatives, as well as former directors of the European Commission and academics. The presence of represenlatives of the press in the EPC advisory board is disturbing and raises questions about the objectivity of some elements of the Brussels-based press. " [24]

Governing Board

Accessed February 2009: [1]

  • Antonio Vitorino (Chair), Former European Commissioner and former Deputy Prime Minister of Portugal
  • Anna Fornalczyk - Partner, COMPER Fornalczyk & Partners General Partnership; former President of the Antimonopoly Office in Poland
  • Helle Bank Jørgensen - Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Denmark
  • Olivier Boutellis-Taft - Chief Executive - FEE - Federation des Experts Comptables Europeens (AISBL)
  • Giancarlo Chevallard - Former EU Ambassador and EU external relations counsellor
  • Hans Martens - Chief Executive of the European Policy Centre
  • Alan Mayhew - Jean Monnet Professor & Professorial Fellow, Sussex European Institute, University of Sussex
  • Gerrit Rauws - Director of the King Baudouin Foundation
  • Maria Joao Rodrigues - Professor of Economics at the University of Lisbon, Member of the European Employment Task Force

Advisory Council

Accessed February 2009: [2]

  • Peter Sutherland (President); Chairman, Goldman Sachs International; Chairman of BP plc
  • Max Kohnstamm (Honorary President); Former Vice-President of the Jean Monnet Action Committee; former President of the European University Institute, Florence
  • Lord Kerr of Kinlochard (Vice-President); Former UK Ambassador to the EU
  • Karel Van Miert (Vice-President); Former European Commissioner for Competition Policy

Ex-officio

  • Maria João Rodrigues - Professor of Economics at the University of Lisbon, Member of the European Employment Task Force
  • Antonio Vitorino - Former European Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs

Contact

Web:

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles

References

  1. Governing Board, European Policy Centre, accessed February 22, 2009.
  2. Advisory Council, European Policy Centre, accessed February 22, 2009.