Quote of the week: "Let's have a coffee soon."
Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 19:45
Simon Clark

I hadn't intended to write about this but it made me laugh so I thought I'd share it with you.

Last week a group called the Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) posted an article about the launch of "two curious new groups", Forest EU and the Consumer Choice Center.

The back-to-back appearance of campaigns with similar objectives (to promote freedom of choice and defend the interests of consumers) appears to have piqued the interest of a group whose declared purpose is "exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU".

'Transparency' is a key issue for CEO, as it is for Forest. The delicious irony is that while Forest EU could not be more open, the same does not appear to be true of CEO.

Margarida Silva, CEO's representative at our launch party on May 31, even chose to disguise her presence by omitting to say who she worked for when she registered. She also used her personal rather than her professional email address.

Forest events are of course open to everyone - we have nothing to hide - so even had we known who she worked for and the nature of her investigation she would still have been very welcome.

Contrast that with the Brussels-based Smokefree Partnership, a coalition of anti-smoking groups (including ASH) that has already barred Forest EU director Guillaume Perigois from attending two of its events.

Needless to say CEO has no interest in the rather more opaque world of tobacco control which says more about them than they could ever say about us.

Meanwhile, responding to an email from Silva that contained no fewer than six questions about Forest EU, our man Perigois not only gave detailed answers, he was also the perfect gentleman:

Thanks for your email. Hope you enjoyed our Forest EU launch event on May 31st – I remember our nice chat there.

Please come to our next event on July 11th. And let’s have a coffee soon, too.

I expect hell will freeze over before our adversaries make a similar offer to Forest.

In the meantime, instead of relying on the execrable Tobacco Tactics website as a source of information, the laughly self-important Corporate Europe Observatory would do better to investigate the influence of Big Pharma on tobacco control in Brussels and beyond.

Now that's a report I would read.

PS. When the CEO article appeared last week someone posted a link on Facebook with the comment, "It's not flattering."

Oh, I don't know. The time to worry is when opponents, the media and self-appointed vigilantes ignore you.

See also: The incognito transparency activist (Forest EU blog).

Article originally appeared on Simon Clark (http://taking-liberties.squarespace.com/).
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