Foodwatch demands end of Romania’s EU-presidency partnership with Coca-Cola

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The non-governmental organization foodwatch criticizes the partnership between the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and Coca-Cola.

In an open letter foodwatch called on the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and the Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă, to immediately stop Coca-Cola’s partnership with the Romanian EU-Presidency, foodwatch.org informs.

“It is completely inappropriate that in a time of major obesity problems and additional disease burdens such as type 2 diabetes, the Presidency of the Council of the EU is sponsored by Coca-Cola. In addition this kind of relationship between major EU institutions and corporate interests further undermines public trust in European politics and decision makers, whereas we need on the contrary to reinforce transparency and democracy in Europe. foodwatch asks the EU-presidency and the President of the EU Council to put in place a policy with clear rules for future Presidencies in order to ensure that potential conflicts of interest are effectively and transparently avoided. The consumer organization launched an online petition against Coca-Cola’s sponsoring. This petition can be signed on the French, German and Dutch website,” the letter reads.

“Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of one of the major political bodies in Europe is unacceptable. This damages the independence and credibility of politics. In Europe, for example, there is a growing focus on a tax on sugary beverages, which Coca-Cola strongly opposes. It must never be the case – even the appearance must be avoided – that a main sponsor has an influence on the substantive agenda of politics,” says Thilo Bode, Executive Director of foodwatch International.

From January 2019, Romania holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for a period of six months. With a programme endeavouring to find solutions to a wide range of European issues, there is a busy schedule of meetings happening in Bucharest and other cities across Romania. Journalists from German television ZDF and ARD have already expressed their surprise at seeing Coca-Cola prominently visible as a sponsor. Participants have been welcomed to these meetings with signs from the Romanian Presidency stating “The Coca-Cola system proudly supports the first Romanian EU Council Presidency”. There are also Coca-Cola beanbags, billboards and of course drinks. Coca-Cola is one of just a few ‘platinum’ partners of the Romanian Presidency of the European Union, a relationship that Romania describes as a ‘partnership’. The Romanian beer brewer’s organisation Berarii and other companies are also sponsoring the Presidency, the release posted on the NGO’s website reads.

Photo: Twitter @StefanLeifert

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