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Hundreds of millions sink into obscure missions of dozens of non-governmental organizations

10 September 2012 / 18:09:45  GRReporter
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Over the last few years in times of a hard economic crisis, dozens of non-governmental organizations have received huge amounts of money for obscure and dubious activities.

The main "granters" of state funds are the ministries of foreign affairs, culture and health, which have allocated a total of 175 million euro at a time when unemployment in Greece is over 25 per cent, and wages and pensions are being continuously cut.

With the exception of a small number of non-governmental organizations that have been actually developing a serious activity, the objectives of the majority of the rest are not clear and they have never been held responsible for how they used the funds received. During an inspection ordered by government secretary Panagiotis Baltakos, inspection bodies have found non-governmental organizations with weird names. Furthermore, nobody knows what they do or who is involved in their management.

Only the ministries mentioned above have responded to the request of the government secretary and provided a report. The others have replied that they do not finance non-governmental organizations. At the same time, none of them provides information on the funding of various companies and associations from the state lottery OPAP and other state enterprises.

Government sources indicate that in some cases, the law obliges the state to fund some organizations and in others, it involves a voluntary involvement of the public sector in the private one. Along with that, there are amounts the intended purpose of which raises curiosity at the very least.

The data in some cases are so clear that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has ordered the suspension of all funding to all non-governmental organizations in 2012 and an inspection of the funding for 2013 is already underway. In addition, more stringent terms and conditions for receiving state support are about to be introduced.

The absolute leader in funding is the foreign ministry. It allocated public funds for a number of dubious causes for which it must now give explanations.

By 22 August this year, the ministry of health had allocated to non-governmental organizations and companies 35.8 of the total 42.1 million euro planned for that purpose. However, the list of funding sent to the general secretariat of the government does not indicate the exact amounts allocated to 66 organizations.

Similar is the situation in the ministry of culture, which funded other organizations in addition to museums, theatres and foundations. The ministry did not clarify where it had allocated 18.2 million euro. The use of money was justified as follows: Financing of other cultural foundations - 11.8 million euro and other financing to individual persons and legal entities and organizations - 6.4 million euro. Moreover, it granted 760 million euro and kept another 500 million euro to finance scientific and cultural foundations as well as international ones, without providing any information on them.

Some of the organizations described in the list of organizations supported by the ministry of foreign affairs are:

- ARSIS - social organization to support youth programme NATALIE III for the protection of children of Albanian origin - victims of neglect and exploitation - 68,700 euro

- "Social Solidarity" – making an agricultural land in the Agricultural University of Tirana - 23,700 euro

- "Mediterranean office for information on ecology, culture and sustainable development" – 74,000 euro for the national dialogue on water resources in Egypt

- "WE CARE" - 50,000 euro for the maintenance and distribution of human resources in Turkey

- A consortium of five non-governmental organizations - 600,000 euro for an initiative related to the city of Alexandria in Egypt

- "UNESCO Centre for Women and Peace in the Balkan Countries" - 125,000 euro for the establishment of an office for farming tourism in Albania

- "DIPE" (International Institute for Environmental Research) - 50,000 euro for the production and promotion of natural products of the national park in the region of Colchis in Georgia
- "Megas Alexandros" - 50,000 euro for the programme "Paths of development"

Substantial amounts were allocated to the non-governmental organization of the Greek Orthodox Church "Solidarity" which was renamed "Love" after the Athens Archbishopric withdrew its participation in it. A new non-governmental organization with the name "Mission" was established a little later.

The ministry of foreign affairs was particularly generous to two non-governmental organizations of legal activities. In the period 2000 – 2007, the "European centre for administrative law" received a total of 3.4 million euro and the "Centre for European administrative law" - 2.7 million euro. In 2005, the first one received 60,000 euro for the establishment of a branch in Iran and the second organization received 50,000 euro for the establishment of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova.
- "LEADERSHIP" – a Greek centre for communications and sustainability for man and the environment – 75,000 euro for the programme "New leaders - support to the business and non-governmental organizations and the role of the media in Turkey"

- "ANCE" (Athens Network of Collaborating Experts) - 95,000 euro for the development of organic farming under the National Development Programme for Moldova

In previous years, the funding to the Scientific Institute of PASOK, ISTAME, was significant and the highest amount of 155,000 euro was granted in 2002 for the implementation of the programme "Reorganization of the Parliament of Georgia."

Tags: PoliticsNon-governmental organizationsFundingAntonis Samaras
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