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EU court discards NGO funding case brought by Israeli group

JERUSALEM - The European Court of Justice threw out a lawsuit filed nearly three years ago against the European Union that would have required the EU to release details of its funding of NGOs.
The lawsuit filed in January 2010 by the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor charged that the European Commission had failed to fulfill European Union transparency obligations after the group had tried for 13 months to secure documents detailing nongovernmental agency funding by the EC, the European Union's executive branch.
Under the European Freedom of Information law, such funding details must be made available upon request. However, the EC cited “public security,” “privacy” and “commercial interests” in denying NGO Monitor’s information request.
NGO Monitor researchers identified nearly $48 million provided by the EC from June 2005 until the filling to nongovernmental organizations active in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Many of these organizations, the group said, are active in efforts that seek to isolate Israel by legal means and through boycott campaigns.
The court based in Luxembourg last month ruled in favor of the EC, rejecting NGO Monitor's claims for being “manifestly unfounded” or “manifestly lacking any foundation in law,” Ami Kaufman at the +972 magazine website reported on Monday. The court also ordered NGO Monitor to pay the costs incurred by the EC for defending itself.
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